My name is Erika, and I will be attending Conestoga College this fall as a first year
student. I am passionate about the world of business, particularly finance, and will be spending the summer working full-time in an accounting role.
This summer, for me, is undoubtedly an important one. No matter if you graduated high
school a few weeks or years ago – there is much to do and to prepare prior to your first day of college. There are a handful of to-dos that an incoming college student should begin to focus on before embarking on their exciting college journey! Utilize the following as a guide to plan your own preparation, and you’re on your way to a successful first year.
- Register and access Conestoga’s Student Portal. This can be done with your designated student number listed in your acceptance email. The Student Portal is where your Student Fee invoices will be posted. Ensure to keep track of the
payment due dates, as well.
- Follow Conestoga’s social media platforms, and check them regularly. By reading
this blog, you are already doing so – well done! In this day and age, social media is
the key to getting involved and staying updated. Conestoga’s social media accounts
are where you will find regular updates throughout the summer, as well as the
school year, that you don’t want to miss. Including tips and to-do’s to get ready for
- Score an internship, or a summer job! If you’re an ambitious student looking to get
ahead in your career, check out internship openings in your area. While its perfectly normal to head into college without experience in your chosen field, a position before college can help to give you that edge that employers are looking for. If you are unable to find a job in your field of study, don’t worry! Any experience is great experience. The summer before college is a primetime to gain work experience and begin to save.
- Go school supplies shopping. With the excitement that beginning college brings, it’s
easy to forget about the classes and homework that will be coming along with it.
Don’t be that person nervously asking to borrow a pencil on the first day of classes
because you were unprepared!
- Speaking of school supplies, ensure that you check your programs requirements on
Conestoga’s Bring Your Own Device page. Once on the page, click on the hyperlink
for the time frame your program is to begin. Here, you should see your program
listed, and a ‘better’ and ‘best’ option should be listed for your devices.
For general questions regarding Conestoga’s Bring Your Own Device Program,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tour the Campus. Whether it’s Waterloo, Doon, or Cambridge, it never hurts to
become a little more familiar with the space. After doing so, you’ll be surprised how
well you’ll already know your way around on the first day! If you are new to the city itself, spend some time touring the area, as well.
- Register for Conestoga’s Orientation! Watch for the orientation schedule on
Conestoga’s website, which includes important information on parking, textbooks,
and various services offered at the college. Orientation information will be mailed
out to you prior to the start of your first semester. Begin the exciting path toward
your career by attending this orientation day!
- Read up on current Conestoga College students’ advice (Hey, would you look at that!
You’re already a step ahead by doing so.) College bloggers, alike the ones on Think
Conestoga’s Blog and YouTube Channel, are here to help you succeed by sharing
their own stories and tips.
I am excited to embark on my Conestoga College journey, and keep you updated. Please
feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me! Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your summer, as well!
For us students, our life is dominated by school, we really only have 2 seasons until we graduate. There is season #1 which is school, and season #2 which is school. Just saying the word “summer” makes me giddy, and I always associate this word with the word fun. That’s what summer is essentially supposed to be for us students. However, we can still have fun and also ensure that we are using our summer productively.
Gain Experience Outside of the Classroom.
You probably have a goal beyond college, or a profession you’re working towards, or even a dream job you want to have. So why not get ahead, be productive, and fast-track yourself? Allow yourself to achieve your goals sooner by gaining experience outside of the classroom while you have time to do so. This could be taking a summer course online.
You can never have enough experience, and summer is the perfect time to get ahead of yourself, test your limits, and fill your days with productive activities that will benefit you as a student.
Summer is your opportunity to experience new things. That could mean a new culture, new cuisine, new scenery, new fashion, maybe even new countries? Yes, that’s right… summer is for travelling! As a student, this is the perfect time to take that vacation you have been wishing for. You finally have the chance now, so take advantage.
Travelling doesn’t have to be going to a different country. To travel means to start a new journey, typically for a certain period of time. You can travel to a new city or a local waterfall. Just get out of the house and enjoy somewhere new.
Travelling is good for the mind, body and soul. It allows you to open your mind to many different aspects of life, and can even go as far as changing the way you view the world. What I am trying to say is that it is good for you, especially when you feel like you’re going down an unproductive route. I mean… how is travelling not productive?
Spend Time Working on Yourself
Nothing is more important than being content with yourself. This could be mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. And summer is the perfect time to work and accomplish this. Working on yourself is never a bad thing, and it will only benefit you in the future – especially when it comes time to go back to school.
It isn’t my job, and I am not in the right position to tell you that you need to “work on yourself”, you could be perfectly fine. I just know how hard it is to be a student, and how easy it can be to lose yourself in the homework, assignments, presentations, exams etc.
Working on yourself can mean defining your goals, or making a bucket list for your future. It can mean reading more often to expand your knowledge and vocabulary. Building an exercise routine? Challenging yourself to learn a new skill? Meditate? These are all ways you can work on yourself and are extremely productive.
After reading all of this just remember that however you want to spend your summer it is completely up to you! Summer is supposed to be the time you can have fun.
As students we are working towards obtaining a high level of education, and after completing our education we will a start a new journey by finding a position in our specialized profession. Unfortunately, in some cases this means (or for some of us this means) our summertime will be limited, and the joy of summer will mean that much more to us.
So, don’t forget to have fun, but remember to stay productive and take advantage of the summer we have. Make lots of memories, and do things you can’t necessarily do during the school year.
My brief definition of what a College “Co-op” is: Co-op for me, and many others at Conestoga, is a paid placement where students are given the opportunity to mesh their classroom-based education with hands-on work experience. Depending on which program you’re in, you might get the opportunity to partake in a co-op(s) term during your school year, or throughout your summer break.
Co-op has changed the way I look at my future. It has opened my eyes to many different ideas, and potential career plans. I have also been able to enhance many skills that are mandatory for success in my current field of practice. I chose my program in particular because of the co-op option, and because I know without it – I wouldn’t fully be able to grasp what I will be doing for my long-term career, and the success I will have in it.
I am currently in the middle of my co-op term and have many things to say, the first is that co-op is very beneficial to your career success.
- Develop New Skills and Enhance Current One’s
My skills going into co-op have developed immensely throughout the process of my term. I have started to see skills I didn’t think I had, emerge every day. Most of the time in order to get my work done I had to use my current skills to the best of my knowledge to succeed, finish tasks, and adjust to the different work environment. I can confidentially say I am now more organized than ever, I can communicate much better than before, and my problem-solving skills have definitely advanced. I am now starting to develop office management skills, leadership skills, and many other transferable skills that I wasn’t the best at before. These skills are all relevant to have in the working world, and will take me far, the more I am able to enhance them.
- Practical Work Experience
I feel that this reason might beat all of the others as to why co-op is so beneficial to your career success. No matter what kind of co-op you have, or placement you’re under-going you will always gain practical work experience. I am exposed every day to workplace practices and procedures that I have never experienced before. Crucial to my success in my current field or for the future is actually getting hands-on experience doing tasks that someone in my dream position will be doing. I’m understanding the industry, and correct terminology. During your co-op it is only expected that you train yourself to adapt to your work environment along with the rules and procedures. This will only help you in the long run, because you’ll have a better idea of what your future will look like.
- Explore Your Career Options
Depending on where your co-op is, you most likely will be dealing with different business sectors, industries, and positions. During my co-op every day I feel like I am exposed to a little bit of everything. I do administration work, human resource work, customer service, graphic design, and even a little chemistry – this is because of my co-op placement. You get a chance to explore different career options as you are constantly given tasks that are related to your profession but also give you a taste of what other professions might look like. You are able to learn about other sectors and industries, and explore new practices that are relevant to your program. This allows you to decide whether or not you’re on the right track, or if you might be interested in other sectors.
Take that Co-op!
Co-op is a phenomenal experience, and teaches you so many things about yourself and the industry you’re wishing to pursue a career in. So far for me it has been life changing. I have gained many skills I didn’t have before, advanced the skills I developed during college, and tested my knowledge on so many levels. The co-op program expands your network, and allows you to practice what you’ve learned during school in a practical work environment. If you’re currently deciding whether to take that placement, or choose a program with a co-op… I strongly advise you to do so. It is beneficial to your career success and the future, you won’t regret it.
Wow, the semester is finally coming to a close. It has been quite a year. So much has happened in these last 8 months at College I don’t even know where to begin! I started this year not knowing what to expect, not knowing what the future was going to hold for me and having no idea where my life was going.
In September I had just returned from living in the USA. It was nice to get back into a routine, see my old friends again and let loose a little bit before school got too difficult. I also used that month to redesign my entire portfolio from scratch! I redid my resume and made a template for a cover letter which has really helped me out a lot. Through Conestoga, I was also able to work at the Welcome Back Concert which was a ton of fun!
Moving into October and November I was deep in school work, I got a lot done Student Success Week and was able to see a lot of friends. Later in November I also took a very spontaneous 4-day long weekend trip to Mexico. It was much needed, and gave me the perfect refresh before exams and the semester end!
Moving into December my exams went pretty smoothly, I felt I knew the content well and it showed. A lot of my friends also came home from their various college’s. The holidays were a little bit of a tough time for me as it was the first year without my grandma, but my family did what we could to enjoy them. I also took a lot of time during the break planning out my goals for this year. Many of which I am happy to say I have accomplished!
The new semester brought a whole new level of challenges. Courses such as Law and Finance were a bit of a struggle for me; a design student. However, I have been trying my hardest to do the best I can. January seemed like the month that never ended though. It seems school went full force as soon as week one hit. I had a ton of projects on short schedules. This month I also had a very important job interview and everyone in my class was starting to seek out co-op jobs. I was also able to work the Alessia Cara Welcome Back Winter Concert, which was once again a forgettable experience.
As fellow classmates began securing summer positions while I was left to wait until the end of February to learn that I would once again be moving back to Florida this summer! Besides this, February also threw some new friends my way and I could see the end of the year fast approaching. This was also when I injured my wrist and had to start my physio appointments, and I am happy to say I am now fully healed!
March was also project heavy. I booked trips for after the school year including a trip to Edmonton, Nashville, and Daytona Beach! I had some semester-long group projects that came to a close this month, which I was very happy about. With that, I also failed some tests that I should have studied harder on.
Moving into April a few of my classes have basically already finished, in fact, I am about to go write a final exam within an hour of me ending this post. I’ve started to really perfect my study habits and am happy to say I should be receiving my first 4.0 in a course this semester, possibly multiple of them! I have also finished all my shifts in the Food Bank and only have a few remaining in the Service Hub. My time with Think Conestoga this year is coming to a close as well. As work and classes end though I could not have more excitement as it leaves me a bit of extra time to spend with our new corgi poo puppy; Charlie.
Looking into the summer and the next few months, I fly out to Edmonton right after Easter, and leave for Orlando in just 3 weeks. After I come home in August, I will be so happy to re-bond with our puppy and take him on some crazy late summer adventures. I will also be starting co-op for the fall and be using all those skills I have learned over the last few years.
Overall, I am so amazed by how much has happened and changed over these 8 months and I cannot wait to see what the future brings!