Why every student should consider doing a co-op work term

laptop computer and monitor

Here is a picture of my remote work set up for my co-op term.

Guest post by Sarah Androsoff

Before coming into my first year at UVic, I had no idea what the co-op program was. My dad on the other hand seemed to know everything about it.

My dad kept blabbering in my ear, “UVic has a great co-op.” I nodded with confusion as an image of a gas station instantly popped into my head. I don’t even have a car, why was my dad telling me about co-op?

After doing research and learning about what co-op actually was, I was immediately intrigued. Having the opportunity to do a paid work term relating to my field of study sounded like the best of both worlds.

woman using laptop computer

Here is a picture of me working in my remote set up, catching up on some emails.

I’m in the Writing program at UVic and the goal after University is to become a writer for a magazine. For me to achieve this goal, doing a co-op work term felt like a necessary step I needed to take (and I was right).

This past summer I was offered a position from May to August. I got hired as a Communications and Marketing Assistant with UVic Co-op and Career Services. I was ecstatic to be offered a co-op job, but I felt immediate butterflies in my stomach as this was my first job in a professional workplace. On top of that, having to do my first co-op remotely made the butterflies in my stomach even bigger.

Other than having a technical issue with my work laptop on the first day, my co-op experience has been incredible. After my first week in my co-op I quickly came to realize that as a co-op student, your employers don’t expect perfection, they want to support you every step of the way. They want you to learn and build new skills that you can use for career exploration after school.

laptop computer showing a video editing project

For my co-op term I helped organize Info Day, which is an event for students to attend to learn more information about co-op. Here I am working on editing some videos for Info Day.

From my co-op I learned so much from taking on communication projects, event planning and social media management. I’ve gained skills in organization, time management, public speaking, writing and editing.

I’m now in my last month of my co-op term and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I’ve adapted so much to working full time and have built great professional relationships with my co-workers. This co-op term is one I’ll definitely won’t forget and will always be thankful for.

woman holding laptop computer showing UVic web page

A huge part of my co-op role was managing the Co-op and Career social media accounts. Here is me crafting a social media post to go out on Facebook and Twitter.

I believe every student should do at least one co-op during their degree at UVic. There are two main reasons why co-op is beneficial to everyone, no matter what you’re studying.

First, it gives you valuable work experience that helps prepare you for future jobs after university. My job has prepared me for a professional environment and improved my abilities as a writer.

Secondly, you gain numerous skills that you can apply to your studies. Doing a co-op has gave me more confidence than ever going into my third year at UVic. I have learned how to stay organized and manage my time with overlapping projects.

If you’re are interested in doing a co-op make sure to attend Info Day this upcoming fall on September 13th. At Info Day you can join virtual sessions to learn more details about your programs co-op. You can network with your co-op coordinator to get answers you may have and discover what co-op can look like for you.

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