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One student's experience with voluntary unpaid work while studying full-time


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It's never too early to start building a career! 

Sometimes as a student your dream job, or any job, at that, can feel very far away. Drowning in essays and assignments, the idea of a starting career can seem almost bizarre. However, as Josephine Boye proves, it’s never too early to crack on in the job market and build up your experience. 

Josephine, a second year Marketing Management and Multimedia Journalism student at the University of Northampton, is proving that it is possible to balance full-time studies with a regular voluntary job, and doing amazingly we might add. Indeed, not only is she a full-time student, she’s also the head of PR and marketing and go-to reporter for Blacpire magazine.

Launched in 2017, Blacpire is an independent British music, fashion, film and culture magazine that amplifies the voices of those interested in black culture worldwide.

While her job might be unpaid, the benefits are exponential, as Josephine recently got the chance to mingle with Hollywood’s rising stars at a press junket for a blockbuster movie.

In her most high-profile assignment yet for Blacpire, Josephine interviewed the stars of The First Purge movie including EastEnders and Mandem On The Wall actor, Joivan Wade.

Josephine talked to Joivan about landing his first Hollywood role and making the switch from comedy to horror.

Although seeming confident and together on camera, Josephine admits the experience was quite daunting. She said: “It was very nerve-racking but exciting at the same time. Joivan was so sweet to talk to and made you feel very comfortable.”

Josephine has worked admirably for the magazine since she found the opportunity by chance, whilst browsing online. Her dedication proves that hard work pays off and opportunities are there for students if they are willing to take them. 

According to Josephine, “The opportunity came about when I was scrolling through Twitter, and the magazine at the time was called 'Culture For Us, By Us'. They were looking for writers so I applied as a writer and was writing on the page weekly. However, when speaking to the editor they asked if I could be head of PR and marketing because of some of the extra work I was doing.

“I have interviewed a lot of people from the Black Beauty Fashion Awards, to vox pops on the street and on the radio.”

Josephine balances several other voluntary jobs with her university studies, which involves a lot of commuting and sacrificing free time, but she has her eyes on the prize.

She added: “I take part in a lot of extra journalism-related activities, most are located in London and on the weekends, so I'll go to events, and so on, then come back to Northampton on the Sunday. It can be very draining.

“I try my best to balance it all by doing university work during the weekdays and going to the events and interviews on weekends, but as long as I do my work early and plan, then it doesn't really get in the way”.

Though this might sound demanding, her determination and willingness to sacrifice free time is an admiral trait that others could learn from. 

Students typically have a reasonable amount of free time and now is a great time to find a better way to fill it. Whether it’s paid work or a voluntary position, it all helps in the end, both building up your CV and improving your actual skill set. 

As the new term approaches why not start thinking about what you would be interested in doing in the future? Take a leaf out of Josephine’s book and get stuck in with whatever interests you, no matter how demanding you might initially find it. 

Find those opportunities and build up your CV while you have the free time to do it. We promise, your future self will thank you!

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