My First Week of the Placement
As stated in my previous blog I have just started a year in industry placement and as such I thought it would be fitting and hopefully somewhat informative to those considering doing a placement to write a blog about my first week.
To start off however, I would like to note that all placements will be different as each company will have a different working environment, different procedures and importantly different projects happening at different times. Regardless, here’s my first week!
The first day will be rather intimidating, as I am working for a smaller sized company everyone in the office knew that a placement student was starting and as such were eager to come and say hello. Which was nice! But be prepared for 20+ plus names flying your way so I would highly recommend creating a cheat seat of the office desk layout with everyone’s name written by their desk. It has saved a few awkward moments for me already. Most of the first day and most likely the next day will be filled with meetings and site inductions and if your placement is lab based, many long meetings concerning lab safety and then waste disposal, inventory etc. Basically, be prepared for continuous meeting all day for the first couple days.
After this, meetings will still be a frequent occurrence in the first week but these will be more focused on the work/ project that the company do and what your proect could focus on. For me this was slightly daunting as in my case it was an independent decision with gentle guidance from my line manager. As such, this involved a lot of reading and searching through the web for any information for what I had in mind for a project but now I have decided what direction I want the project to take life became far less stressful and you can start to settle into your new role and plan for the forthcoming weeks.
I could not wait to get into the lab and luckily as the company had a project deadline coming up I had plenty of opportunities to get involved with experiments, learning to use new equipment and gaining important skills in doing risk assessments and finding international SOPs to carry out lab work which could be compared to the literature.
My TIPS for the first week of a new placement:
· Try not to be nervous. I can’t speak for every company apart from the one I’m working for I couldn’t believe how friendly and open everyone is and how no-one treats you as the newbie intern. I was treated as an employee like everybody else and after lab safety had been processed was given responsibilities the same as everyone else.
· Don’t be afraid the ask questions! You’ll have no idea where anything else or how most things work. You’ll have been thrown two weeks’ worth of information at you in the space of two days. BUT, your colleagues understand this and I was repeatedly told no-one will ever get annoyed by being asked a question but you will annoy people if you are unsure what you’re doing and cause a problem because of it.
· Have confidence in your ability. You were chosen to be the intern for a reason. They believed in your ability so throw yourself into any opportunity presented and show interest. Even if the colleague isn’t in the same team as you feel free to ask what he/ she is working on and take interest in other areas of the business that you are not involved in. This not only break down boundaries with you and colleagues you may not see as often but will also show you have a real passion and interest in the wider areas of the company outside of your role.
I hope this was somewhat helpful and informative to what the first of a placement may be like. To repeat, however, this was all based on my experience which may differ company to company but the tips I gave at the end will be applicable to any role in any company.