“The best thing you can do in university is go on a placement.”
Meet Corina Cristea. She’s 23, originally from Romania and studies BSc (Hons) Digital Media at Edinburgh Napier University. We met up with her to find out more about two placements she completed last year; one with Age Scotland as a paid creative charity project and the other with Helixion, a banking software company.
First she filled us in on all the details of her placements.
“The first one (for Age Scotland), they wanted a very classic animation. A cartoon version and a motion graphic version. Both of them were quite simple really, because the target market needed to understand it, and the target market was the elderly so you don’t want it to be too confusing. I had a chat with Lindsay Morgan at the Placement Office and she was very helpful. I had ideas for the projects, so I got involved with the charity. Thinking back, it was a decent project. It was good for the portfolio, and if it’s good for the portfolio, it’s good overall!”
“The second placement, it was a bigger one. It was a three month paid placement, and I’m still actually working for them, it was with Helixion down in the west end. At that time I needed to pay rent, and a lot of shopping was overdue!
In digital media- which is highly competitive- it’s vital to have as much experience as possible when applying for the top jobs. Corina says she’s happiest the placements she did gave her the chance to build a professional portfolio.
“In my field, you can have a CV full of stuff, but that doesn’t really tell the employer anything, because they want to see what you’re capable of. So you need a showreel. If you can show diversity as well, it’s a big plus. You have to show you’re good in all the things you say you’re good in. Examples of your work, it’s essential. What I did in my placements definitely go into the portfolio, and hopefully that will eventually land me a bigger job!”
We ask all the student’s featured on the blog why they chose to do a placement in the first place. For Corina, going on a placement gave her the chance to push herself.
“If you feel like you’ve finished something and it’s done with, then I don’t think you show improvement. If you’ve finished your work and there’s still some things that you would change, then it shows why you’re doing the project. You improve yourself and you get to another level from where you started it. If by the end of the project you’re not that happy with it and you feel you could have taken it much further, then that’s a good thing! It means that for the next one, you’ll have more stuff to include. It’s just the process.”
“I can see a difference, though. Usually I’m not that happy at the end, but now I’m starting to be a little bit more happy. I can see a huge improvement in my videos and my work. I think the pressure of being in a work environment and constantly being evaluated by someone is huge. It really challenges you.”
To end the interview, we asked Corina the same thing we’ve been asking all the students we’ve met; sum up the placement you did in just three words.
“Freedom, I guess. Fun.... ehm (smiling)... And challenging as well.”