Hey there! Happy Chinese New Year! Hope you are enjoying all the family gatherings and savouring the goodies and snacks!
Now that my first semester is over, thought that it will be nice to reflect on how my semester went as a student who is back from placement. In all honesty, the transition from working back to studying and doing assignments was difficult. Especially because I am so used to working 9-5 from Monday to Friday that going back to classes felt weird for a moment though it does feel nice to be a student again. I did struggle a little to get back to the momentum of studying and doing assignments. It probably took me a good 2 to 3 weeks to adapt to the school environment of going to classes, reading journal articles and allocating time to revise and start on assignments. But I guess it is normal if you took a break from school like how we transition from different phases of our education.
As much as possible, the school tries to provide support to welcome students who returned from placement with returner events to update students on any new developments in school and catch up on anything they have missed out on. There are different events hosted by different departments. I attended the welcome briefing for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management students which gives us updates on the faculty, things that might have changed when we are on placement and what we should take note of for the new academic year. Additionally, the employability and careers team also organised a placement returners day for returners to get together and get information on any developments and updates on the school.
Something I found really useful coming back from placement is having the industry knowledge which allowed me to look at issues more critically. For example, for my consultancy module, my group was tasked to do a sustainability proposal for an events company. With my experience from placement as a responsible tourism intern, it made me think in the perspective of the company and how we can propose solutions that are feasible in the commercial sense but still address the sustainability concerns in their operations.
Soft skills gained during placement were also evident. I felt that I am more confident as compared to how I was before placement. In the past semester, I find myself answering questions and initiating more conversations in class, interacting more with my lecturers and course mates and just being more confident in starting conversations in general. Though it may seem like nothing but for someone who used to always avoid eye contact with lecturers in class, it is a nice improvement to have this increased confidence in myself.
During the semester, I had an intense combination of modules – a research paper, a consultancy project for an actual company, a business strategy module and a module on leadership. At the start, I was really excited to try these different modules but soon realised that I have not managed my time well for each module. Not trying to be cliché but managing and allocating adequate amount of time for each module is crucial and is something I did not do really well in the past semester. I realised that I spent too much time and effort in a particular module, International Business Strategy, where I struggled to understand the concepts with my limited knowledge in business. Because the deadline for that assignment was one of the earlier ones, it resulted in me neglecting on my later assignments and pushing it back. This therefore caused a snowball effect and I struggled to complete my other assignments. With the break from school, I lost touch of how much time I needed to complete my assignments coupled with the increased difficulty and expectations as final year students, resulting in my struggle the past semester.
Having experienced this semester after placement, it was definitely a difficult journey. But if I were to ask myself again if placement was a good choice knowing that I may have to struggle to adapt, I will still say yes and I still have no regrets on taking that opportunity to venture out into the industry. Sure, there are things I wished I have managed better but the challenges were definitely a good learning lesson that I will not want it to reoccur in the next semester. Just less than 2 weeks before my last semester of uni starts and definitely looking forward to the interesting modules and hope to learn even more in my last lap of education. Till then, take care and I will catch you guys on my next post in the new semester! 😊