4 things to know before starting your placement year.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I finished my placement at the end of June 2013, aged 20. I tried my best to write regular updates because the whole aim of this blog was to give an unbiased and ‘real’ review of experiences to help other students who might go through the same thing.

I talk quite openly that my own placement experience was a tough one. Although I am not sure if I’ve ever really addressed it on the blog. The challenges and difficulties were one of the reasons I didn’t summarise my 12 months.

*you can read my placement year series right here*

The events industry is very small, and whilst it can be constructive to talk about issues from events with the aim to help other improve, nothing is gained from only highlighting the negative aspects.

Whilst difficult I learnt more than I ever could have hoped during my placement year, it was only through that experience that I knew operations wasn’t the path for me. My skills lie elsewhere!

It was those 12 months that made me determined to challenge myself during my final year and apply for the Eventice (and we all know how much I value that experience), it was 2014 where I put more time into this blog and won the National Blog Award for the best Events blog!

As many of you might be about to start your own placement experience I wanted to give you a few piece of advice/pointers.

It is an actual job. 

Which means you will have to do some tasks that you might not enjoy and sometimes this can be incredibly hard. If you haven’t worked a 9 to 5 job 5 days a week before, along with weekend events, the first few months might take a lot out of you. I’m sorry if I start to sound like your mother but honestly, a routine will help make the mornings easier. Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to not go out on a school night – just try to get a few early(ish) nights in!

Mistakes happen to everyone. 

You will encounter days when you really don’t want to be there and you will, most likely, make some mistakes both big and small that will leave you doubting your own abilities. However, everyone makes mistakes, no matter what position or level people hold. And along with these days, you will also have some of the most exciting, rewarding and incredible ones.

You will gain an immense amount of knowledge and contacts, get to work on some incredible events and meet some of the nicest clients/colleagues/event professionals in the whole world – who will make doing the job one of the best!

Comparison gets you nowhere. 

The worst thing you can do on placement is to compare your experience to others! Everyone’s placement experience is different and whilst it may look like other people are having a better time with their placement you don’t know the level of responsibility they get or how they are treated within the company! Yes, they may get to work at a really cool well-known event – but doing what?

Seriously don’t worry about how others are getting on, concentrate on you.

Don’t let things fester. 

I think the hardest thing to do whilst on placement is to know how to deal with issues when they come up. In fact, this is still something I struggle with to this day. It is hard to tackle issues, especially when it involves people you work with daily.

This is most likely because you will never have had dealt with those type of issues before, plus they might be uncomfortable to talk about. My placement year involved some tough conversations about money I was owed after I left, and yes I still struggle with this today! BUT, with any problem you might face, you need to deal with it straight away. If you wait the problem with only grow bigger and cause you more stress.

Take the plunge and face the issue. It will never be as bad as you imagine!

Now if you’re about to start your placement year & are documenting it – please let me know! I really love reading these (a great example of a blog series is Cheyanne Dawson’s Placement Diary)

@BlogByKobrak – @ImDamnStudent  Facebook

How to embrace the commute to work!


Photo by Maria Molinero (via Unsplash)

Way back in January 2013 I wrote a post on ‘How to beat the boredom of the commute to work!‘ At the time I was travelling just shy of an hour each way to my placement office BUT if we fast forward 2 years I now spend 4 hours a day travelling to work.

Yes that’s right I did just say 4 hours.

2 hours in the morning & 2 hours in the evening!

I would also say that 40% of the overall 4 hours is spent standing up, pressed into strangers armpits. So excuse me when I step forward and say I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of ways to occupy time when commuting to work!

With this updated experience, and the fact we’re all now back commuting, I wanted to share a few ways that could alleviate the boredom of commuting.

Tracy Thomas

Photograph by Tracy Thomas

Catch up on catch-up TV

In 2013 I made the fatal error of making a ridiculous statement that watching TV on the commute to work just isn’t worth it. Today I would like to officially retract that statement!

Iplayer, 4OD & ITV Player will become your best BEST friend. I spend most mornings on the way to work either on Iplayer or catching up on the weekends F1 race!

The benefit I find to watching everything on my phone vs a larger tablet is that my phone is small enough to watch even when I’m pressed into a random strangers back on the tube! Something that unfortunately is a regular part of my journey to the office.

Jaelynn Castillo

Photograph by Jaelynn Castillo

Utilise the saying ‘There’s an App for that’ 

I fully fell in love with my iPhone when I realised I could read my kindle books & listen to audiobooks without having to reconnect to my computer or carry around extra tech devices! I was a few years late to the party but the amount of space you save from not having to carry about that brand new hard back copy of that best-selling novel has saved so much weight on my journeys!

sony headphones

Sony Headphone Advert (via Yosoh)

Invest in some good headphones

Please don’t be that person who watches something without wearing headphone and thus subjecting your fellow travellers to your terrible TV choices. Or even worst someone who listens to their music & full volume and with headphones that bleed sound!

A good pair of headphones will not only save your dignity when watching Rich Kids of Beverly Hills on the 7.55am train next to lots of people in business suites, but think of all the times you’ve been able to hear the base of a fellow commuters music. Nah mate not on!

Headphones also come in handy when you want to escape with some music (I was a previous Apple Music user – mainly so I could watch Taylor Swift’s documentary but have moved back to the ever superior Spotify!) Or alternatively listen to Stephen Fry read you the greatest book series of all time – Harry Potter (I’m current listening to the Prisoner of Azkaban as I type this!)


Photo by Evgen Ivanova (via The Kanken Street Kreep)

Purchase a backpack!

Now whilst theoretically you only need your phone, headphones and wallet to get to work – I’ve no doubt you currently use a giant bag filled with all manner of things (most you might have forgotten about)  this is where a backpack becomes your best friends, mainly because you can fit close to a kitchen sink in most & they are one of the easiest bags to travel with on the tube. That is if you remember to take them off your back!

Okay so a backpack might not be your cup of tea – really it is about having a solid and reliable bag that works for what you need it for! I am a daily user of Fjallraven’s Kanken bags (of which I owe three – 2 Mini & 1 Normal) and the reason my brother has started calling me Dora the Explorer. Something to do with being really short, wearing a pink jumper & carrying a tiny backpack!

Patrick Tomasso

Photo by Patrick Tomasso

Just take some time.

For some the type of journey I do to make it into the office is a step too far in terms of journey time. For me I value the time I get each morning, I enjoy the walks & the way I have been able to come quite familiar with certain stations & more of London. And it is that which made me appreciate my commute – being able to take some time before I have to check emails, actually enjoying a TV show or listening to a substantial amount of an audio-book, that time is really valuable!

Sure I would like to get home before 7.30pm & not have to wake up at 5.30am – but in the grand scheme of things I’ve learnt to adapt and enjoy they journey for what it is.

Just don’t talk to me about Thameslink or train delays!

So have you got any little tips for commuting to work?! Anyone a game users whilst on public transport – I’ve been thinking of opening up Animal Crossing again!?


@Imdamnstudent@blogbykobrakFacebook & Instagram

Fantastic Sh*t for Learning


Picture by NASA 🙂 (via Unsplash)

It has been a long time since I penned a post on the blog.

I did actually write a full long-winded entry back in October – that in the haze of pre-7am commute to work got deleted. My patience wore thin pretty quickly in trying to recover it. Then I go distracted by How to Get Away with Murder & The Apprentice.

Yes I really am embodying being 23 to its fullest!

In the same theme of pretending I have my shit together (which I definitely don’t!) I’m going to pretend that because it’s been a year since I graduated university I have some words of wisdom to pass on.

Although this post is nothing to do with graduation. Or advice. But I’ve started writing this on a Sunday night and I think my brain has finally given up! So ignoring my inability to coherently explain what this post is about – this is a post highlighting some COOL learning SH*T that I am obsessed with!

Now before you roll you eyes & click away to watch some more cat videos on YouTube, this ‘ain’t anything like ‘learning’ at Uni!

These are 4 things that I have been reading/listening/playing around with which have made me really engage and appreciated some of the incredible things people are doing.

The problem you sometimes face, both whilst at university & once graduated, is that you only take in content that is directly involved with what you are doing at that moment in time. So when writing an essay about Health and Safety at Festivals, you’re really only going to be looking at articles or books that explore H&S or Festivals. BUT if you took a step back and looked at H&S  within the context of live motor racing or even further afield into a manufacturing plant – you will start to notice processes and areas that have not yet been adapted or understood by those in festival H&S.

Looking outside of the bubble of one topic area or interest can hold great value in enhancing and developing your own thinking, and that’s why I want to share these 4 fantastic resources with you!

Wired mags

First things first – WIRED Magazine UK

The only resource on my list that cost money (but their website is 100% free!) I started reading Wired Magazine on a regular basis back in September. Prior to that it had been a website which had often came up when I was researching for pitches, but it is really amazing because it looking into many different industries and topic. The magazine, for me, encompasses everything I am interested in – technology, innovation, science, businesses, lifestyle! For example I’ve learnt about the company BioMASON & how Ginger Doisier (CEO) is created bricks that are grown from micro-organisms, a process that could dramatically reduce carbon omissions.

I have always been interested in hearing what other people do, both in terms of their work and interests, because I love to hear about things people are passionate about. I love hearing about things I just don’t have the knowledge or experience in. I wish I understood more about science and computing, I wish I was innovative enough to come up with some of the incredible and impressive things people are creating and changing about the world! And whilst I might not have the skills or knowledge in these areas, that great thing is that Wired enables me to understand a little more than I did before.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Now onto my FAVOURITE podcast Distraction Pieces Podcast with Scroobius Pip

I’m not even exaggerating when I say this is a FANTASTIC podcast. It is literally amazing!

I would say this is more entertainment focused than the other three things, but fundamentally Pip interviews a different person each week from people like Simon Pegg through to Greenpeace! He includes quite a range of people, many who I’ve personally not heard of before, or never previously had a big interest in BUT that is what makes this podcast so great.

His interviews are in-depth, interesting and bring forward a lot of things you might not previously have known! One of my favourites was the Frank Carter interview – a musician I hadn’t heard of before, who doesn’t fit my normal musical tastes, but who’s interview was really interesting! So I hands down recommend that you go and give a few of these a listen!!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And a close second – From Scratch

On the same theme with Podcasts I am a massive MASSIVE fan of Jessica Harris’s From Scratch. Whilst a ton more business orientated than Distraction Pieces, this offers an insight into how successful businesses are created! The amazing and interesting people/companies I have found via this is astronomical, and at 30 minutes they are a great one for short journeys.

If you are entrepreneurial or just want to hear about how cool things are created – then this podcast is well worth a listen!!


Picture by Markus Spiske (via Unsplash)

and finally Codecademy 

This one is a personal favourite! It is also site that came highly recommended by loads & loads of people when I first expressed an interested in learning Code!

If the name didn’t give it away this is a free website that teaches you how to code – I’m currently learning HTML & CSS but there are so many different Coding languages you can learn via the site! And did I mention it is FREE and incredibly EASY to use!?

I had tried a few different apps and online courses before I started using Codecademy and this trumps all of them by a mile! The simple customer journey and ease of learning makes it one of the best and because it is broken down into simple manageable chunks – you can easily spend as little as 10 minutes a day on it!

So there you have it,  just a few cool things to get you thinking (& learning!)

I kinda feel like I have a duty to share these resources, because whilst I’m happy to use them all on my own it only seems right to let you guys in on the secret! So please let me know if you check any of these out, or even better if you have a few suggestions of things I should be using/listening too –  I’m a big fan of podcasts (especially Serial) and websites/blogs!

Feel free to either leave suggestions in the comments or drop me a tweet (@imdamnstudent). And because it might be a while till you next see an update on the blog, a reminder that you can find me on Instagram and occasionally blogging over on The Olive Fox!