Friday 16 November 2018

Getting The Most Out Of Your Student Placement | Guest Post

Being out in the big wide world for the first time can be overwhelming! Here’s how you can get the most out of your student placement.

You’ve worked your socks off to get to where you are; those sleepless nights cramming revision in, the endless work sessions in the library, perhaps even drinking countless amounts of coffee and energy drinks to get you through. When the opportunity of a student placement rears its head, you jump at the chance! However exciting it may seem on the surface, there’s a lot to consider.

How can you get the most out of your placement while you’re at university? I’ve teamed up with SLV Global who give psychology students the chance to gain work experience in the mental health sector, to bring you some top tips for getting the most out your student placement.  

Get involved and give it you're all.

Got an idea of what you’d like to do for your student placement? Perhaps you’ve already got one secured already. The first thing to remember is to be proactive and get involved wherever possible. Make the most of your time, no matter where you go. It’s important to remember that you’ll develop a range of skills from having experience in the working sector, so give it everything you’ve got!

Not only do you need to show initiative and work incredibly hard to get the most out of your placement, but it’s essential not to shy away from what’s happening around you. Are you invited to a social event? What if you’re asked to complete an important work-based task that wouldn’t normally be in your comfort zone? Push yourself and don’t be afraid! You’ll thank yourself later down the line.

Make friends and get to know who you’ll be working with.

To really enjoy your time in a brand-new setting, you need to build up positive relationships with the people you’ll be working with each day. This can include your colleagues, or simply other graduates you may not have met before. From getting tips on surviving in the world of work to networking and building a list of contacts for after you’ve graduated, there’ll be huge benefits from getting that conversation flowing.

Sometimes, on your placement, you’ll get the opportunity to be involved in more than just the expected work in your chosen sector. There could be the option to take part in charity or volunteer work, or even to get involved in the social aspects of your company with your colleagues. Even though it’s important to make friends and enjoy your student placement, it’s also vital that you create the right balance of work and your time away from it.

Build invaluable skills.

The main perk of organising a student placement is the endless list of skills you’ll gain from your experience. It puts everything you’ve learnt in your degree so far into practice, as well as showing you the types of things you’re naturally good at, and the things you could work on more. It’s a great idea to sit down and make note of the skills you want to develop while you’re there before you even start on your first day.

You can be the best graduate on the programme in terms of your technical knowledge, but you may be lacking in the organisational or communication side of things. Start small, perhaps taking on new responsibilities that you’re not necessarily confident with on a normal day. Sometimes, the best way to build up your confidence in different areas is to go in, head first!

Wherever you build a skill or work on your important daily tasks, it’s important to record everything. From your list of jobs during the day to your responsibilities in the workplace, note them down. It’s not only great for your personal progression, but it will also be a great example of what you’ve achieved on your placement for your CV.

Always ask for feedback.

If you’re not sure about anything, always ask. Your placement will always appreciate it if you question a task and get it right, rather than staying quiet and doing something wrong. Ask for feedback after each day or an entire evaluation of your time on placement from your manager. It’s not only encouraging for you to recognise your achievements, but it also shows your colleagues you’re serious about making a good impression.

Your student placement doesn’t have to be daunting – grab the opportunity!

With these simple tips, you’ll easily have a successful student placement. It’s a vital part of your University journey and you’ll gain the skills and experience the possibilities that will open up to you once you graduate. How was your student placement? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

This post was in collaboration with SLV Global, who provide students with work experience placements in the mental health sector. For more information or to get in contact, visit their website:
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