3 Vital Reasons Why Co-op is Beneficial to Your Career Success

A Week Full of “Firsts”
Jasmine – 2nd year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

The End

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!

April Events at Conestoga

Each and every month Conestoga College host some amazing, unforgettable opportunities and events! Even with the school year beginning to wind down April is no exception! There is so much stuff happening at the college this coming month, that I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you all about it!

First of all, the Board of Directors elections are this coming week! The ballot will be emailed to your Conestoga account. It is super important not only to vote but also to talk to and research the candidates. The elected members really do have a large input on things that happen around the school! You can head over to the CSI website now to learn about the candidates and their platforms!

On April 3rd, CSI will be hosting an on-campus job fair. As someone who works multiple jobs on campus, I get so many questions as to how you get a job on campus, and let me tell you here is your opportunity! If you are a returning student in September make sure you check out this event because it is a really great place to find amazing employment for the school year! I have held a total of 5 different positions during my time at the College and I have loved every single one of them! I know there are a lot of positions that need to be filled so make sure you bring a resume and get out there!

Next, on April 5th, Bollywood Pub Night is happening once again at The Venue! This is one of the bigger events that Conestoga hosts and it ALWAYS sells out fast! It is only $5 a ticket and you can also bring a friend! This event is going to be a wonderful music filled party to end off your semester!

Last but not least, From April 8th – April 17th Exam Relief is happening on all of the Conestoga campuses! You can check out this event for free pizza and snacks as well as win some cool prizes on the spot! This event is well loved by many students and is sure to be a hit again this year! What a better way to take a study break than eating pizza and winning some free stuff!

This is only touching on a few of the awesome things happening at the college this month! It is obviously important to spend time studying for your exams but it never hurts to take a break and make some final memories before the year comes to a close!