March 6, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Gaining confidence through two placement experiences
Adeola Oyewale shares her experience of two postgraduate engineering placements organised by the Researcher Academy.
I am Adeola, a full-time software developer who came from Nigeria, my home country, to get a Master’s Degree in Electronic, Communications and Computer Engineering at the University of Nottingham. While studying, I was lucky to get working experience through two placement opportunities.
Now, for the fun yet challenging part.
Firstly, coming to a completely new country to study was an exciting challenge. Prior to coming, I knew I wanted to work while studying, I especially looked forward to getting a part-time Engineering role. To my surprise, bagging a placement wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. I got interviews quite all right, but I wasn’t winning my interviewers’ hearts. Getting rejections was disappointing so I decided to give the placement role applications a break. This all happened from November to December 2021.
Reflecting on my initial placement interviews, I discovered that what I lacked was confidence in myself and my abilities. I chose to try again for the Researcher Academy’s Postgraduate Placements programme in June 2022. I had gained more confidence and was more accustomed to my new environment. I was finally able to get a placement as a Digital Strategist at Murphy and Son. The skills I developed while studying matched the placement job description almost perfectly. Fast forward to my new role and I got to discover that placements were meant to be treated as real jobs. On my first day at work, I was introduced as an experienced digital strategist, lol. In my mind, I thought I was just a student…haha. To be honest, the expectations placed on me to deliver really helped me to put in my best. Long story short, get ready to work and put in your best. You’ll reap the benefits soon.
“I got to discover that placements were meant to be treated as real jobs [but] the expectations placed on me to deliver really helped me to put in my best.”
Now for my second experience! The end of my first placement was drawing nearer and deep down I felt like there was still more I wanted to learn, especially as an Engineer. I then applied for another placement opportunity as a power platform developer and got it. This time around, I was aware that I would have to take it as seriously as a full-time job. At Nova Interiors, the company I worked with, I was able to learn so much and contribute as best as I could as well. I enjoyed this job so much that I would spend extra time researching and actively trying to learn from my manager. This opportunity was the steppingstone to my present career as a software developer.
So, I went from getting several placement rejections to two placement opportunities, while studying to getting a full-time job. My faith, support of family, support of lecturers, mentorship of my line managers, and confidence in myself and my abilities played a huge part in my placement journey and present job at Cooper Parry. In all my roles, I accepted projects with a positive mindset, I was eager to learn, and I derived joy in easing company processes through my work. As an encouragement, believe in yourself, be willing to learn, be willing to take baby steps and most of all, enjoy your own journey.
“Supervising Adeola’s master project was a delightful experience. Adeola consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic, exceptional attention to detail, and a dedication to delivering outstanding results.”
~ Sendy Phang, Assistant Professor, UON Engineering
> Excellence Through Experience: Why do a Researcher Academy placement?
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