by Michael Hanrahan
The lead up to university placements can be harrowing. But here is my go-to list for making the most of it and having a great time!
Step 1: Accommodation
When you find out where you’re going for placement, start looking for accommodation! Most places will have some type of onsite or nearby accommodation for a reasonable price, you just need to start digging.
Check out CSU Placement Accommodation on Facebook to see other students’ lodging recommendations and alumni offers.
Step 2: Scholarships
CSU offers us many scholarships, some of which go untouched! There are placement specific scholarships, such as “University Department of Rural Health Placement Grant” for medical students. Take a look at what’s on offer for your degree and if you’re eligible.
Step 3: Contact your placement
Start with drafting! Because this will be the first impression you leave. Check that you have done these things:
- Tell them what your understanding of the upcoming placement is
- Briefly outline the areas you’ve previously had experience in e.g. clinical areas
Then, ask these simple questions to be prepared:
- What are my placement hours?
- Are there specific uniform requirements?
- Does this placement site have parking?
- Can you recommend areas to study prior to commencing placement? (This one will highlight your initiative and interest in the placement!)
Step 4: Go for a drive
Once you’ve unpacked, a simple drive around town could make your whole placement easier. Use the time to go to the shops, buy groceries and become familiar with the town. And practice the drive to your placement site! Find out where it is, where it’s best to park and how long your daily commute will be.
Step 5: Meal prep
It may seem tedious, but placement is exhausting so if you put in the time and effort to prep meals beforehand, you will be thanking yourself!
Step 6: Make the most of it
Placement is all about balance. It’s vital to stay on top of your university content while you’re experiencing life in the workforce, but you need to ensure you don’t burn out. Make sure you spend part of your day doing something that allows you to relax!
Check out what the local area has to offer and connect with the community, you might land a full-time job here! Hint – staff members are a treasure trove for things to see and do.
Step 7: Leave a lasting impact
As students we can feel that we become a face in the crowd when leaving placement. The best way to avoid this is to do something to make you stand out. What it is, is up to you!
What you leave behind doesn’t even have to be tangible. Supervisors often remark that students stay in their mind when they create strong relationships with the staff team. Spend meal breaks with the team or engage in staff training. Every single interaction will make the difference!
Make the most of your time on placement! The experiences you get are one of a kind and you may find they push you in a new direction in your career.