Placement Done, Engineering Questionable…

So, as of the end of last week, I’m done with my placement.

I can honestly say it’s been an experience, though I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a good one. It has been interesting, in a way, but it has definitely put me off working for that company in the future, and has raised a few questions about what I want to do in the future, particularly in two years when suddenly I’m potentially stuck in the real world for good.

To cut a (year-) long story short, I strongly disagree with the attitude of my place of work to their employees. There is a line written in to our contracts that state that we may (read: will) be expected to do additional work without additional remuneration. In English, this means we are expected to do unpaid overtime when things are running late. Which always happens. And so people are doing unpaid overtime on a regular basis.

Oh, and I strongly object to their attitude to Health and Safety (as in, what appears to be the bare minimum), but probably because I’m a First Aider and have very strong opinions on this sort of thing.

Oh yes, and I discovered I can nearly earn as much as I did working at a supermarket… I know I was only a student there, but that did not leave me very impressed…

To cut the story even shorter: I never want to work for them again. I haven’t mentioned this to my bosses, of cause, but it’ll take an extremely good offer to make me go back (or no other option).

Not only has this ruled out one company to work for, this has given my already quite shaky confidence in this course being the right thing for me a massive knock. The other student at the company seems to enjoying his work, as do the other engineers working there. May be it’s just that I didn’t get on with the ways things worked there, but it has certainly raised a few questions.

Increasingly I’ve been considering going in to medicine of some kind. Paramedicine has its attractions, not least because I am rather passionate about my work with the Organisation (something that’s even caught me by surprise…). However, there is the slight disadvantage that I can’t drive, and definitely won’t be gaining any reasonable level of confidence behind the wheel any time soon.  Also, to be quite blunt, I have 4 As at A-Level (480 UCAS tariff points) and am aiming for a First on an MEng degree. The highest requirement I’ve seen for Paramedic Science is 240 points.  With all due respect to everyone who works on an ambulance, (I have several Organisation friends who are current or student paramedics), even if I had the driving requirement, I’m aiming higher than that. I want something to challenge me. (Incidentally, I’m not sure engineering meets that need either at the moment…)

Which leaves me with a problem. I have four science-y A-Levels (maths, physics, computing and chemistry), but the traditional medicine one would be biology. I didn’t study it because I have no interest in what was the largest part of the course: plant and animal biology. Human biology is interesting, not least because it’s something that I can relate to it a lot easier. I am also currently studying a degree that couldn’t get much further from medicine. This essentially excludes me from doing a graduate entry course. This in itself isn’t too much of a problem. However, it’s been quite a while since I did my A-levels, which is not going to work to my advantage during applications for a normal undergraduate course.

In my favour, I have two and a half years volunteering with the Organisation, including a good amount of time of direct patient care. I also have some very basic clinical skills already, and have actually used some of them. This will be advantages some applicants don’t have, but I still feel like I’ve got a lot of making up to do.

I am now really unsure what to do, and not very sure who to talk to.

Don’t I just love having a hard life…


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About The WalkingPlasterDispenser

So who is the Walking Plaster Dispenser? Well, I'm a volunteer First Aider, working with a well-known First Aid charity to help out random people I've never met before (or, more usually, when) they hurt themselves. This typically involves walking briskly (never run...) around after people who are silly enough to do sports or some other suitably daft activity in their free time. In my spare time, I am a graduate engineer, working my way through a graduate scheme with a big engineering company.

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