I still remember the very first day I worked at UWaterloo’s convocation. I had just wrapped up a co-op term at the Registrar’s Office and was provided with the opportunity to usher during the Spring 2012 convocation ceremonies. Eagerly, I arrived at 7:45 a.m., threw on a black gown at the beginning of my shift, and entered the gym when suddenly a rush of excitement and anxiety ran through my body, “when would my turn come?”
After repeatedly watching the ceremonies unfold for four years, I can finally say the wait is over. My turn to walk across that stage as a UWaterloo alumnus has officially come.
This month, I will be graduating from the Honours Psychology, Arts and Business Co-op program with a minor in Human Resources Management: a comprehensive degree that has allowed me to explore my various academic interests inside the classroom AND outside in the real world. In all honesty, stepping foot into multiple fields at first seemed pretty intimidating and difficult, but before I knew it, I was able to take part in business simulations, work with children, and draft HR recommendations in one day, all without tripping over my own two feet.
However, looking back at my time in university, if anyone were to ask me what I loved the most I would have to say co-op. Co-operative education assists graduates in developing a competitive edge against other alumni by providing them with invaluable work experience that employers seek. As a student enrolled in the world’s largest co-op program, I was fortunate enough to not only gain this experience, but have the opportunity to live and work in cities outside of Waterloo including Ottawa, Toronto, San Francisco, and Edmonton: all of which have provided me with a strong network, new friendships, and timeless memories.
Since reaching the end of my undergraduate course, I have continued to spend a great amount of time reflecting on the other sources of my success over the years. Getting good grades, “attempting” to develop effective study habits, and improving my interview skills for co-op jobs were undoubtedly key components that helped me get here. However, there were many more key players that have actively supported me throughout my accomplishments. Campus clubs kept me busy and engaged, Counseling Services provided me with support and insight, and Retail Services offered me a part-time job with flexibility. These outlets showed me that balancing a full course-load, self-care, a job, a social life, co-op interviews, and volunteering was possible with the help of others. With that in mind, I have one piece of advice: Try to make use of the resources you have available around you; they can take you a long way!
As my convocation approaches I am excited to be on the other side of things, and officially reach a new milestone in my life; one I can share with my friends, family, and classmates. And while I am eager to start a new chapter in my life and make my mark in this world as a UWaterloo alumnus (whether it be by volunteering abroad, or starting a new job), I will never forget that the University of Waterloo will always be a place that I can call home.