PIR Student News - Issue 2 (2016)
Welcome to our second Issue of PIR Student News, written by and for PIR students. In addition to our regular features this Issue includes tips for exam revision and a special section on PIR –related summer opportunities.  If you are a PIR undergrad (any year) with newsletter ideas or keen to get involved, let us know: pir.studentnews@ed.ac.uk
1. December 14th - PIR’s own Nicola Perugini is giving a talk on ‘Human Shields, Law, and the Body in War’ (15:00 - 16:30) in CMB 2.15.
2. December 16th - Save The Children Society’s Christmas Jumper Day Glow in The Dark Treasure Hunt (18:00 - 19:00) at Edinburgh University Main Library. Take a break from studying to find glowing stars across Central campus with your friends – there is a prize to be won!

3.  Jan 31st, 2017 - Leviathan deadline: the next issue of this PIR journal will explore Media and Perceptions. Info here: http://www.leviathanjournal.org/submit  or email queries/submissions to leviathaneditor@gmail.com!

  • Check out the LearnBetter: you can self enrol onto this page via LEARN. It offers useful study tips and advice. These include tips on how to manage your time, how to take notes and make the most of your reading, and how to use the library effectively.
  •  Do you feel that you’re drowning in readings or that you’re not sure where to start? Look for past exam papers for the courses you’re taking; they’re most likely online. Ask your course convenor if your course is new, and check if the subjects taught have not changed drastically over the years. Check for them here: https://exampapers.ed.ac.uk
  •  Try using mind maps as a way of putting all the key themes from the course on one piece of paper. If you can condense the whole course onto one page and have keywords that unlock a lot of content in your head then you won’t have to wrack your brain as much in the exam.
  •  Study in groups - having other people to bounce ideas off and discuss things that you didn’t fully understand can be really useful. Explaining things to your friends also means you can clarify everything in your own head.
  • Make a special exam revision note sheet, pulling off key information from your reading, lecture and/or tutorial notes and compiling them in one document - this will keep you better organised.
  • Relax! Take it easy [...not too easy...] - over-stressing is counter-productive, and will manifest itself in unhealthy ways that may be damaging to both your mental and physical state. Take studying in strides, and don’t put too much on your plate at any given time.
       If you can’t book your own room, try one of the following spaces:
  • The new study area in the Library Underground
  • The CMB Undergraduate Reading Room (Basement)
  • Study areas in CMB, 50 George Square, or David Hume Tower. The views from some of the DHT study rooms are amazing!
  • New College Library - the School of Divinity library has stained glass windows and apparently even has study space in the turrets! A little way from Central campus but close to some great cafes, it’s a nice change from the standard university spaces.
  • National Museum of Scotland - good coffee, free wifi, and a whole museum (for free) at your fingertips for when you need a study break.

Summer may seem ages away but it’s not too soon to start thinking of how you might make the most of it. Our current PIR students have taken on an amazing range of summer PIR-relevant activities - internships, jobs, volunteering - within the private, public and voluntary sector.  In this issue we highlight student experiences in the public and private sector. Our next issue (early 2017) will feature activities in the voluntary or ‘third’ sector. We include students’ emails so you can contact them for further information. We hope you find these examples inspiring!
Adam Hendry, 4th year, Economics and Politics (s1303229@sms.ed.ac.uk)
I interned at the Financial Conduct Authority, within the Law, Policy and International Enforcement team. I applied to numerous internships and went through the application process. At the end of my internship I was offered a graduate job starting in October 2017. This makes 4th year a lot less stressful!
Tara Biglari, 4th year, International Relations (s1319659@sms.ed.ac.uk)
This past summer, I did an internship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars, within the Middle East Program. I applied to dozens of think tanks based in Washington, D.C., eventually heard back from the Wilson Center, and had a Skype interview with the two program assistants. It was an incredibly useful experience, and the application process was far less daunting than I initially thought. I would say an essential component is to have a solid writing sample, as I believe that was a key component that led to my internship offer.
Nick Pugh, 4th Year, International Relations (s1342404@sms.ed.ac.uk)
I worked as an International Policy intern at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), where I attended congressional hearings and think tank events to summarize the event and ask questions of interest to the life insurance industry (it was more interesting than it sounds, I promise). I was also tasked with writing daily briefs and my major project while there was researching cross-border data flow and data localization regulations in around 40 countries. This project was used as a reference by a senior staffer during international negotiations and resulted in my invitation to join the Chamber of Commerce’s working group on Global Information Security on behalf of ACLI.   I got the job at ACLI by reaching out to the President of the Organization, who I met at a Fellowship the summer prior and who has become a mentor of mine.  ACLI is best suited for students with an interest in international finance and international law. The organisation can hook interns up with opportunities at the Chamber of Commerce, WTO, IMF, World Bank, Albright-Stonebridge Group.
Ben Rogers, 4th Year, International Relations (s1317218@sms.ed.ac.uk)
My role was as a Political Engagement Intern (Public Affairs/Government Relations) with Lloyds Banking Group (that's Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, Halifax etc.) for 10 weeks at the LBG HQ in London. I'll be returning to the role once I graduate, maybe this time working with Holyrood instead of Westminster. My role involved briefing executives on political matters - the impact of Brexit (I started work the Monday after the vote!), Theresa May's "banker-bashing" and potential policies, profiling MPs - as well as setting up meetings with representatives, hosting constituents at the request of MPs and supporting LBG execs speaking to parliamentary committees.
I got the role as I am on the Lloyds Scholars programme that runs in 8 universities including Edinburgh. You have to apply before starting in first year, and there are eligibility requirements. However, the internships and graduate schemes are available to any applicants - just an online application, strengths test and assessment centre.  I would definitely recommend the role, and any Public Affairs roles in private companies, to other students. It's using your knowledge of the political environment to help a private actor to engage with government, and it was incredibly interesting - not just because of the summer's political revelations.
Connor Shea, 4th Year, International Relations (s1320238@sms.ed.ac.uk)
I interned at Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney’s office in the Second Congressional District of Connecticut. The District Staff primarily deal with community outreach and constituent services; this included assisting constituents with any federal problems they are having i.e. taxes, immigration, health, veteran issues etc. My main responsibilities were working the phones, legislative correspondence, and helping out with constituent casework.   I’m from small town in Connecticut located in the Second Congressional District. I emailed Congressman Courtney’s office and asked if they were hiring interns for the summer.   I would recommend it to other students. I learned a lot, gained some good work experience and had quite a few interesting conversations with both the District staff and the Congressman himself.
Charlotte Dibb, 3rd Year, International Relations (s1436879@sms.ed.ac.uk)
This past summer I was an intern in Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy's Office in Washington DC. I got into the internship because Murphy is my state Senator, and I applied through his website. I learned a lot about the US governmental system (with which I had lost touch since studying abroad).
Does your idea of a day well spent include a walk in the Pentlands, an ice hockey match and dim sum? Read our coffee chat by clicking on the photo above to find out how it is for our new IR Lecturer, Andy Hom. He’ll be teaching Global Security in semester 2 and is supervising dissertations on topics relating to Security Studies and Constructivism
In our last issue we featured some recent graduates. This issue we feature two 2013 graduates who studied politics together but are now working in different fields:
After graduating in 2013 Hugh Murdoch (MA Politics) spent a year as President of EUSA.  He learned a lot in that time about how organisations work, and uses those skills today in his work. In 2014 (after a stint working for Scottish Labour on the independence referendum) Hugh started work with Citizens UK in Nottingham. Known as the ‘national home of Community Organising’ Citizens UK takes a radical approach to politics that empowers local communities and campaigns on a range of issues including the Living Wage.  One of the things Hugh found frustrating about learning politics at university was that it was often quite abstract and far-removed from people and their lived experiences.  This work allows him to apply his learning by taking action with people who wouldn’t normally get involved with democracy.  Over the past two years, Hugh has built an alliance of schools, churches and community groups in Mansfield and Ashfield to campaign on a broad range of issues – jobs, safety, homelessness and loneliness.  [We in PIR note that Hugh’s dissertation provided an in-depth analysis of community organising which set him up well for his current post. Who knows where your dissertation make take you?]  Hugh says he’d be happy to talk to students about his job – ‘it’s good work: it keeps me angry, and it gets me up in the morning.’   Contact: Hugh.Murdoch@citizensuk.org
Since graduating in 2013, Andrew Dougall (MA Politics & Economic and Social History) has pursued further study mixed with experience in the public and private sector.  He first worked as a Political Researcher and Editor at Newsdirect, an Edinburgh-based political monitoring firm, before studying for an MPhil degree in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge.  He used both his undergrad postgrad insights when working as a public affairs consultant in London before moving to Bates Wells Braithwaithe  - a law firm specialising in advising charities and social enterprises. Andrew notes that one of the most valuable skills PIR helped him develop was the skill of communicating ideas effectively (and respectfully!) in small group settings, especially where others held different views ‘This comes up so often in working life, and without all our great exposure to tutorial discussions, I might not have known where to start!’  Contact Andrew on: andrew.b.dougall@gmail.com
Our next issue (2017) will feature part 2 of ‘PIR Summer Experiences’ including more PIR student stories, advice about relevant summer work, placements, internships and volunteering with NGOs and the third sector

Have you got a PIR- relevant summer experience you want to share? Or do you have ideas for other newsletter content?  If so, contact us on email here: pir.studentnews@ed.ac.uk
Editorial Team:  Tara Biglari, Anita Glad, Jamie McDonald, Adam Hendry, Elizabeth Irvine, Rafael Rosales La Torraca, Konstantin Von Wedel, Sarah Waldman.  Staff Mentor, Elizabeth Bomberg
Copyright © 2016 Politics and International Relations, All rights reserved.

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