Today marks the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week- exactly the motivation I needed to get my bum in gear and write about my thoughts/feelings/experiences of my apprenticeship again!
To start, I thought I’d answer what is probably my most frequently asked question on the topic: “Erm, like, how does it actually work?”
I totally get it. Before I looked into applying, all I knew was that you work a full-time job but get a degree or something equivalent at the same time. To me, that sounded impossible and really bloody impressive!
I’ve mentioned it before, but an average week to me is split by a day spent at home- at the moment that day is a Tuesday. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I work 9ish to 5ish.
On my study days, what I do depends on where I am in relation to my deadlines, but I’m normally found at my desk, or at the library, reading my textbook that breaks down Public Relations theory, researching case studies, stats or research (the textbook is a teensy bit out of date!) and writing up assignments- I have freedom over how I actually present what I’ve learnt, so more recently I’ve been experimenting with videos rather than essays.
So, when I tell whoever it is that that’s “how it works”, there’s a typical follow-up question: “You mean, you don’t have classmates? A teacher?”
I kind of have a teacher- my assessor. We meet once a month and talk on the phone weekly. She marks everything I submit, gives me suggestions, improvements and recommendations, but apart from that I am an independent learner.
For me, this works amazingly. If I could, I would have done my entire education from home! It has been a bit of a learning curve though; to go from classrooms of 25 people, multiple teachers I could speak to at any point for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and the routine of school took a bit of an adjustment.
So, after that incredibly wordy introduction, here are my top tips for dealing with becoming an independent learner or home worker:
- Have a routine. Super obvious but you work best when you’ve got a routine. For me, that’s waking up as I would on a work day, eating an okayish breakfast, and either going to the library or my desk to spend the day doing all the bits I mentioned earlier. I have an hour or so for lunch and then tend to work till dinner!
- Kind of similar, but get dressed. This seems crazy because part of the joy of working from home is staying in your pyjamas but, seriously, get up, showered and dressed. Something about starting the day like this just makes you much more productive from the get-go.
- Find some friends. Talk to people. As lovely as it is not having to deal with crowded corridors and class clowns, it can get lonely not having people to talk to. When you’re at school, you can spend your lunch with a group of people that just had the same boring class and all hate the workload as much as you do. Most of the time, making a joke about one of your lessons, or sharing your grievances on a more serious note, will make you feel so much better. One of the things I struggled with was the fact that I don’t have that support network around me, so I made the network. I’m looking forward to an event with people doing the same course as me, and my BFF, who is also an apprentice that studies in a college, and I are always comparing our experiences.
- Get your work-space in check. My desk at work is almost entirely bare, while my desk at home is covered in books and trinkets. I’m sure you’ve heard it a billion times but you’ll be at your most productive at an organised desk.
- Get cute stationery. I wouldn’t be a true ‘lifestyle blogger’ if I didn’t mention, at least once, the importance of aesthetically pleasing notebooks! I have a notebook for every single aspect of my life (work, studying, health, random thoughts and lists, blogging…). I’ve been told I over-do it slightly but I can’t emphasise how helpful it is!
Do you have any other tips for working from home? Share them in the comments below, and I’ll be back later this week with more apprenticeship chat!