The preparations for placement can take bit of time and planning. But there’s a payoff – you get to experience the fun, dynamic, intense and often life-affirming joys of placement. This is a glimpse into a possible future and it’s something to be excited about!
Connect to your supports
It’s vital to line up your supports before you need them. Nurture your connections with friends, family and others in your cohort on the same journey. Find things that bring moments of joy to your day. It could be pets, plants or activities like the gym, meditation, touching grass, gaming, streaming, whatever. Find that thing that’s just for you. Remember, it’s important to nurture your mental wellness when you are feeling good but reach out for more support when you need it.
Get your affairs in order
Your placement may require you to relocate for some time, so you will have to consider your current paid work commitments, accommodation, income and expenses while you are away. Start saving now and apply for any Financial Assistance you may be eligible for. Ensure you’ve completed all your mandatory training well before placement.
Get ready to be jabbed repeatedly
If you’re going on a medical placement, you will need to get several vaccinations and boosters for a range of things; the hepatitis A + B vaccine schedule alone is at least 6 months for the 3 doses. You will need to provide proof of vaccination via documents or blood tests. The most streamlined service available is through the University Medical Centre at Callaghan Campus. They will be able to make sure you are properly vaccinated and complete the necessary documentation in the precise way that’s needed.
Pleasing the bureaucrats
This is where it gets a bit tricky. If your documents aren’t collated in the correct order
, or are/aren’t scanned in colour or your well-prepared email and documents bounce back because the email account is full – prepare for rejection. After you send your email with your documentation, it is generally 4-8 weeks before it’s actioned or you receive a reply. If that reply is you need to fix your documentation, even if it is a quick fix, your email will return to the bottom of the pile, to be actioned in 4-8 weeks. Get your verification documents in order ASAP, have someone else look over them before you send and then hope for the best.
Shake your fist at clouds
You are going to have setbacks. New strain of Covid? SONIA is bugging out, again? Vent! Shake your fist at the clouds, commiserate with your comrades over the process … it sucks but you gotta’ do, what you gotta’ do. Lament, weep, then come back and complete!
Practice radical acceptance
The term Radical Acceptance comes from DBT and ACT psychological treatment modalities, however its origins come from Buddhism. Essentially it is the art of accepting reality for what it is, acknowledging the pain of the moment, without causing undue suffering by ruminating and trying to change things that are impossible to change.
Remember Sisyphus, the guy cursed to push the boulder up the hill for eternity? Absurdist Philosopher Albert Camus asks us to think of Sisyphus happy – he knows that he’s in for a grind but he can recontextualise his tribulations and define his own meaning and happiness from the activity. Camus encourages us to see the absurdity of our own situations. Let’s own the absurdity of the placement prep process because we can’t change it.
The skills and knowledge you acquire, the chance to network with future peers, and getting a glimpse into a possible future make placement a priceless experience. Acknowledge the pain of the prep but be prepared for what could be some of the most rewarding experiences of your entire time at university. Enjoy the ride!