I know it can be a little repetitive hearing “I can’t believe how quickly the past [insert amount of time] has gone”. So I’ll skip that part and get straight to what I learnt, how I’ve changed and why I can’t recommend doing a placement year more.
I was always keen to choose a university course that would give me the opportunity to gain practical experience, increasing my employability. Now I can safely say that deciding to do a placement year was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In my “What’s Next?” blog in June 2015 I wrote “My hope for this year is to gain as much experience and learn as many new skills as possible. I also want to really figure out the types of jobs I will be applying for when I graduate in 2017. I am sure the year will fly by, so I will try my best to enjoy it and get the most out of it.”.
I am thrilled (and relieved) that the year exceeded my expectations. I met great people and I feel that I have learnt so much about business and social enterprise. I have also learnt a lot about my values, strengths and weaknesses. I instigated exciting projects, gave presentations to over 900 people, worked with brilliant people and made amazing memories that I’ll treasure.
Due to the nature of my various job roles, I had control of my timetable. This meant I had time to pursue some personal projects. For example, I had more time for my blog and other writing projects. I also fell in love with yoga again, joined the gym and got back behind the wheel!
Next year I’ll be finishing my degree, so the plan is to make the most of my final year at university. At the moment that entails writing a dissertation on a topic I am passionate about (more about that later), visiting Berlin in January and continuing my work with some of the projects I have been working on; prioritising the degree of course!
If you’re thinking about doing a placement year, I say do it! The application process is challenging and stressful when you have to juggle studying with interviews. However, what you will gain from your time working in industry will make such a difference come graduation. You will leave university feeling ready to tackle the real world and isn’t that what Higher Education is all about?
Over the past 9 months my confidence has grown immensely. I have built my network, learnt new skills and started to build my reputation in the business / social enterprise world. I really have loved every minute of it and if I’m honest, I can’t wait to graduate so that I can get back out there.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone I have worked with for the duration of my placement year, it’s been truly inspiring.
If you’d like to check out any of the projects I’ve been working on, please see below:
- The Future Perfect Company
- Designing for the Future
- Eleanor Owens Gardening
- Beta Futures & The 50+ Skills Exchange Club
- Balfour & Aldrich Collection Community Arts Project
- Eastbourne Designed for All
- Inclusive Networks