Placement or fieldwork is often the most stressful and critical learning period for students. As a teacher and recent graduate, I have reflected on the strategies that helped me get the most out of placement.
Build a partnership with your supervisor
- As soon as you get your supervisor’s details, call them. Don’t email unless they ask you to email. Supervisors prefer to see that you are confident to make a phone call and are interested in preparing for placement. Ask what pre-readings or learning you can do.
- Be clear with your supervisor from day one. What are the areas you need to work on or need more experience? Let them know how you like to learn? (e.g. visual, kinesthetic, auditory, a reflector).
- If you feel comfortable to share with your supervisor and coordinator, disclose any health conditions you may have. Don’t push through if you know your health is falling apart. There are many strategies that your teachers can use to help you.
- Keep in contact with your supervisors. I love the fact that I can always feel like I can reach out to my honours supervisor after the journey we went through together. I have grown so much from having their friendship and knowledge in my life.
- Take every opportunity that you can!
- Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing. Have a go! Supervisors much prefer to see a student try and get things wrong. Why? because they can see where you need support and how they can help you to grow.
- Push yourself to talk. This means talk to your supervisor, clients, the team members. Try and have informal chats over tea break. It will show your passion for fitting into the team. Which are important skills to be able to say on your resume!
- Ask for help! Be confident to know you are not certain and need help. This will show that you are reflecting on the boundaries of your knowledge and trying to improve.
- Placement is very fatiguing you are constantly learning. Make sure that you keep your balanced lifestyle.
- Continue to exercise regularly. I remember having a stressful day after being involved in counselling several individuals wanting to take their life. The first thing I did when I got home was exercise to get rid of that tension.
- Eat healthily and drink plenty of water. Your mind and body need fuel. If you can keep a snack in your pocket so in case you get low blood sugar levels.
- Keep in contact with friends outside of your course. I found that by chatting with my friends I felt like I was comparing my progress to theirs, or who had placement the hardest. This only heightens your and your friend’s anxiety.
- If you know you get a lot of anxiety about new situations. Go visit the hospital. Work out where you can park, what the layout of the hospital is like. Check out the agency’s website.
- Ask your peers has anyone completed a placement in the same location. What tips can they give you?
You can do this!