I truly can’t believe this is my final week working at Glasgow Women’s Library. It has been a rollercoaster but for all the right reasons.
In the beginning, I was struggling to find a placement through my university that I felt I would enjoy or learn the most from. I decided to hunt for one on my own last minute. That’s when I stumbled across the Glasgow Women’s Library website. I loved their work and what their organisation represented. It was a no brainer that this was the placement for me.
I emailed and didn’t expect them to be interested in accepting me as a new volunteer however, after a few emails back and forth and a meeting with Gabrielle & Hannah. I was due to start my internship the following Monday.
I was excited to be working for an organisation who reflected my views.
My experience with GWL has been inspiring, new and fulfilling. I have learnt a lot about myself over the last 12 weeks. I have received nothing but support for my writing as well as continuous support over my mental health issues.
I have suffered with anxiety for years and from the beginning, the team have been super helpful and understanding of it. If I ever felt things were getting too much, I know I could reach out to Hannah or Gabrielle or any other member of staff. I also felt like I didn’t need to hide it or feel alone with my anxiety which was super nice because in past experiences in a work environment, I have been made to feel worse by being told to “get on with it” or “just don’t think about it”.
I was offered to take time out of my day, if I felt that first wave of anxiety by reading a book or even just gathering my thoughts for a bit which I thankfully didn’t have to do but having the option was important. However, if I needed a break I would look at exhibitions within the library to calm myself down or take less focus off of my anxiety. But overall, I felt it was an anxiety-free environment which is rare in any place of work or even education. For example, I have experienced more overwhelming anxiety and depression in university than I ever did on my work placement which is crazy in the grand scheme of things since this was something I worried about for so so long.
It is super important to me to have an organisation who understand that mental health is an important thing that should be addressed rather than swept under the rug. And that’s what I admire GWL the most for, their outlook on societal issues and how they combat them through learning about the subject and going on to teach others about these problems so we can better detect & prevent them.
If you are someone who has mental health issues, and you want to join Glasgow Women’s Library or anywhere but you are afraid of the idea of committing to volunteering because you are scared of the work environment etc. I have to tell you there is absolutely no need to be fearful because GWL have such a supportive, warm and friendly environment who are in touch with mental health issues and try their absolute best to help with. I fell in love with this place from day one, so you will most definitely feel the same!
I also have improved so much in my writing skills. I was given freedom to write whatever I wanted which created a feeling of accomplishment every time I published an article. It is very rare as a writer or journalist to be able to have independence in your writing which I found amazing and made GWL unique to me. Hannah was always on hand to check over my work and I never felt upset if something was wrong. I enjoyed getting the feedback because I was never treated as less for making a mistake. Every single article I have wrote feels like a part of me and I am so proud of them.
I have gained this newfound confidence since joining the team here. I am not afraid of being in a working environment with people of all ages. I am not afraid of being in social situations with new people. I can’t fully express how much working here as lay little anxieties of the outside world to rest. And I feel like I can do whatever I set my mind to.
So I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Glasgow Women’s Library for making my time here so special. Thank you for being warm, understanding and kind. Thank you for teaching me things about myself I never knew. Thank you for teaching and helping me understand other feminist issues.
I won’t lie. It is sad to be leaving so soon. But I am happy to have made my small dent in a piece of history here at Glasgow Women’s Library.