My First Work Placement
Christmas is coming and with the buzz of the holidays drifting through the air and exams and essay deadlines looming, it’s hard to think too seriously about your future, but a work placement is very valuable at any time of the year and it was only a few months from now a whole year ago that this was my position.
My first industry placement was at a local magazine called Accent in Newcastle in my third year. The first day was oddly scary. I’d built up so much anticipation that I found it hard to pull myself together and go. It would be my first time getting the Metro on my own and to none other than a small area called Gosforth that I’d never even heard of, never mind visited before.
Still, it had to be done, and so I stepped off the train and began to walk – in the wrong direction. It’s safe to say I was really quite lost, but I soon got back on track and found the high street, which is always a good sign.
I almost missed the place as I made my way down past the shops and crowds of people, and when I spotted it, it was tiny and seemed deserted. I took a deep breath and stepped inside. Still nothing. There was a bell on reception so I rang it and finally, to my relief, someone saw to me and took me upstairs into the newsroom. My biggest fear was probably turning up to find no one was expecting me, but luckily that was just paranoia – though I do remember feeling exactly the same on my first day of my next placement too.
Everyone was nice and I got to do various different things in my two weeks. Most of the time I was dealing with press releases, sub-editing them and finding an appropriate picture. I never got involved with the design, which is essentially a main job of mine now as new editor of a local magazine in my home town of Grimsby, but I did get to go on a few photo shoots.
One was short and sweet, but it did involve getting to sample some fancy, expensive cocktails at a swanky bar at 10am in the morning. The other was longer and like some kind of weird circus-themed fashion shoot involving an extravagant woman, several young models and an overactive little dog. It’s safe to say it was a day to remember and it was there that I learned the importance of showing a friendly face to your clients, when inside you might be getting more and more frustrated.
In hindsight, I had nothing at all to be worried about at all. Any new experience has you on the edge, but more times than not any fear is completely unnecessary. So many people drum into you how important work experience and internships look on your CV to future employers, and while this is truer than I could have imagined at the time, I’d say do it for you. I’ve learned things through my placements that education could never have taught me. Theory is important but there’s no better way of learning the tricks of the trade then getting involved in a real-life situation. Trust me on that one.