Placement. Moving away from home. Leaving your comfort zone. Three scary things to think about, however has anyone ever wished they never did them?
Moving from the North East to Loughborough was my first big step in life, but I went several steps further this year and have moved to United Arab Emirates (only a few miles different right?)
Placement began with an 8-hour flight into Dubai airport, nervous for the challenge that lay ahead, alongside the thoughts about leaving my family and friends behind. All the nerves eased once I met my colleagues and was introduced into my job as a Wellness Coach, being given the opportunity to change kid’s lives every day with sport, arts and crafts, and multifunctional activities.
You might think University is a new sense of independence that you don’t get at home, and you’re right! However, placement is a whole new level of independence that I didn’t know existed. Being within an environment where you’re encouraged to use your own initiative and ideas to succeed is a years’ experience that everyone deserves.
Possibilities are endless. I set myself a goal at the beginning of placement, and that was to have a positive effect on the kids that I coach within the Epicenter (my main place of work).
The Epicenter influences the kids more than I’ll ever understand, as they will spend most of their childhood growing and developing within those four walls.
My job is rewarding in many ways. When I flew to UAE, I had my mind set on succeeding at my placement job, and that was my only thought.
Being on a placement year opens your eyes even wider to the world in front of you. Yes, the Loughborough ‘bubble’ is a huge miss, but leaving it for a year makes you more grateful for being given the chance to go back for one more year.
You meet people who at first are your colleagues, but when you discover that everyone is in the same boat, you start to bond over your mutual interest in your jobs, and they will become friends for life.
Being out here has taught me that independence should be encouraged, and as hard as being on your own is, learning to be able to succeed for yourself is the best success.
Don’t get me wrong, please don’t forget to succeed at your job, you will never get this opportunity again! But use this year as a year for yourself, discover new comfort zones.
Loughborough allowed me to find my wings, but American University of Sharjah, and the people and experiences around me, have helped me learn to fly.
If anyone is unsure about whether placement is the right idea, I would say do it! I found my placement through SCI Placements, with Rakhee and the staff at ‘The Place’ being a huge help.
Not all placements require you to move so far away from your home life, but they will all bring a new sense of independence that will help you into becoming a young adult. And of course, you get to return to Loughborough after!