During my first term of university, a few friends talked me into transferring into the co-op program. I’m going to be honest here: at the time, the main reason why I agreed was so that I would be able to graduate with them five years later. I didn’t fully understand what I was getting into or how it would impact me post-graduation. As I stumbled my way through countless job applications, nerve-wracking interviews, and rewarding work terms, I came to appreciate just how valuable my co-op experience was.
For me, co-op was an opportunity to explore new places, meet exciting people, and test out career paths without the long-term commitment and expectations of a permanent full-time job. Some highlights of mine include:
Of course, each person’s experience will be vastly different; we each have our own goals and preferences, not to mention the external factors that we may have no control over. As cliché as it is, this is what helps us grow and overcome challenges. And speaking of challenges, there certainly were many! If you’re like first-year-me and wish you had some advice, read on for some pointers I picked up along the way.
As with most things, it may be a bit scary in the beginning, but you’ll be glad you did it! Being a co-op student introduces a new perspective on your studies; you’re able to see how you can apply your course teachings to your job, and vice versa. Five years ago, I had no idea the impact that FOMO and an impulse decision would have on my entire undergraduate experience. Graduating with a more holistic resume and a clearer idea of what kind of career I wanted to pursue made stepping out into the real world a lot less daunting. Having established connections certainly didn’t hurt either. I would highly recommend co-op to anyone interested in participating in a work/study program!
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.