Day In The Life Of A Placement Student | Research Assistant

an article on Sophie's Spot all about what it is like being on placement as a research assistant.

Back towards the first couple of months of the year, I wrote a post about my typical day as an astrophysics student. Instead today I thought it might, hopefully, be interesting to continue that mini-series of a day in the life, with my day in the life of a placement student. In particular the Day of a research assistant.


My days typically start at 6.50am with my alarm going off to tell me to actually get out of bed after I've been snoozing in and out of sleep for the last 50 minutes. With actually being out of bed now, it's time to get ready.

I start with breakfast, just whichever cereal I've got in, and making my lunch. Which recently has been a cheese bagel and a pot of fruit, grapes bananas and oranges this week. I honestly need to be more creative with my lunch but at 7am I'd rather just put together what I've been putting together for the last couple of months.

Once lunch is made I make my way back up the three flights of stairs in the townhouse to my room and bathroom. I then do my skincare routine. I won't go into too much detail about that but if it would be of interest to see my full morning skincare routine let me know.

Next is to get changed and do my makeup. I kind of do these two in tangent since while I might let one stage of makeup set I sort out what I'm going to wear. At the moment my outfits seem to be pretty much the same to be rotation every week since though I have clothes I'd love to wear more often when I'm just sat in the office all day I'd rather choose comfort over cuteness. Asides from that I mainly base my outfits around what coat I will wear based on what the weather will do that day.

Once I'm ready, I head into work for 8.30am.

When I'm in work since I'm in earlier than a lot of people. I use the first half an hour to go over the code I was working on the day before to refresh it in my brain as well as fix anything that I ran out of time to do the day before. I don't usually run out of time, but quite often walking away from a piece of code will help new ideas form for parts you've been stuck on.

Once it hits 9am, I usually check my emails to see what my supervisor has sent me to do. Or email him myself to ask what is the next task. Majority of the work I have to do is writing code and then decoding it when it doesn't work. I don't have massive amounts of knowledge on writing code yet since I've only really done one semester worth of learning in it but I'm learning a lot on this placement even if after staring at the same bit of code for hours having no clue what's wrong with it. But nonetheless, programming is something I'm really considering in the future so it's great practice. Which in the end is what placement is for. To figure out if this is something you'd like to do in the future.

I don't have a typical work placement and I'm actually the first person to do this placement, so there is a lot of learning from both sides, and it doesn't have a set-out plan of things to do like you would get in other placements. But after a while, we've found a rhythm that works

After that my day pretty much rolls on until 4.30 going through the tasks set with a lunch break at 12.

Though my days are pretty similar everyday is slightly different depending which bit of research my supervisor wants to focus on.

With that my day finishes and I go back to my flat to get some blog work done or as the case is most nights watch Netflix until it's time to sleep and start the cycle again.

I'm unsure how to make this blog post any more exciting since to me when I'm working I just sit at a desk all day trying to write and fix code.

I'm going to write more placement year blog posts like Q'n'A style or focus on one point of it and was wondering if there was anything you'd like to know, such as how to get a placment etc?

Are you thinking of taking a placement year, working or study abroad?

- Sophie

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