The process of applying to placements

Hello again everyone and happy Friday!

Since the start of my second year in Biomedical Science, I’ve been trying to look for a placement. The process thus far has consisted of me filling in placement applications in between my breaks of studying, or using a full day to fill in applications, or on some days I really need to just prioritise my school work and on those days I don’t even look at some of my applications.

In the beginning, I kind of felt a responsibility in a way to apply to as many placement opportunities as I could, just to ensure that I end up getting something in the end. That became tiring and I started to lose interest in a lot of the places I was looking to apply to. So I found myself at a point, roughly two weeks ago, where I made the decision that I would be more careful and thoughtful about where I was going to apply to.

I sat down one afternoon and really thought about the kinds of roles I would want to take on during my placement year and I decided that I am going to try and focus on immunology-based placements. Through all of the times I’ve been exposed to immunology content both this academic year and last year, I have absolutely loved it and I can definitely see myself becoming an immunologist one day. The search for these kinds of placements has not been easy, as the “first wave” of placement applications have already passed their deadlines and the opportunities available currently aren’t that many. Of course, many many more placements will open up their applications in the coming weeks to months, with some possibly even opening in May to June of 2021.

It has definitely been a stressful process, and I have definitely gotten some rejections I won’t lie. It’s never easy to see the words “rejected” or “declined” on anything that you worked hard on and it has certainly taken a toll on me, but I guess that the rejection letters are just one part of the “real world” that we all have to deal with at some point or another.

Apart from the sad and stressful times of applying to placements, I’ve definitely learnt more about myself as a person. I’m now better able to describe my strengths and weaknesses, I am more sure of what I want to do with my life, I’ve grown a thicker skin due to some of the rejection letters and I have made a couple more friends just because we’re all going through this together at the moment, and it has definitely been nice to just relate to the struggles that some of my peers have gone through in their applications.

I am remaining hopeful that I might find a placement at some point during this year, and I think that if I were to get one it would definitely be beneficial to me both as a student and as a future scientist. Placements can provide people with a great deal of benefits, from gaining extra lab skills, to learning how to work in a professional setting, and it gives a general “taste” of what the real world is like outside of university.

The university have been really helpful in terms of placement information. We’ve had a number of information sessions pertaining to placements both in the UK and around the globe, where faculty members and University staff have shown us different labs, different opportunities we could apply to and they’ve also given us some great tips for our applications.

This is a reoccurring thing that I’ve mentioned throughout my last couple of blogs but I cannot stress this enough! The university has really been trying to help us as much as they can during this difficult time. Of course, they can’t hold our hands and spoon feed us placement opportunities, but the bioscience faculty members and university staff have been absolutely excellent in terms of replying to our emails on time, we always have our personal tutors who we can ask for help and the Careers team have hosted some really useful workshops and events that are geared towards improving our CVs and LinkedIn accounts.

If you’re reading this and you’re currently applying to placements, I wish you a world of luck and I really hope you succeed in getting something you love. If you’re reading this and you’re wondering about placements or if you’re a bit scared, please rest assured that the University will try to help you as much as they can and that everything that is meant for you will come to you in its own time. Not getting a placement is most definitely not the end of the world and a lot of people go on to do incredible things even without having completed placements.

That’s all from me for this week 😁

I hope you all have a great weekend and that you’re staying safe!