Bertie Kindersley studied at Oxford Brookes University and entered F3 develop’s intern scheme. Graduating this year he has returned to F3 develop as a full-time employee. In this week’s INSIGHTS he maps out the challenges in transitioning from student to professional life.
Following my successful placement last year with F3 develop, I returned to complete my degree in Construction Project Management at Oxford Brookes University. I was then offered a position back at F3 develop working as an Assistant Project / Commercial Manager which I accepted.
Moving from student life to work life is a significant step in most people’s lives. There is a much higher level of certainty for university students, from your lecture being at the same time each week to the wider picture of knowing how many years one will be at university.
One of the biggest differences is having a more structured routine in professional life, with the same set hours for work each day, leaving the evening free from work. This is in contrast to a less structured work schedule at university, where all the work is to be done on your own time, often leaving people feeling guilty for not working in the evenings.
Building relationships is something everyone does throughout their lives on a daily basis. At university you built friendships with people who you liked and had some form of relationship with your lecturers. Having a good relationship with your lecturers could help however, it was not essential for succeeding at university, all work submissions were anonymous so there was no bias in the marking. In professional life it is necessary to build relationships with people of all ages, interests and backgrounds, which is quite different to school and university friendships. Those with less experience socialising with a variety of people could find this to be a steep learning curve.
Whilst at university if your work is inadequate, it will usually only affect yourself in a negative way, even in group projects you are often graded as individuals. This lack of wider responsibility at university changes dramatically when in a professional environment. If your work is not up to the required standard, then you will be letting down not only yourself but your immediate team the potentially the reputation of the company. Greater accountability like this can often create a better work mentality.
Feedback for your work is conveyed through different mediums at university compared to professional life. At university it seems somewhat limited as it was mostly a grade on a piece of paper with varying length of comments depending on the lecturer. Compared to professional life where there are regular in person reviews of one’s work and progress. The reviews mean you receive better and clearer feedback as it can be questioned if you don’t understand, and solutions can start to be created. However, it can also lead to the feedback, especially negative feedback, seeming more personal in a face-to-face environment. Learning to accept feedback in a professional manner without taking it too personally is quite a large change to the usual feedback at university.