Before beginning my placement I had vowed to myself that I would make a start on my dissertation during the year to get ahead of the game for final year. Little did I know there would be not much time for that. Instead, I learnt a lot of things during placement that I am still using now in my final year and work.
During my placement, I was supporting the management of a programme in a small team so was lucky to be given a lot of responsibility, but there are still of course things I wish I’d done.
1.Ask more questions-
I was a bit eager and sort of forgot that I was a placement student and not expected to know everything when I began my placement. One thing that would have been beneficial for me is to ask more questions about the organisation and way of doing things not just at the beginning but throughout the whole year. Here are just simple questions you can ask your placement provider/supervisor “Why is this done in this way?” “What does that mean?” “How did this come about?”
2.Be Bold with my Ideas –
I was often quite shy about submitting new/creative ideas and wish that I had been bolder with contributing new ideas and seeing them through. It doesn’t matter if the idea is silly or wouldn’t work- what’s the harm in trying? You may even be able to own and initiate the project yourself- something very valuable to share with future employers.
3.Document successes –
When I returned to uni, I procrastinated by creating a fancy looking placement portfolio folder (something great to show employers at interviews!). I included; Placement report, my most recent CV, reference letter, a blog extract, photos, an example report that I wrote, feedback from partners I worked with, a role description of my placement and the first newsletter sent out from the programme. This is something that I wish I did as I went along, kind of like a scrapbook.
4.Communicate with the Placement Centre more-
I wish that I had communicated with the Placement and Internship centre more during my placement. That is what they are there for and they are the experts in all things placement! Even just a simple update to share what I’ve been up to that week! I also wish I’d kept in contact with other placement students more than I did too!
5.Network Follow up!
This refers to networking, which I, admittedly, went a bit OTT with. I went to a lot of networking events, workshops, met many different project partners and people my age in the sector. I really tried to build up my LinkedIn profile during placement in preparation for graduate job searches. One thing I wish I had done with this networking was to actually follow up and connect with more people on LinkedIn.