While many of my course mates were looking for their year-abroad opportunities, a year in another country wasn’t an easy option for me. I needed a break from academic life, and I felt very unsure about my career path after university. So, I decided to apply for a placement year here in the UK.
Applying for my placement
I’d loved the time I’d spent on the committee of a charity society, York Marrow, so I decided I’d like to spend a year working in a charity. I scrolled through so many jobs on ratemyplacement.co.uk and Handshake (the University’s career platform) until I came across the role of Communications Assistant at the Encephalitis Society. I reckon you have the same question that I did when I first looked at the listing: What is encephalitis? So, I did what any Gen Z student would do, and Googled it:
“Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. It is caused either by an infection invading the brain (infectious encephalitis) or through the immune system attacking the brain in error (post-infectious or autoimmune encephalitis).”
After reading into the condition more and more, and seeing the devastating impact it has on people’s lives, I knew I wanted to try and help. So, I applied for the role. After a surprisingly smooth Zoom interview (I’d done one interview previously, and it had been a complete shambles), I got the job and started in August 2022!
The relief of getting my dream placement
I can’t describe the feeling I had when I received the email saying that I had been selected for the role, only a mere few hours after my interview! I felt I’d landed on my feet; it was an amazing role, and it allowed me to stay in York – the dream! After a challenging start to uni during the pandemic, I felt like everything was going my way.
So what do I do day-to-day?
As a Communications Assistant, I manage the day-to-day running of all our social media accounts, as well as assisting my manager in writing our newsletter and creating our wider campaigns, such as World Encephalitis Day and Information Week. Another very exciting project I have been assigned is getting famous landmarks around the world to light up red for World Encephalitis Day on the 22 February as part of our #RED4WED campaign!
One of the amazing things about my role, and the charity, is that it has a real culture of “muck in where you want”. This has allowed me to experience different roles within the charity, and learn so much about them. So far, my placement has been extremely insightful, and is already allowing me to make decisions about the direction of my career after university.
I could write for absolutely ages about all the things that the charity achieves, and the very real impact that it has on people’s lives – something which I feel extremely privileged to witness daily. But I won’t ramble on any further, don’t worry! I’ll just leave you with the encouragement that anyone and everyone should consider doing a placement year!
Wondering what other placement year opportunities there are? Read about other students’ experiences.