What I’ve learnt from doing a placement at home

Hey guys! I’m Emma and I’m a psychology student currently doing a placement at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, also known as the CBCD, or Birkbeck Babylab.

A photo of a young woman smiling, the background is in the woods

As everyone else is probably feeling, the expectation of my placement is far different from the reality.

I got the email confirming I would be working at the Babylab in December 2019 and I was so excited! I was looking forward to seeing all these cute babies come in and be infant scientists for the day, as well as meeting the other placement students and becoming lifelong friends.

However, that’s not exactly how things turned out. Little did I know that a few months later a cheeky shopping trip to get the essentials would be the highlight of my week.

So what have I learnt so far from completing my placement from the comfort of my bedroom?

1. Structure! Structure! Structure!

Quite self-explanatory really.

Just getting up and out of bed in the morning makes me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day, especially when I know I’ll treat myself to a cuppa in a few hours.

A little tip I’ve discovered is when you’ve finished for the day do something to change your environment (get changed, go on a walk etc). It doesn’t matter what but do something to distance yourself mentally from work if you can’t physically distance yourself. It really helps with the whole work/life balance thing.

2. Make time for the things you love

I know this is something I still need to work on.

I’ve learnt the hard way that putting in the time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes, goes a long way. Whether it’s a zoom call with the lads, a 5-minute yoga session, or binge-watching Netflix. Taking the time to do things that make you happy will not only make you happy (shocking I know) but will also make you feel better about working.

3. Look after yourself, and know your limits

Something I’ve learnt is self-care goes beyond eating a salad and doing a face mask. Looking after yourself involves a certain level of self-reflection that takes work to get to. Sometimes it’s going on a run and getting a smoothie, other times it’s wrapping yourself up in blankets and playing video games for the day (both of which I have done in the past few weeks).

You know what you are and aren’t capable of better than anyone else, so listen to your mind and body. This is even trickier when there’s a pandemic happening outside, so take the time for yourself.

4. Push yourself

Once you know your limits, challenge them. It doesn’t have to be huge, maybe ask a question at the end of a meeting, write a blog about your placement (bet you can’t work out which one I did).

6 months ago if you told me I’d volunteer myself to write a blog for my university I wouldn’t have believed you. But being at home and having the time to work on myself, when the opportunity came around I thought why not?

If you would like to know more about staying sane while working from home, the best things to binge on Netflix, or you’d just like a chat, please feel free to contact me!