My first week on placement!

Blog post by Psychology student Georgia Widdowson – my first week on a work placement in the Careers and Employability Centre…

A bit about me…

I’ve always loved people, I love chatting with them, listening to them, but most of the time, talking at them. That is why I decided Psychology was the perfect course for me; the study of human behaviour never fails to get me excited!

During the open day for Sheffield Hallam, I was instantly attracted to the course once it was stated that we had the option of doing a work placement .I thought “Fab, a chance to get out into the real world and explore what a field in Psychology has to offer!” As a fantasist, I always envisaged I’d end up pulling a Freud and being a counsellor for the 8 weeks, or taking a leaf out of Milgram’s or Zimbardo’s book and conducting some crazy experiments. However, although it has not been as juicy as this, that’s not to say, I haven’t already learnt a lot during my work placement so far!   

So, where am I doing my work placement?

Originally, I was assigned to work at a sexual health charity in Sheffield. I was really looking forward to this as it covered one of the many areas within Psychology of interest to me. So, I thought “Amazing, for once, things have actually worked out for me!” Well…I spoke to soon. A couple of days later, when enjoying a nice Jacket potato in the Heart of the campus café, I received an email stating that a change in circumstances within the organisation meant I could no longer carry out my placement there. So, after one of my classic dramatic and blubbery phone calls to my Mum (and in front of the unfortunate souls who happened to be in the café) I concluded that this was down to fate, and that I had to trust that it was meant to be!

So, to get to the point…thankfully, the lovely and friendly careers team at Sheffield Hallam said they’d take me on, and as such I was assigned to work in their team for 8 weeks.

Now, I am sure you’re all wondering. How has my first week been?

As my first day arrived, I woke up at 7am, blurry eyed and zombified, and feeling very nervous and anxious about being in a professional environment and meeting new people. Despite this, I immediately felt welcome, and the positive and vibrant atmosphere within the department got me very excited about the opportunities and activities I would be getting involved with. Of course, I was apprehensive as it was not my original placement or line of work which I would originally chose or was interested to get involved with, yet this was the kick I needed to get me out of my comfort zone.

Luckily, I came at the perfect time. In the height of the organisation of the department’s two biggest job fairs ‘GoGlobal’ and ‘Work while you study’ (which I encourage everyone to come and check out!) I have helped towards the planning and promotion of these. I devised floor plans for the space at which the fairs will take place, deciding how the layout should be and where each company will stand. I’ve chosen the promotional videos for each company who will be at the fair (Apologies in advance if these bore you) and completing admin work, such as coding on the UniHub website, and I have sat in meetings among the careers team which was great to analyse from a Psychology perspective! These are things which I’d have never in a million years seen myself doing- yet, thank goodness I have! As it has provided me with skills which I’d have never have pushed myself to achieve. I am now looking forward to getting more stuck in!

So, what am I trying to say?

My first week of work placement has already provided me with the most important thing of all…confidence; Self-confidence, confidence in my abilities and skills and the confidence that my opinion, as a student, does matter. My view of Sheffield Hallam has changed.

Already, I have learnt that the University, especially within the careers and employability team, want you to succeed and do well and do all they can to help you achieve your life goals. So, don’t shy away and pop in to the department and ask any questions you may have about your future, or apply for an on/off campus job to earn some pocket money and gain invaluable skills, helping you to be more employable! And if you’re unsure about doing a work placement, all I can say is… Do IT, as no experience is ever wasted.