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A good Place to be!
Member Name: Mush
Date: 12/11/00, updated on 12/11/00 (87 review reads)
Advantages: You learn so much.
Disadvantages: You have to spend an extra year as a student (shucks! :o )
Getting a job can be a nightmare, especially having just left University. I'm not going to go into how to do this, or why I think it is wise not to rush. What I will do is tell you a bit about the most useful thing you can do as part of your University education - A work placement.
I believe many Universities make it possible to spend a year on placement - in some establishments it is only a handful of students who opt out of them. I went to Aston Uni. where most do a placement.
I started my Human Psychology degree intending to ultimately become a Clinical Psychologist, and so I spent a year working for the NHS as a Psychologist. I probably learned more in that year about my intended career path than my first and second put together (I won't bore you with details). Furthermore I learned many skills that University does not teach, such as office and admin. skills, how to work professionally with people, how to get up early (hard for a student), etc.
Although my placement was unpaid, I didn't find it too much of a problem as I was receiving no less than I had at regular University - most LEAs recognised the extra year 'in my day' (I am not sure what the situation is today). Some of my friends, however, earned quite a good wage in private corporations which helped in both their placement and final years.
Perhaps almost as important as the 'hands on' knowledge you receive, is the knowledge you receive about the job. If you do a placement, you will get the idea of whether you like it or not - you are only doing it for a year, and if you don't like it you will know to tailor the rest of your degree towards something else. If you do like the job it's a bonus, as you will have something extra to strive towards in your final year.
I have found that when job hunting after University, experience is just as important as your degree - these days so many people have got degrees of some sort t
hat employers look for that bit extra. If you already have a years work experience, you will be starting on top, and if the experience is in the same job that you are applying for.....JACKPOT!! (They won't have to train you!).
An added bonus is that many placement employers will give placement students the option of a job when they leave - they know you, how you work, how well you are trained, etc. which is better than starting from scratch with someone else. I know of someone who pleased his placement employers so much that a rival company headhunted him, and he left Uni to a starting salary of around £25,000!
In the end I decided not to work as a Clinical Psychologist, for various reasons - but I was glad to have learned that lesson before starting on the 7 year road that would have been necessary after Uni. (had I still wanted to follow it).
The success of my placement and what I had learned doing it meant that when I did decide what to do with myself, I managed to gain employment with relative ease.
I hope that this has been most useful to you if you are considering a placement - if I can tell you more, leave a comment! Have fun!