CO-OP student of the month of March 2018
Program of study: Civil Engineering
CO-OP isn’t just about work opportunities — it gives you a chance to see the world through a new lens every single work term.
It allows you to take a break from school (courses, assignments, tests) to explore facets of yourself outside of academics. During this time, you get to explore and try new things. If it works, you keep it with you and if it doesn’t, you move on with the lessons you’ve learned, with minimal consequences. You get to test drive life without fully leaving the shelter of being a student.
During my CO-OP terms, I have lived out in the middle of nowhere in rural Ontario and I’ve lived in one of the busiest cities in the country, Vancouver. Both were experiences I learned a lot from. Would I go back to either of them? Not right away, but I’ve been able to sample it now, while I’m still a student, rather than later, when I’ve graduated and moving would entail more complications.
For my first placement, I relocated to be close to the construction site I was supervising, and was fully immersed in the project and the construction lifestyle. In my next placement, in Vancouver, I fully embraced the West Coast lifestyle, and it was unlike anything I’d ever done before. When you allow yourself to be immersed in a new setting you discover a new perspective.
Because of CO-OP, I was able to take on the role of editor-in-chief of the engineering students newspaper, the Iron Otis, and dedicate my time to making it a great publication. Through CO-OP work experiences, I learned how to manage my time, so I felt confident that I would be able to balance running the paper while completing courses or working full time.
In Vancouver, I took on a volunteer research position with a professor from Simon Fraser University, because I wanted to get a taste of research. While I was working at my “nine to five,” I knew I’d have time in the evenings to pursue ideas I had been contemplating but had never had the time to fulfill.
What you see and do during your work term can change your life. Each term you are exposed to a world that you didn’t know existed, and your growth in that time is exponential.