- Course: BSc Medical Sciences
- Company: University of Birmingham
Where did you do your placement year and what was your job role?
I did my placement at the University of Birmingham in a laboratory studying platelet signalling. My role was similar to a PhD student, where I worked with a post-doc on their project and carried out various experiments and jobs for their project.
What were your key responsibilities? How did these develop as your placement progressed?
My responsibilities were helping out with lab jobs, such as making up communal buffers and solutions. I also did the genotyping for the mice our group used. I did basic analysis techniques such as western blots of samples produced by my supervisor, and moved on to performing the full experiment or more complicated procedures as I gained experience. As the placement progressed I was left alone more often and given more independence to manage my time and plan the work myself.
How can you envisage your year in industry being relevant to your career prospects in the future?
The experience I have gained here will be extremely beneficial for my future career; if I stay in science it will give me good references, possibly being able to be a second author on a paper and experience presenting at an international conference, as well as the valuable lab skills. I feel that even in other careers it will be very useful, as it has been a year working full time, and I have improved skills such as organisation and independence, as well as gaining confidence in working with new people and different environments. Most people here also agree that getting experience working will be very useful for getting any sort of job as it will really improve professionalism and employability.
What were the most enjoyable and most challenging aspects of your placement?
The most enjoyable aspects on a day to day basis is being able to put into practice what I have learnt about previously and to do some hands on work as part of a working lab. Overall the opportunity to go to Canada has been the most exciting as it is somewhere I may never have had the opportunity to go to. The placement has offered me the chance to go to Toronto in June 2015 for an international conference where I will be presenting my work! The most challenging was becoming used to the working life, as sometimes I would work long days and organising my time well was initially a challenge, especially since I was used to university life. Sometimes being left alone on a long experiment for the first time was a challenge as I had to deal with things that went wrong, which was daunting the first time but something I learnt to cope with.