Where Are They Now – Layla Pacha

What did you study and when did you graduate?

I studied Media & Communications, specialising in Journalism and graduated in 2016!

What did you do as a CEN8 volunteer?

I’ve been a bit of a jack of all trades around CEN8! When I first started I jumped into recruiting more volunteers, and we started all of CEN8’s social media channels! It was a bit of a mix-and-match year, where a little bit of everything was done: recruitment, social media, marketing, etc. We set up teams to tackle different areas, structured the Open House day so that we could get more done, and even set aside an hour where it was an open-for-all, so we could all just meet up and chat. I also ran the social media channels for CEN8, before taking a more supervisory role and overseeing the Social Media Team.  Gill and I also started CEN8Times (our monthly newsletter, you should subscribe – it’s pretty good if I do say so myself!) on whim one day back in 2015 and I now act as Editor-in-Chief.

See? Jack of all trades! I’m greedy – like to have my nose in everything!

What was the most useful thing you learnt by being a volunteer?

Time management. Although, a lot can be said for the skills I developed while volunteering and getting introduced to a lot of platforms I now use daily at work, time management was the key aspect that I learnt. At one point I was juggling uni lectures, volunteering for CEN8, a part time job and an internship all at the same time and it was one of the most fun (and stressful) times of my life. If I didn’t learn how to successfully divide my time between things I loved (CEN8, my internship) and things that were necessary (uni, my job) I wouldn’t have been able to take on as many things as I did, and to do them to a level I was happy with.

I even made time for a social life. I know. It’s crazy.

What was the best thing about volunteering?

The people. It’s a cliche and I’m pretty sure everyone who’s been part of the Where Are They Now series has said the same thing, but if it’s true, it’s true! Thursdays (my designated CEN8 day!) were the best days – I got to come in and chat to people I never would have, had I just done my course at uni. I met people from different places, different ages, different courses, and they all affected me in little ways. Being exposed to so many different types of people, and knowing that you could come in and chat about what you’d been up to that week, was a great part of volunteering. I still keep in contact with a few of them now and they’re scattered all over the world!

What have you been up to since leaving Goldsmiths?

I’m now the Community Manager at a Social Media Agency, and, as I live in London, I’ve also been helping out at CEN8 on a couple of Saturdays a month. (They just can’t get rid of me.)

Has/how volunteering for CEN8 impacted on you since you left?

Well I can quite proudly say I wouldn’t have got my job if it wasn’t for my time at CEN8. It was the first thing I was asked about in the interview and the fact that I’d racked up so many different skills (and so many hours!!) was something my now bosses really liked. I think there’s nothing better than to go into an interview knowing that no matter what they ask you, you’re going to have an answer because chances are you’ve already gone through something similar and dealt with it!

What career advice would you students currently at university?

Learn to multitask, do it fast and do it well. I juggle the social schedules of a variety of clients at work right now and I wouldn’t be able to keep up if it wasn’t for the fact that I had previously learnt to do so in volunteering, in my internships, even at my part time job and definitely during my three years juggling lectures, seminars and workloads. Potential employers love to see that you can divide your attention efficiently between tasks, and really, it comes in handy in your personal life. It’ll make it eons easier to make sure you balance your career with a social life and a little bit of me time, and make sure you thrive at it all!

Have fun at uni, nothing will come close to the amazing times and stories you’ll have from those first three years of complete freedom; the years before are ruled by teenage angst and the years after by adult responsibilities. But those incredible years pass in the blink of an eye, so keep one eye on the future and the other on that bottle of whatever your chosen poison is!



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