Short-term benefits of a placement year

Doing an industrial placement has a lot of long-term benefits. However, we are students and we hardly think 3-4 years ahead. By short-term benefits, I mean what you will gain throughout the placement year and until you graduate.

Money!

This has to be the biggest screamer in the room. Believe me, it is going to be an enormous jump from the student loan, the spare pound from your parents and the money from the part-time job at the local pub. You will be receiving a competitive salary for your age, ranging from 16 000 up to 24 000 pounds, depending on your degree and location. You might get unlucky and be on the lower range, but that depends on how you make it during the application stages.

With that money, you can save up for emergency fund, buy some new clothes and save up for parties when you get back to university.

Meeting people. Sober people!

You will develop a new skill – how to speak to adults, who are not your family or teachers. You should gain their respect and friendship, even at the cost of some awkward conversations.

This will definitely improve your communication skills, more so if you are an introvert like me. When you get back to university, you will have more confidence when meeting new people from your society or team sport, or even when flirting with people in the club.

Don’t forget that you should also develop your professional network. Become friends with couple of people at your job, which you see prospects in. If you do a good job, they will surely remember you after you graduate. Then, they could either pull some connections to find the job you want, or help you start your own business.

No homework. Once a workday is over – it’s over!

This is something that completely shocked me, because I always lived with exams or assignments in the back of my head. The sheer enjoyment of finishing your tasks at work, leaving, coming home and not worrying about deadlines… it is unexplainable to a university student. Work wouldn’t and shouldn’t cross your mind until the next day you get into the office.

Work on your other projects, which you didn’t have time for

  • Planned getting into your ideal shape, but never had the time because of school?
  • Planned starting a blog, but never had the time because of school?
  • Planned learning a programming language, but never had the time because of school?

I am doing all of these things at the moment.

With your evening completely free to do whatever you want, you can reach and achieve your goals you were always too busy for in the past. You will just need self-discipline and creating good habits. I am still in the process of perfecting these skills.

Take a break from university life, but do you actually?

If you are in your university town or near it, you can still participate in events and societies during term time. That way you won’t be a student, but you will still enjoy all the perks of being one. Also, you will have the money to do all the things you want during the weekend.

I am doing my placement 20 miles away from my university. However I still go to see my friends and participate in societies 2-3 times a month. Furthermore, there is a university in my placement town, and societies are very welcoming for outsiders. Go and explore what is out there – it might surprise you.

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