Profile: Paulina Mascianica
Paulina is a familiar face to students, staff, and Fellows of the College, working as a porter in Univ’s Lodge. In this profile she discusses taking on new challenges and the perils of Univ’s main entrance gate.
What did you do before you started working at Univ?
The answer depends on the time-frame. Just before – I worked in St Catz at a summer hall/portering gig (an annual occurrence that allowed me to enjoy a certain degree of financial independence during my student years). Going a little further back in time, my usual day would consist of coursework, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (a very enjoyable hobby that I regretfully never became good at) and an interesting book.
How did you come to Univ?
I would love to say that from the start I fell in love with Univ, that it was my dream to be a part of this particular College with its impressive history, wonderful people and beautiful architecture. Those sentiments came only after I began working here. I applied for the night porter opening as it allowed me to get paid for working on my own things in a quiet environment.
What is being a porter like?
It might sound over the top but being a porter feels somewhat maternal. Almost like having multiple children to care for, get attached to, tell off from time to time, and send out into the world. The difficult part for me personally is the phone calls. I’m rather introverted and just hearing the phone ring gives me slight anxiety. Maybe I’m in the wrong line of work…
I enjoy how different each day can be, there is no real routine and quite a few surprises. The best part though is the people. There are just so many students and staff members that I’m happy to have the opportunity of being around.
Do you have any funny stories about being a porter at Univ?
It’s less of a funny story and more of a cautionary tale as I see people doing that all the time. As the magnificent main entrance gate is closing please beware of putting your leg into it an attempt to have it reopen. I have been trapped before and still die a little on the inside each time I see the Fellow who became my knight that evening.
Have you faced any challenges? How did you overcome them?
Challenges are a good opportunity to learn about yourself. Sometimes to grow or be more aware of your boundaries you have to become very uncomfortable.
The most recent challenge (and one I am yet to face) is becoming a facilitator for Implicit Bias. This role requires me to visit different colleges and speak publicly in front of groups. I’m getting nervous for the future me already.
Do you have any advice for students at Univ?
If you’re nice to people around you they are more likely to go out of their way to help you later. Trust me, I have no vested interest in telling you to be nice to people like say… lodge porters.
Describe Univ in three words.
Friendly, Forward, Fun.
How do you feel about the celebration of 40 years of women at Univ? How far do we have left to go?
I am by no means an expert, or even knowledgeable enough in the matter to give a meaningful answer. Maybe it’s a bit of a naïve idealism but things have improved so much in the last couple of decades and for the 40 years celebration I would like people to focus not on how much is left, but on how steadily we are going forward.
Women at Univ 2019. Celebrating 40 years of achievement by women students, academics and staff, and recovering the history of women in the College from 1249 to the present day.
Published: 29 April 2019