Full-time placement or final year at uni? Which is more stressful? If you are anything like me, I worry before the issue has even occurred or before there is any need to worry.
Whilst searching for ideas and a little inspiration I had no idea what to write my first blog post about… the first idea that sprung to mind was obvious- placement year. I recently completed a 12 month marketing placement with Randox Laboratories- a global leader in healthcare diagnostics worldwide. This to date has been one of the most challenging yet beneficial years so far in my career.
Randox is based in Crumlin in County Antrim. When I first applied for the post I was unsure exactly where it was but on the UUJ portal it said ‘Belfast’ so I went for it anyway. Turns out it was a 100 mile round trip from home every day. Nevertheless I tried not to let this put me off- the early mornings of a 6:30am start and not returning home until 7pm were well worth it in the long run.
On placement, I was assigned the role of Marketing Executive under the division of Randox Quality Control. Within the Randox QC team, there was six people- my Marketing Manager, three Marketing Executives including myself, a QMS Product Specialist and a Graphic Designer. I loved my placement at Randox as I got real hands-on, in depth experience and had the opportunity to get involved in practically anything I felt that I needed to know more about. From Day 1, I was treated as part of the team. I made life-long friends and unbelievable contacts that will put me in good stead for when I graduate.
So what advice would I give to someone doing their placement year?
5 Top Tips for Surviving Placement Year
- Breathe; You are not alone, every single other person in your office was once a newbie too. Everyone finds it hard to adapt to change, it is ok to feel afraid at first as after a few days this will soon wear off.
- Embrace it and stay organised; Embrace your first full time adult job. With your tasks increasing hourly and deadlines that need to be met, it is important that you stay ahead of the game. Simple things like keeping a diary with tasks that need to be met and ranking them in order of priority is something extremely beneficial that can help you stay on track.
- Step out of your comfort zone; Take every opportunity that is thrown at you. Attend team meetings, suggest new ideas and get involved! In such a professional setting, sometimes it can be hard to make the initial step- maybe you are afraid of taking the risk or afraid of getting embarrassed but put yourself out there and get involved!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed; Full time employment may focus much more on independent learning than university or school ever did but never be afraid to ask! That is what placement year is for. Your manager does not expect you to be an absolute genius but showing your initiative to seek guidance is more commendable than taking forever to complete a task for you to get it wrong anyway!
- Become a human sponge; Placement year is the best time to learn as much as you can. If a colleague is using a new social media platform, contacting a PR agency or using a new software that you aren’t familiar with yet, ask if you can listen in. The more you learn and the more you get from your placement year, the better 🙂
Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aimee-rourke-593013109/