Blogs, writing, action: Fatima’s experience

A photo of Fatima standing in front of a lakeHi everyone! My name is Fatima Muni and I am a third-year Arts and Business co-op student at Waterloo. I am excited to take you through my co-op journey working at Co-operative and Experential Education (CEE), and what I did during the eight months that I was there.  

Back in September of 2021 I started my role as Social Media Campaign Coordinator at the University of Waterloo, for Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) Business Services. Being given the opportunity to spend not one, but two of my co-op terms there, I was able to gain lots of new skills and learn many important lessons.  

The main project that I worked on during this period was the “#MyCo-opExperience” blog campaign, where I wrote multiple blogs on students’ co-op experiences. At long last I am now writing my own story to share on the blog, which I’m super thrilled about! Let me share with you a little bit about what the process of running this campaign looked like from behind-the-scenes: 

  1. I would first reach out to students (or students would reach out to us) through email.  
  2. If a student was interested, I would then schedule a time to interview them online (students also had the option to write their own blog if they preferred).  
  3. I would prepare a list of interview questions to ask the student, and would make sure to have a few questions that were specific to the student as well, as our goal was to share their story.  
  4. After the interview, I would take all of the information the student shared with me and create a blog that would focus on things like the highlights of their co-op, the main projects they worked on, some of the challenges they faced, and much more.  

This is just a brief overview of what I worked on, but of course there were some other projects I got to participate in as well. Some of these included writing Facebook and Instagram captions, designing and creating posts, producing video content, and so on.     

What kinds of challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? 

A photo of Fatima standing and smiling in a parking lot wearing a light purple hijab.Just like with any job, there were many challenges that I came across. One challenge that I faced when running this campaign was honestly just starting it. I had to pick up where everything was left off, which was quite difficult at first but I eventually got the hang of it, and not to mention it was a great learning experience. Another challenge that I faced was during my second co-op term with CEE. The first four months with them was more of a “practice” run for me, then my final four months was when everything really started moving quickly. I went from writing one blog to writing two blogs a week, interviewed more students, and was overall creating much more content. There were points where I was close to giving up, just because of how stressful and overwhelming things got sometimes, but always maintaining a positive mindset and understanding that these projects were my responsibility ultimately helped me overcome these challenges.   

What’s it like working at CEE? How did you get the job?  

I came across my job on good-old WaterlooWorks. It is easy to become discouraged throughout the job application process, I know I was many times. But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and that light for me was CEE. I saw the position title “Social Media Campaign Coordinator”, I read “social media” and I was already interested. After reviewing the details of the position, I submitted my application, got an interview, and thankfully landed the job. I was very grateful to get the position, and my time at CEE is one that I will never forget. CEE was a great place to work, where I was surrounded by a positive work environment and amazing people. My supervisor was super supportive and was always open to hearing any new ideas I had, and encouraged me to really step outside of my comfort zone. If you ever get an opportunity to work at CEE, go for it! 

Do you have any advice for other co-op students? 

A photo of Fatima standing and smiling with her arms wrapped around a tree.If I could give any advice to my fellow co-op students, it would be to never be afraid try ask questions and try something new. I know this sounds pretty cliché, but it’s something that is very important to understand. You are not going to know everything, and that’s totally okay! If you don’t understand something or need help, just ask. Co-op is not only a time for you to gain work experience but it’s a learning experience as well, asking questions is almost something expected if you think about. To touch on my second piece of advice, if you have the chance to work in a position that you never really thought of before or you’re given a project that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, take it because you never know where it can lead you.    

What’s next for you?  

I am currently on a study term and back at school. As I was basically out of school for eight months, it was a little difficult to get back into the habit of studying, but now I can confidently say that I almost got back into the swing of things. I am also starting to spend more time on some of my hobbies, specifically playing more basketball and doing art. Even though I am in school for the summer, I still want to try and enjoy life, because all humans need that. In the upcoming fall term I’ll be searching for my next co-op job, which I am a little nervous about, but I am excited to see where things go from here!