Thoughts on a Placement Year (so far)

SWIM IN THE SEA-4

I’m currently 10 months into my placement year and I literally can’t believe how quick it’s going!

I always knew I wanted to do a placement year when I first started applying for universities, but nothing prepared me for what it was really like until I started interning last June. I had a somewhat hard start to my placement year, I found it really tough moving back to my hometown away from my friends and life at university, especially after being independent for two years, and found so many changes at once quite overwhelming.

Originally, I had my dream plan in place. I had secured an internship at a small fashion PR agency in London and I was going to be there for a whole year and I was going to love it. Except I didn’t. After my very first day I knew that this wasn’t going to work out; I didn’t like commuting to London to spend long hours essentially running around after people doing things like coffee runs, returning and sending out samples all day long, dealing with a difficult team and cleaning up after people. A lot of people say ‘But that’s what interning’s all about! You have to start at the bottom and do the rubbish jobs until you work your way up!’ I agree about having to work your way up, I’m not afraid of hard work but when you’re working nine hour days, unpaid with not even your travel expenses being covered, and not gaining any actual PR experience in addition to coming home crying every night because of how unhappy you are – you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it?

And I decided it wasn’t. I left after spending two weeks there and sure, maybe if I had stayed on a bit longer the situation may have improved but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. I won’t lie, I was TERRIFIED to leave my placement because what would I do now? My plan’s gone out the window, and I’m the type of person who needs a plan otherwise I don’t feel settled. I took probably two weeks figuring out what I was going to do and applied to countless interning advertisements and waited.

Luckily, I got myself another internship. Again, it was in PR but this time it was in-house PR in a super-cool head office of a high-street retailer in London and it was such a more positive experience and I actually learned more about the PR process. The contrast of my first two interning experiences taught me a lot about myself; it taught me what I’m willing to put up with, what I’m actually interested in and that the value of happiness far outweighs feeling miserable and trapped in a job that you don’t want to be in.

Skip forward to October and I started my current internship that had been in talks since the summer and I literally can’t fault it. Since my first day where I conviently got really sick and had to be sent home early  I’ve managed to learn and experience so much both on a marketing level and on a personal level and I’m surrounded by such a supportive team where we continue to inspire each other everyday.

I think if I could go back and tell myself anything when I first started my interning adventures 10 months ago it would definitely be to CALM TF DOWN. Not everything in life and careers always turns out how you want it to, and sometimes that’s okay because it just means new opportunities and adventures are around the corner. If I hadn’t had the experience I did in my first internship then it wouldn’t have led me to my current one which I absolutely love! So like my mum always said, everything really does come out in the wash.

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