The following blog post was submitted by 3rd year BSc Marketing student, Georgia Varti.
I’m Georgia, a third year Marketing student, currently spending a year in London at Marks and Spencer’s Head Office where I am completing a 12 month rotational eCommerce scheme.
I’m four months into my placement and it’s going so unbelievably quickly; I’ve already completed a rotation in Digital Marketing and I’m currently responsible for .com Logistics – I have two roles left which will consist of International Trading and Business Development.
Placement is an exciting and invaluable opportunity to develop both personally and professionally in a corporate environment and I’ve been given a great amount of responsibility. For example, last month I planned, created and executed the entire marketing content for the new M&S baby range that is now being sold in over 50 countries.
Placement is everything I expected it to be (and more!) but working 9-5 five days per week is a shock to the system after being in uni for two years – it’s hard not to be nostalgic about student life. Here are six things I miss the most and six that I don’t miss just so much…
Six things that I miss about uni life…
Four month breaks
No matter how demanding your workload gets, once it hits June you’ll be rewarded with a four-month holiday. The working world is not so generous – you’ll be lucky to get four weeks off per year.
The student loan
The novelty of Student Finance sending a big wad of cash every once in a while could never be seen as a bad thing. I miss the feeling of Christmas coming early and living like royalty for a fortnight (until it suddenly dawns towards the end of the term that you have £2.06 that has to last for another two weeks, uh oh).
The spontaneous nights out
As a second year, every other day is an excuse for a party. ‘Wednesday’, in particular, was a big night out. During placement, Wednesday evenings are now spent preparing a presentation for 9am the next day to senior stakeholders. I definitely don’t appreciate hearing gossip or seeing photos from the night before when I wish I could have been there myself. Serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Thursday is usually a fun night in London for young professionals and we’ll often head for after work drinks for 2-4-1 cocktails; one of my fave spots is Dirty Martini in Covent Garden, where there are concoctions such as the ‘Mango and Chilli Martini’ and the ‘Pineapple and Sage Mojito’.
For the majority of first and second years, finding out that you have four lectures and a 10am start on a Tuesday may be absolutely soul destroying. FYI – a 9-5 Monday-Friday timetable in a corporate environment is the norm. I’m usually up at 7 and at my desk checking and replying to emails by 8.30am. (This is the same girl that used to have to set alarms for 1pm lectures).
Last and certainly not least, I miss the people at uni. The group of friends I’ve built up over the last couple of years have helped to make my university experience what it is. The majority of my pals will be graduating whilst I’m finishing placement, but I’m lucky that two of my second year housemates are also doing sandwich years and that I’m close to my course friends.
At uni, I was used to having a large group of friends and being around people I actually wanted to spend time with. On placement, the majority of my time is spent at work; I enjoy socialising with colleagues, but it’s impossible not to compare friendships with people at work to friends you have lived with or spent countless nights out/in with.
Six things that I don’t miss so much…
Everyone who has been a student recognises how not only hard, but annoying, it is to have a tight budget. Money might not be able to buy you happiness, but it sure is fun to be earning a competitive wage and to be able to afford the ‘NEW IN’ selection in Topshop instead of begrudgingly traipsing to the SALE rail.
Okay, so I can’t imagine any student actively stating that they miss exam season or feel disappointed about not having a mountain of coursework. One of the positives about placement is that after 5 o’clock (apart from the odd email/presentation preparation/report) the evening is yours to enjoy. As a student, I always found that even after a day full of lectures, there was always some sort of task I could be getting on with; be it reading around a lecture, typing up notes or planning an essay.
Living in squalor
I’ve got to admit, our second year house was modern, secure and enviably kitted out and our landlord was lovely, so this point is slightly generalised. I’ve heard horror tales of leaky roofs, breaking boilers and washing up not getting touched for weeks on end. Being a student is a blast, but I definitely don’t miss spending slightly worse for wear mornings clearing away the night before’s impromptu pre drinks!
The ‘uni bubble’
Uni is the only place where you can find so many people of a similar age living away from home – it’s easy to be in a bit of a ‘bubble’; to be settled in your friendship groups and comfort zones. Living in London and knowing so few people in the city really pushes you to extend your network and encourages you to put in the effort to meet new people, which is great preparation for the future.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge fan of having a ‘lazy’ day, when lectures finish at 2 and you can catch up on some trash TV or just chill with pals, but I know all too well the guilt that comes with the sudden realisation that it’s 9pm and you haven’t actually achieved all that much. During placement, there’s a constant stream of activity and I can truly say that after a full on 8 hour day, at 5pm I feel like I’ve accomplished something towards my future goals and career plan.
This leads me to my final thing that I don’t miss about uni: the niggling feeling of being slightly concerned about my future. Before securing a placement, I was worried that without relevant work experience, I would blend in with thousands of other graduates. Going back to uni for the fourth year, complete with a year’s work for a global corporation has certainly given me more confidence about my future career.
The step into the real world can be a scary one and adjusting to a full time job is overwhelming. As a second year it was hard to imagine a life that didn’t revolve around lectures, essays and last minute nights out. I visit my uni friends as much as I can and I like to think of it as still being an honorary student without the woes of having to do the likes of your diss just so soon.
Life on placement is as equally fun and exciting, just in completely different ways.