Since last June, we’ve had the pleasure of taking on our first ever Marketing Intern, Leah Miller! As part of learning at work week, we thought we’d take the chance to interview her about her experience.
I thought a placement year would be an excellent opportunity to gain actual industry experience before I graduate. Obviously, when you’re in a classroom, it’s all very theoretical, but I think it’s important to understand what working is like and how to put theory into practice. I think it’s hard enough for graduates to find a job as it is, but even harder if you have no experience, so it makes sense to take a year out.
Explain more about your course?
Most people who decide to do a sandwich degree do the placement year in the third year and go back to university for the fourth year.
Luckily for me, my university offered the opportunity to combine the final year of studying while doing a placement. When I saw this, I thought: great. It’s essentially saving me a year of my time and is an opportunity to gain experience in the workplace.
So how did you learn everything (For University)?
Before I started my Placement with Gleeson Recruitment Group, we had block teaching for four weeks, and we learnt 80% of a final year content. Then we were left to do the assignments including a dissertation. In January, I then went back for one last week of teaching. So essentially my whole final year was condensed into the space of 5 weeks!
How have you found it so far?
In all honesty, I underestimated how challenging it would be. As soon as I left school, I worked part-time jobs in addition to full-time education; I remember thinking: surely this can’t be too different?
This has been completely different. I really underestimated the challenge of working full time, while completing my final year of university at the same time.
As the year has gone on, I’ve gotten used to working 9-5 and then coming home and completing work from 6pm-10pm. I do often feel like the work is never-ending and like I’m always trying to finish. I’ve been able to keep focused on the bigger picture and think I’m quite lucky that I have saved a year of my time by doing a sandwich degree this way.
What advice do you have for anyone who’s balancing work and study?
Three of my personal tips.
- Procrastinating isn’t something that you can afford to do in this situation. When you get the work, do it straight away. The last thing you want is to be stressing about deadlines when you’ve got a full-time job to go to!
- But with that being said, you have to find time for yourself. Make sure you still have a social life and go out with your friends and family. If it makes you feel better, then have a day to binge-watch Game of Thrones to give your mind a rest.
- Don’t let your sleeping pattern go down the drain, although pulling together your dissertation at 2 am in the morning may seem like a good idea, when you start work at nine it’s not ideal.
Overall, do you think it’s been worth it?
Yes definitely – I think more students at university should take a year out to do a placement because it puts you in a much better position for when you do graduate. Not only that but if you start working for a specific business function e.g. HR and decide you don’t like it, then you have the chance to move on and do something else.