I have mentioned that I am currently doing a placement year between my second and third years of university in aerospace engineering. At first I couldn’t even imagine what being on placement would be like compared to the comfortable life of university, but now I can’t even imagine returning to university this September! The change was strange, and I still feel like I am trying to settle into the new lifestyle even eight months in, but here are the most notable things I saw;
Moving to a new town
This was probably the biggest change for me personally. I moved from my small university town to a larger place, a small city with all the shops and activities I could need, without being as daunting as London or Birmingham. Moving between uni and home is always a bit awkward but suddenly moving my belongings from my second year uni house to my professional house share all in a day was probably a bigger inconvenience than it should have been. It has been eight months into this point, but I still feel like I don’t know the area all too well and need to walk around and visit more places. In all honesty, I’ll probably never live in the area again so I plan to get as much out of it while I’m here.
Feeling a different type of independent
When you get to uni, you feel much more independent as you are living away from mum and dad, doing your own laundry, and cooking your own meals (unless you already did those last two bits at home like me). However, even with the semi-adult feeling of paying monthly rent and bills in second year, having a monthly pay cheque, being excited about driving to the shops at lunch to avoid the rush traffic and feeling tired by 10pm is a world only felt outside of the walls of university. Even if you do apply for student finance in your placement year, you’ll only be seeing a tiny amount and be mostly living on your pay cheque, putting your respect for money into newer heights. I have had jobs since sixteen and paid for a lot of my own things, so I thought my appreciation was enough, but without my dose of student finance, I realised how much my outgoings really were. Especially considering this is the year I bought my first car, my view on finances has taken a turn for the cynical.
A sense of accomplishment
This is definitely the best bit, and it is very welcome after my rather rocky second year of university. I am quite proud of my placement, and know it will be very useful to me when it comes to applying for graduate jobs, although I am aware I still have to do a lot more to have a chance of successfully getting a graduate role somewhere. It has reaffirmed my love for my course and given me confidence that my career goals are not only correct for me, but within my reach.
Being on placement is making me grow in some areas, but also showing me how far I have to go in many others. At the very least it has given me a lot to think about. Only four months to go, and I need to make sure I use those to the best of my ability.