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Policy stream - Nish

A day in the life of a grad

Profile image of Nish
Nish - Policy stream

Policy stream


Due to my Canberra-local status, I hate paying for parking – so I like to look around the Manuka area for an elusive free car park. They're hard to find, but I assure you, they exist. Often it's about a 15 minute walk away from work. I may re-evaluate my stingy nature once winter hits, but for now, it's a beautiful morning walk, with crisp Canberra air, sunlight, beautiful trees on either side of the streets (that are soon to turn that stunning autumnal red and yellow!).


Once I get to my desk and open up my emails, I write up a list of what I need to do for the day, and read the morning media clippings. The amount of training, workshops and events has been pleasantly unexpected, so it's a matter of trying to be as efficient as possible in your day-to-day work to make sure you can fit in all those other events. I plan for the week on Monday and check my to-do list every morning. This makes sure I stay on track.

One of the best things about working in the APS is the flexibility. My supervisor is happy for me to come in a little earlier, and build up a little flex.


This part of the day is rarely 'typical'. I may be in team meetings, attending briefings at other departments, at my desk doing research, contributing to briefs or speeches, or drafting responses ministerial correspondence and requests. Some days I'm not at my desk at all, as I'm attending workshops, training or meetings with colleagues and senior level staff – it changes every day! I have been involved in interdepartmental meetings, briefings, speech writing, research tasks, meetings with states and territories, as well as workshops and panels from AGD and other departments, language conversation groups and fundraisers.


My grad cohort has traditionally gathered in the AGD courtyard to have lunch together – and we rarely talk about work. It's a nice way to get your mind off whatever you were working on and go back to your desk refreshed. Some lunch times I go for a walk or attend a conversation group over at DFAT.

You get a tremendous amount of support from peers and supervisors, and access to senior level staff over many coffee meetings – but that caffeine consumption is only a good thing given how busy you can get.

Overall, this is a friendly department and I am surrounded by kind graduates and peers. I have been supported to explore opportunities, many of which I didn't plan for. So I suppose my other daily practice is to be open to what comes, and be enthusiastic about each and every day!

1.30pm – 5.00pm

I return to my desk and I try and leave the afternoon for catch-up meetings with my buddies and supervisors, sending off non-urgent emails and tying up loose ends. Some days I work back to help finish something urgent, but generally I'm leaving my desk at 5, plugging in my earphones and walking back to my car. My evenings are my own, filled with friends, family, some sport or volunteering.