Aseel Osman, a 1B Nanotechnology Engineering student, shares her co-op experience as a Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate student in the Digital Bootcamp stream during a VUCA (Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex, Ambiguous) time.
What did a day in the life of a WE Accelerate student look like?
A typical day as a WE Accelerate student was great. Yes, it was fast-paced, but everything was spaced out nicely. I enjoyed my summer while simultaneously learning new things. The WE Accelerate program is 3 months long, involves a career and skill curriculum and a final project. Before we dove into the skills curriculum, we had a week focusing on our career development, presentations that highlighted healthy routines and the importance of self-care. During the skills development portion of WE Accelerate, the day began with modules that we’d go through and ended with an assignment to work on with our team or an exam to earn a certificate. My favourite part was when we would have a guest speaker share their day-to-day life experience using the skills we were currently developing in our stream, which happened every other week.
On a regular day, during the project portion of the program, my teammates and I would meet in the morning to discuss what needed to get done that day or week to reach our weekly deadlines. We would work independently and then share opinions or lend a helping hand when needed. I worked on helping the website rank higher in search engines using what we learned about SEO. I also got to edit a short 30 second marketing video, which I’ve learned is something I enjoy doing!
What kind of project experience did you end up working on?
My team and I were presented with many options and created our top five list of projects we’d like to work on. One that would include every teammate’s interest, whether they focused on the social media aspect or the web design and SEO portion of the Digital Bootcamp stream. The project we chose involved redesigning an already existing website and optimizing it for multiple search engines. We also had tasks involving video editing and creating a local marketing campaign! Three of the four deliverables involved skills I’d recently learned through WE Accelerate so I was excited to put my newly gained skills to work. Crazy to think only 3 months ago I had no idea how to do any of these.
Do you feel better prepared for your next co-op work term after WE Accelerate?
Yes! When applying to jobs during my 1B term, I was disheartened by the lack of interviews I had landed. But my parents told me, “You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Finding a job now during the pandemic is hard for those with the skills and experience, let alone someone like you with absolutely no prior work experience.” At that moment, I knew I needed to invest in myself to better aid my future.
I not only walked out with new skills on my résumé but also certificates to prove it. I remember being so happy to finally understand what some of the terms in the job descriptions meant, as they felt alien to me before. I learned to be more comfortable speaking in online meetings, got to work on a group project and made friends.
"Joining WE Accelerate was the best decision
I've made this summer!"