Prince George for a Newbie
“Don’t do this to yourself”, “What did you get yourself into!”, “You’re going to come crying back”, and “You’ll freeze to death” were some of the most common things I heard when I publicised my first co-op work term in Prince George in central British Columbia.
The young, scared international kid in me, who was still adjusting to a new country on her own, was obviously scared. But she had already signed the contract and there was no going back now!
Bags packed, nervousness kicked in, fear of not seeing her friends for a long time making her question everything… August was a crazy time.
As I flew to Prince George, I saw what people meant by “it’s in the middle of nowhere.” My very first experience being out and about had been of someone attempting theft in a mall. On moving into my room, I was warned that the neighbours are “alleged” drug-dealers. “Is there anything I’m not going to hate here?” is all I asked myself right before my first day to work.
I went to work a little early, a little over-prepared, and a little too nervous. With my head high, I walked in 30 minutes early and was cheerfully greeted by my CEO, Steven Findlay. First thoughts? “WOW, he must’ve had his coffee in the morning!”
I got a mini-tour of the office and started settling in. My training period went on for about two weeks and I realized I could not find reasons to complain. There was a city tour arranged for me, the office went out for lunches together, everyone seemed extremely friendly, and my life in Prince George was taking a turn!
I looked forward to a cheerful “Good Morning” from Steven every morning, to running into my coworkers while getting coffee, and the most beautiful and well-behaved Golden Retriever, Jasmine, who used to come to work every once in a while.
As I started working at Noratek Solutions Inc., I realized why I had chosen my program of software engineering. Every bad thing about this strange town was blurring out and being replaced by my amazing experiences at my company.
I was learning about new tools, techniques, working in a tech-heavy company, getting work done in time, and so much more! A supportive team with experienced supervisors teaching me something new every single day was exhilarating!
By the end of the work term, I considered these people as a special family of mine. A family that made me realize I’m on the right track! That I’m working towards what I want to do for the rest of my life. That I’m not going to regret my career plans. And that confidence was the most important thing to me.
A lot of universities don’t give this chance to their students, but I feel lucky to be at a place that made me certain of my decisions. I encourage students in every program to get the benefits of the amazing co-op program offered by the University of Victoria so they can also make sure they are choosing the career that moves them the most!