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Beginners Guide to Surviving your First Few Months on Placement

By Lucy Crossland on Tue 28 September 2021 in Placement Blog

Surviving your First Few Months on Placement

Hear from Lucy, current Marketing placement at PS & student at Oxford Brookes, as she gives her top tips on getting used to life in the workplace!

A few months into my Marketing placement and looking back on the weekend prior to starting, I remember all the worries and mixed emotions I felt. The evening before; running around trying on different outfits, preparing for every possible eventuality then going to bed and tossing and turning. Starting a new placement can be daunting - suddenly you find yourself away from the lecture halls and in a professional office environment.  

Looking back on that compared to how I feel now, I’m so glad I pushed through those feelings as already I’m seeing (and experiencing) first-hand all the amazing opportunities a placement has to offer. There were loads of tips that I found to be particularly helpful for pushing through those initial few months of uncertainty to now feeling settled in my role. So, let me share them with you now! 

Your First Day 

Conquering your first day is a challenge – and it’s all in the prep. From choosing an outfit that makes you feel professional, to getting your bag ready the day before – the small things really help! Looking the part can definitely help boost your confidence, and others around you will know you mean business! But being comfortable shouldn’t be underrated – the last thing you want to worry about on your first day is blisters on your feet because your new shoes are too small, or forgetting to cut that really itchy label out your new top! So, it’s super important to check your outfit a few days before and have a backup option just in case! 

Meeting People 

One of the biggest perks of starting a placement is the different people you get to meet and network with. Be it fellow placements or fully-fledged employees, forming good relationships with colleagues from the get-go can make you feel at ease much quicker. Every single person you meet will have experienced the first day nerves at some point, so you’re not alone! From my experience at ProspectSoft, right from day one everyone was very approachable and helpful. Speaking to the other placements also made such a difference as you can help each other out and discuss any worries. 

Preparing Enough Food 

If you’re anything like me, not eating enough brings on intense feelings of hanger and definitely won’t help with meeting new people! Making sure you prepare your lunch in the evening and packing some snacks is crucial to staying productive right through the day. The chances are it’s a slightly longer day than you’re used to, so having some extra energy will be welcomed! Cereal bars, fruit and rice cakes have proven to be very helpful to keep in your bag for when you’re in need. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water – it's easy to forget whilst sitting at a desk for the day! 

Mindset 

It’s completely normal to have doubts and worries but cast your mind back to the reasons you applied for the placement in the first place. If you’re starting a placement, you managed to get through the long, during process of placement applications and deserve to enjoy being on the other side of the process. As cliché as it sounds, staying positive is a massive helper. Taking the emphasis off your worries and putting your energy into going in with an open mind puts you in the right mindset to absorb any information that’s thrown your way in the first few months and will mean you get the very most out of your experience! 

Organisation 


A crucial skill for getting through the first months of placement is getting organised – and I mean properly organised! It’s an easy one to overlook, but it’s really important. By taking small steps like preparing your lunch the night before or meal prepping on a Sunday, you save a lot of time and money in the long run, and it leaves you time to relax! It’s also worth taking a short amount of time out on a Sunday or first thing on a Monday morning to plan out your week (not just work stuff, but social stuff too). Keeping a bullet journal or writing in a notebook will make you one step closer to feeling organised and in control, week on week. 

Taking Notes 

In your first few months of placement, it will probably feel like information overload. The company is trying to equip you with all the knowledge and tools necessary to make a good start, but it’s a lot to take in. Taking notes throughout handover and training is not to be sniffed at. Simply having a notebook to hand where you can write everything in one place makes your life so much easier. Those initial days may seem OK, but as you absorb more and more information, this can quickly subside – so having notes you can refer to will be a life saver! 

Despite it being a time of unknowns, starting a placement is also a very exciting experience if you go in with the right mindset. It is an incredible opportunity to work with new people as part of a team, explore a new job role that could potentially shape your future career and develop your skillset so that upon leaving University, you’re much better equipped for whatever route you choose to go down.  

I hope these tips are helpful and help you start off your placement on the right foot! 
 


Looking for a great placement? How about a getting a hands-on role at the most awarded SME in the UK? Check out our award-winning placement opportunities in Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, Technical Services & Software Development right here

 
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