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    Decided to chronicle my experience as a third year placement student in London. I study Psychology at the University of Bath, however as a part of my course I am now on a year in industry. (All courses at Bath have this opportunity)

    I am currently working as a research assistant at a university in London in the Psychology department (won't go into specifics). My placement is not paid, like most Psychology placements. Unless you happen to work for a big organisation, you won't be getting paid at all or much. The bright side to not doing a paid placement in a big company is that I have more support for my dissertation as the whole point of a psych placement is to work (obviously) but to also use this experience to devise a dissertation idea.

    I am still undecided on what I want my topic to be, but I am leaning towards personality in the work place. I'll keep you posted on this one.

    My role mostly involves compiling literature reviews, proof reading and statistical analysis. I get to attend a few conferences here and there. I work freelance for various people and companies, mostly doing the same thing I do for my placement supervisor (sometimes I get paid, sometimes not). I am able to do the freelancing because of the contacts my supervisor has (which is another bonus to the placement). He is very well known in the field (I had a guy fangirling to me earlier today) which was why I was keen to work with him as he has many contacts in Psychology and also in the business sector. Future career plans atm is to go into consultancy or sales.

    I have been on my placement for just over a month now so there is not much to report. However, I have been in London since July.

    I did an internship with the civil service in the Home Office. Great exposure for what I didn't want to do in the future. I was a data analyst, and whilst this job could be quite stimulating for some people I didn't enjoy it. I wasn't very interested in the areas my unit was working in so I wasn't very motivated and began counting down the days to the weekend and to the end of the internship. I didn't enjoy the stuffy office environment where people sent you an email even though they were sat opposite you, or the lack of socialising outside of work. It felt very much like I was working for the sake of work.

    --

    Whilst working at the Home Office, I moved out of my family home to a house in Streatham. I moved because I was used to having my independence and freedom, and I didn't want to be sharing a room with my much younger sister (my family home is in London).

    The place I had found was very nice, loads of storage space but I was lodging as opposed to renting a room. This was my first experience of it and didn't think it would be a bad experience as it was only for a year and the rent was cheap. I have now been in this place for almost 3 months and I am moving out at the end of the month.

    I am lodging with a couple, so it is essentially their house. As a lodger you do not have the same rights as a tenant. There is no lock on your door and you are essentially a house guest if you really think about it. I had to ask their permission well in advance to have a house guest over, the couple I was living with also kept having loud fights, they were very finicky about rules (which I get, it's their house) and for grown people they were dirty as hell. The living situation as you can see was not ideal in the slightest. It felt like I was living with parents and was exactly the environment I was trying to avoid! Not to mention the pile of dirty dishes that would lay in the sink for 2/3 days before they were cleaned. Despite them recently buying a dishwasher.

    I have since found somewhere new to move to, in which I will be a tenant sharing with other young professionals. I am praying the living situation will be better than my current. I have high hopes that it will be as I will have the freedom that I had whilst at university. And I won't have to worry about being locked out if I forget to let someone know that I'm going to be back late -_-

    Whilst lodging does have advantages such as cheaper rent, it does come with more restrictions which I feel outweighs the benefits. If anyone is considering going on placement, or even looking for accommodation whilst studying.. Do not live with a couple or a family. It's really hit or miss, most times miss.

    --

    Working 9 to 5 has taken some getting used to. When I first started my internship I felt so tired at the end of the day and didn't want to do anything except lay in bed and watch netflix. It was depressing af. I didn't have the energy to do the things I wanted to or felt that I had the time to do it.

    About a month into working the grind, I decided to be more proactive with my time and I bought a gym membership and started taking swimming lessons so that I could get out of the house more. I also started making plans with friends after the work, and I was glad I did all of these things because even though I was initially feeling quite drained when I actually started the activity I was much more energised.

    I really didn't want to become a hermit during this year and I think it's very important to carry on with your hobbies or try something new when you are on placement. Yes, it is good to have the industry experience but this is an opportunity to do so much more on this year out.

    Since joining the gym I have hired a personal trainer as it has been a goal of mine to start weight lifting. My trainer has been helping with my all round fitness and my desire to tone and build muscle, but he is also showing me how to lift appropriately and safely. It has only been a month but I already feel stronger, I have a wider range of movement with certain exercises and there are even times when I catch myself actually wanting to go to the gym and not forcing myself to go (!)

    I have also progressed a fair bit with swimming also. It's been about two months or so of 45 minute lessons once a week. I can now swim 10m on my back without a float, but I am only able to swim just over 5m on my front because I suck at breathing and moving my arms and legs at the same time My goal is to be able to swim the full 50 metres of the pool by the end of my placement.

    --

    I've been in London for 3 months and I will admit that I do miss my university town. I was very eager to leave and get back to my favourite city but now that I'm here I do miss the familiarity and how you could walk everywhere (commuting during peak hours will be the death of me). Even though I feel nostalgic once in a while, I am very happy to be where I am and I look forward to taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way and making the most out of my year out.

    Until next time

    xoxo
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    As a sidenote, unpaid placements are illegal in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns, where for a placement to be compulsory it must be necessary for the degree's accreditation, not just as a year in industry add on). I'm very surprised that Bath let you onto such a placement and the hosting university didn't pay you as universities tend to be pretty good on this.

    Big companies also tend to be very keen with you doing a dissertation topic with them, so I don't know where you've got that idea from.
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    (Original post by Helloworld_95)
    As a sidenote, unpaid placements are illegal in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns, where for a placement to be compulsory it must be necessary for the degree's accreditation, not just as a year in industry add on). I'm very surprised that Bath let you onto such a placement and the hosting university didn't pay you as universities tend to be pretty good on this.

    Big companies also tend to be very keen with you doing a dissertation topic with them, so I don't know where you've got that idea from.
    Hi!

    If unpaid placements were illegal then I wouldn't be on one, and neither would many of the other people on my course. There are some people based in America, New Zealand and around the UK who are similarly on an unpaid placement which is a compulsory element for our course when we applied. You can opt for doing a standard 3 year Bsc course which doesn't involve a placement year, but most people at Bath tend to want to do a placement year.

    I did not say that big companies are not keen with you doing a dissertation topic, a big company can provide you with data no doubt, but they may not necessarily have the psychology expertise and experience which is necessary to provide sufficient support for the dissertation topic. Of course this is course dependent, which I should have made clearer earlier but in the case of Psychology just being handed the data isn't great especially if you're not used to handling large data sets. I also mentioned this because I have friends on the course who are working in large companies and have found this to be the case. They have access to data which is great, but they don't have the support to get going straight away from the people who they work with. Instead they will probably be working more closely with a dissertation supervisor based at Bath Uni which won't be allocated until late December/early January. Again, this is case dependent. I am aware that most courses with a placement do not require your dissertation topic to be based on your placement, but in my case it is what it is.

    Appreciate your comments xoxo
 
 
 
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