Fatima Khalid, a 3B student in public health minoring public policy admin and pursuing an option in aging studies talks about her first co-op experience by arranging her own job. Fatima has completed her first co-op term at Four Corners Health Care Centre as a Youth Service Project Worker by arranging her own job.
A note to first and second-year students:
“Don’t feel discouraged. It’s very challenging especially in the beginning of co-op. In your upcoming co-op terms, it becomes much easier to find a job.”
How do you think this co-op job has helped you develop yourself?
Fatima says, “the way that I found my job is because I used to volunteer for them throughout my high school career and I also worked for them the year before I started co-op. So I reached out to them when I started to feel like I was unsuccessful in getting a job on Waterloo Works. I feel like the way I developed as a person is by learning to use my connections. I learned to seek out to people and seek out people for help. Whether it was for advice or knowing more about a job."
"I feel like it developed this type of ideology in me that it's OK to ask for help. I think I should have done this earlier rather than waiting until like January. I should have probably done it back in September or like October. The worst that could happen if you reach out to someone for a job is they could say “no” but that’s OK. It developed me as a person because I understood the importance of seeking help and seeking advice.”
What has been the most challenging thing about co-op?
Fatima explains the real struggles she had to face while she was arranging her job. She says, “I felt very discouraged in my first co-op term because of course, co-op is a very hard process. I feel like that kind of put me down a bit, and it was hard for me to get back up. Especially because when I did arrange my own job in the first match, I ended up getting the job by February. I ended up getting my job a month later than my original co-op work term start date. I had to understand that I was in a time constraint. So, it became very challenging and especially because we are all new to it at first."
"People might be getting interviews around you and it becomes very stressful. At the start, it is challenging. I feel like later on, it just gets so much better, and I think that is the main thing for first and second years to keep in mind. You have to apply on your own. In addition to WaterlooWorks, students should also make sure they look elsewhere and keep their options open. It does get much easier, it’s just challenging at first.”