Working: yuck. Scary and not for you right now, am I right? Let’s just leave that till you graduate, you can deal with that then.
Except in reality, it will creep up on you. These three years will pass in a flash and soon you will be in that hat and gown thinking ‘eek, now what?’
So why not help yourself out? At Sussex, ANYONE can do a work placement. That’s what I did. I study History and Sociology and decided to do a placement year. I worked in the Sainsbury’s Press Office and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Now, I’m going to tell you why.
This may seem like a boring reason but its definitely one of the best. A year’s placement is a chance to develop skills that you will need for when you graduate. While part time work is good and obviously useful for CVs, a years’ experience in a company will broaden your skill set. You will learn how to balance deadlines, project manage, hold responsibilities, manage your time, learn what its like to be in a working environment 5 days a week for a full year, the list goes on. This will be SO beneficial for when you start applying for jobs. You will inevitably have a better chance of getting work when you graduate. You will also learn a lot about yourself, what you can handle and how you work under pressure. You will gain a new perspective and probably come back to final year more focused!
Without a doubt one of the best parts of doing a placement is the people. You will meet and make friends with people from all different ages and backgrounds. You can learn from them and get their advice, on not just the workplace, but life in general! Placements also bring you exposure; spending a whole year in a company means you meet A LOT of people. This means you gain great business contacts that may be able to help you when you graduate. In my experience, everyone wants to help, either through offering advice as to next steps, or helping get you on the career ladder after final year.
And last but by no means least is the experience! DO NOT think that a placement year will just be all ‘work work work’. In fact, for most people I know, that’s only the start. It’s a chance to spread your wings even more than at university, you’re living in a new city again and not necessarily with students. Whilst you are working a full week (and yes those early mornings will get easier), you get your weekends back. Gone are the days of feeling guilty for not doing your reading or homework at weekends – because you don’t have any! That means long weekends away, exploring new cities, visiting friends, the list goes on. You can really use the year to your advantage. Finally, and here is the cincher for most people, you are earning money! This means, travel isn’t just something for those year abroad students. I visited many countries on my placement, year, in total it was 3 continents, 6 countries and 1 festival.
See, there are so many perks to a placement year. You will come back for final year with your eyes opened. The big wide world of work won’t feel so scary, you’ll have a focus and understanding of what might be happening next and if anything, those 9am lectures will be a breeze to get up for.
Where can I sign up?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Or check out the website: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/careers/gettingexperience/placements
Joanna Clark is a History and Sociology student with a Professional Placement Year