How to tackle your first week at placement

AfiyahAfiyah Nadeem, On Placement, Second Year, UK Placements

So you’ve gotten through the (many) application stages, the interview stage, celebrated the prospect of an almost new-found life where you’ll be working alongside professionals, learning new skills and overall just having an awesome time. Except now the first week is around the corner… and your preparations may have been little scarce. You know you want to make the most of it, but how?

Tip #1: Ask, ask, then ask some more

Unless you’ve had any prior training with the organisation that you’re working with, you will most likely be thrown out of your comfort zone and expected to figure out how things actually work. Of course, as a student on placement, many employers know how nerve-wracking this can be and will guide you until you’re able to stand on your own two feet. In the meantime, whilst you’re in the learning phase and surrounded by a wealth of information, definitely, ask, ask, then ask some more. Ask about the day-to-day jobs that people undertake, how they feel about what they do, what the organisation represents, how the systems work, the services they provide etc. Not only will you be more prepared when you do get stuck in with your work but you’ll have a better understanding of the role of every individual, including yours too.

Tip #2: Build your toolkit

What does this actually mean? A toolkit comprises of all the necessary and useful items that will help you throughout your time at placement. Once you’ve done most of the asking and have understood what your role includes, you can go ahead and start building a toolkit. For some, this may include a notebook and a pen, yet others may need USB drives and laptops, it all depends on the work you’ll be doing and the most efficient way to get it done. For me personally, I use notebooks, a planner as well as laptops and computers when I can.

Tip #3: Trial and error

There’s no better time than the first week for trial and error, and you experiment with just about anything.  You can us trial and error with your route to work, whether this is via public transport or your own car. You can trial and error your toolkit, and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s all about taking in what’s important and helps you succeed, while discarding everything else that doesn’t. If your organisation undergoes changes whilst you’re working with them, then you can use trial and error and experiment again, it doesn’t just have to be in the first week.

Tip #4: Seize the opportunities

For the entire year that you’ll be working with the organisation, opportunities will crop up every now and again and your job will be to seize them. This is the best way to gain new skills and a broader understanding of how things work. Not every opportunity will be helpful, some may even be quite small and not exactly life-changing, this is where you’ll need to use trial and error to pick out selected opportunities that are right for you, which will help build a skill-set and ultimately help you in the long run, such as with career prospects.

A lot of the advice that I’ve mentioned are things that helped me in my first week to make the most of everything that came my way. Some of which I’m still working on even two months into my placement, which is perfectly fine. It’s not about tackling everything perfectly, but about doing it in a way that’s right for you. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my post, and stay tuned for more!! 🙂

P.S. Follow my blog Whenlifeawakens for personal & lifestyle related posts