It’s a common misconception among University students that work experience is simply something you need to force yourself to do to build your CV, and isn’t actually useful at all. Having completed my fair share of short work placements, I’ll admit that can sometimes be the case; but I can honestly say that my time at Social Communications has been a cut above the rest.
As a university student you need to know that studying a subject and working in that field are two very different things… I learned that the hard way when my lifelong goals of becoming a Business Psychologist were tragically crushed, after completing a placement during my undergraduate degree and realising I wasn’t suited to the field at all. But this lead me to change my Masters degree just before it became too late, and so I began pursue a new path in the world of PR and communications.
I was sure that PR was a good match for me, but as you can imagine I was slightly worried I’d witness the team in action and realise that 11k in university fees later, I still hadn’t found my dream career. I’m extremely relieved to report that it’s been the opposite – it’s safe to say Social Comms has showed me how truly interesting and exciting the world of PR can be.
My favourite thing about the placement was that every day was different. Although my time in the office was brief, I was able to gain a whistle-stop tour of a variety of projects, with clients spanning a number of different industries. I used to dread growing up and enduring the office life, but it’s impossible to become bored in such a fast-paced and constantly changing work environment.
I was exposed to areas of PR I hadn’t been before; public affairs is something Social Communications particularly excel in, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to gain some insight. I’m not the most political person usually, but I found the public affairs tasks to be some of the most engaging, and so I’m now open to roles in this area in the future.
A lot of what shapes your work experience is the people. The Social Communications team is friendly and approachable, and made me feel at ease right away; I never felt hesitant to ask a question – even if it felt like a stupid one. They were there to support me wherever I needed, to ensure I was getting the most out of my experience as possible.
So the moral of the story is – it’s important to find yourself some work experience, but it’s even more important to know it’s going to be worth your while. If you’re looking to gain a genuine insight into the world of PR and communications, and have a great time whilst doing it, Social Communications is the perfect place for that. I’m really grateful for my experience here, and it’s motivated and excited me for taking the next step into the world of PR.
Nicolette Oragwu is a student at the University of Leeds. Social Communications is a full-service PR, public affairs, marketing and communications agency.