My Psychology Placement at the Surrey Baby Lab

Image of the author - Cerys - smiling. She has long brown hair and is wearing an orange top.
I worked at the Surrey Baby Lab from September to July as part of my Placement Year.

What were the challenges of your year and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge of my placement year was when my coworker – another placement student – had to move to Singapore after only a couple of months of working together. There is an 8-hour time difference between England and Singapore, and therefore this could have made our communication strained. However, we overcame this obstacle by ensuring that all our meetings and collaborative work were in the morning, with independent work being left until the afternoon. 

What were your main areas of development?

My main area of development has been my confidence. I have always been a nervous presenter, but throughout my placement I noticed a considerable improvement in my ability to speak in professional situations. For instance, I pushed myself to volunteer a couple of pieces of information in larger group meetings, and the more I did this the more naturally it came to me. I also participated in various presentations over my placement year, and the practice and experience of these meant that by the end of the year, the prospect of giving presentations did not scare me nearly as much as it did initially. 

How do you think your placement year learnings will help you during your final year?

As I mentioned previously, my increase in confidence will greatly help me during my final year. I feel it will make me more likely to email professors for help, be more engaging in any presentations I give, and motivate me to push myself more in my assignments. The experience of balancing many different tasks will also help me in my final year, as I am predicting I will be very busy with academic work and extracurricular activities. 

How has your placement year shaped what you would like to do in the future?

My placement has emphasised to me that I would like to do a Masters and then a PhD after I graduate. I think I am likely to do this in social psychology, as this is what I have had the most interest in throughout the year. In addition to this, I have greatly enjoyed working with social media throughout this year, and this is definitely something that I would like to pursue in the future. 

What advice would you give to students who are still looking for a placement?

My advice would be to try not to stress yourself out too much. This is easier said than done, especially as you may have friends who have already got themselves placements. However, do keep in mind that there are so many placements being added onto Surrey Pathfinder all the time, so you will still have lots of opportunities to apply. I would also recommend thoroughly reading the information on cover letters, CVs and interviews on SurreyLearn, so when you do apply you are putting yourself out there in the best way possible!