Why my work placement is the best thing I’ve ever done.

10 months ago I started my placement as a digital marketing assistant feeling nervous and apprehensive; today I finished that placement confident in myself and my future, something I never thought I’d be. I wouldn’t identify as a shy person, nor a loud person, instead fitting somewhere comfortably in the middle. And like any person I have had doubts in my ability to succeed and achieve, but this placement has helped me to realise that I can succeed, and will if I’m willing to work for it.

Throughout education placements have always been supported and encouraged, especially at university where it was highly recommended you do one. And I agreed, why wouldn’t you? Going out into the real world to get a job is going to be hard enough, why make it harder by not having work experience to impress an employer. Having completed my placement, I know understand that the main benefit of a placement isn’t that it will look good on your CV. For me, it was in fact the lessons I learnt about myself.

Before I started the 9-5 lifestyle that I was committing to for the next 10 months it seemed almost impossible, as anyone who knows me knows I love my lie ins. These new hours required me not only to be up early but to work eight hours a day, and while at first it was a challenge, I quickly settled into it and actually enjoyed it. The amount of work I would get done in a day puts my university days to shame, and has made me wonder what grades I would have got if I put in those hours for essays and lectures. I wasted so much time complaining about being bored, when I could have been at the library, or the gym and or doing something else to better my life. This year when I return to university I am determined to continue this work ethic I have developed, and whilst I may not spend eight hours a day in the library, I could definitely fit in a few hours.

“So what will you actually do?” was a question I was asked a lot before I started, and to be honest I had no clue. With my past work experience being limited to Sainsbury’s and nursery work, I had no idea what I would be required to do and that scared me. Asides from an outline at my interview, that I’d already forgotten, I was going in blind and I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to do my job. However, from early on I discovered that I should have more faith in my own abilities as I was soon completing tasks beyond my supervisor’s expectations. I found that I am quick to pick up new things and enjoy learning new skills, a discovery that has made me feel more confident in my future, as I feel like I will able to tackle many obstacles, whether it be in work or life.

There are many other lessons I have learnt during this process, such as small things like learning how to conduct a business phone call, or that I actually enjoy being organised. All contribute to this invaluable experience, that will stay with me throughout the rest of my education and career.

Especially during my upcoming second placement, a month long stint at a PR company in London. Having never worked in PR before before I would’ve been anxious, much like when I started boxChilli; yet this time round I am feeling much more confident in my ability to adapt to the job, and am looking forward to the challenges I will overcome in the role.

Joining the adult world used to scare me, and I was negative about the chances of finding a job. Now I realise it isn’t going to impossible and that I will find one, not because I did a placement, but because I’m capable, driven and determined to do well. My placement will help, and may be the factor that gets me in the interview room, but it’ll be me that gets the job.

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