Finding your first job is hard...but it gets easier

Hameedat smiling outside in a parking lotHameedat Busari, a 4A Economics student at the University of Waterloo, shares some of her highlights and challenges of her co-ops during the pandemic! 

How has working remotely changed your lifestyle?

"It has allowed me to communicate better with my managers and colleagues. You can't run into people when working remotely. So, you have to actively reach out to build those relationships. Also, it has changed my views on waking up early. Before COVID, I dreaded waking up and commuting to work. But, with working remotely, I realized that I am more productive in the morning and can get a lot done."

What has been the most challenging thing about co-op?

"Finding a job. I would say finding my first job was hard and I feel like it's something that we don't really talk about. I had one interview during the first round, and I didn't get the job. Then during future cycles, I made sure to keep applying. Not having a job is not normalized. It's usually not the easiest for you to get a job when it’s your first job. But, I would advise you to utilize all the resources CEE provides - including the resume critiques and speaking to an advisor. They really assisted me!” 

“Also, I want to emphasize the point that it might be hard to get your first co-op job, but it gets easier along the road. Once you get that experience, it gets easier. Another thing about co-op is that it lets you know what you like, and what you don't like.” 

Hameedat smiling by flowers

Headshot of Hameedat

How do you deal with stressful situations during your co-op term?

“The first thing I usually like to do whenever I feel like I'm getting stressed is to go on a walk. I just like to step away from my laptop or take a step back and change my environment. I usually communicate and talk to my manager and let them know if I am having a stressful situation. Whenever I talk to somebody about something that's stressing me, it reduces the stress a little bit.” 


What are some highlights of your co-ops?

“When I was working for CEE, for the first four months, it was quite isolating, and I only talked to people on my team. Personally, I did not like it because I love social interactions and meeting people. I spoke to my manager about this. And, with her support, I was able to start a social committee and connect with other co-op students. We organized weekly events where we played games and just hung out. Despite all the craziness happening in the world, having a relaxed Friday evening was really nice. Another highlight is the contribution I was able to make to Waterloo students while working for CEE. I remember always feeling like, "wow, I'm helping other students like myself get a job". It was a very rewarding experience."  

“A highlight from my co-op as a Research Analyst at the Ontario Financing Authority was preparing materials sent to the Deputy Minister of Finance. It was great to learn that I was creating monthly summaries and briefing notes that were shared with them. This experience also allowed me to enhance my attention to detail skill.” 

What is next for you?

"I am currently completing my 4A term and very excited to graduate in June 2022. I am also completing my CFA exam next year and looking forward to starting my full-time investment banking position.”