Work hard right from the beginning

Nickie smilingNickie Senthil Kumar, a second-year Honours Environment, Resources and Sustainability (ERS) student with a minor in Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo, shares a glimpse of her first work term.

My first co-op experience:

Over the past eight months, I had the opportunity to work as the Social Media Campaign Coordinator for Cooperative and Experiential Education (CEE) at the University of Waterloo. 

During my time at CEE, I had the chance to launch a brand-new campaign called #MyCoopExperience (actually, the blog you are reading right now is part of that). This campaign gave me the chance to conduct student interviews from different faculties, write stories about student's experiences and schedule Instagram Takeovers.

This campaign has been something I have been heavily involved in since I started my work term in January. The goal of this campaign is to highlight a range of co-op jobs and unique experiences. When students share their stories, I ask them to be their true authentic selves, where they not only share their successes, but also the struggles they face as co-op students. 

My responsibilities:

When starting the interview process at the beginning of the term, I was extremely nervous because it was my first time conducting interviews.

After a couple of interviews, I realized I could relate to many of their experiences and feelings as I am a co-op student just like them! This allowed further conversation and was a rewarding learning experience for me.

I also had the opportunity to talk to several faculty relations managers who would connect me to students in different programs within their faculty.

I would ask students about their job search process, any co-op highlights, their experience working from home and any tips or advice for incoming first-year students. 

Nickie smiling by the CN Tower

Nickie smiling at lakekshore beach

Keeping your well-being in check:

During your work term, you may be burnt out and drained. Which is okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, try to accept the fact that you are growing and be proud of your growth. Co-op can be a stressful and challenging journey at times, but I think it is equally as important to keep your mental health and well-being in check. 

Something I like to do during my free time is dance. I’ve been dancing since I was five and my passion and love for dance continues to grow. Try to find a hobby or do something that makes you happy, whether it’s going for a walk, cooking, reading/writing or playing a sport. Not only are you doing something healthy for your mind and soul, but it will also help you have a balanced life!

A piece of advice for co-op students:
Always work hard right from the beginning and try to leave good impressions as you go throughout your co-op terms. You never know what it may lead to! My first work term ended up being an 8-month work term because I always made sure to produce quality work and submit my work ahead of deadlines. Be willing to take on new initiatives, be creative, work hard and most importantly have fun during your work terms! 

What’s next?

I loved working for an educational institution, and it has always been my dream to work for a schooling system. I now want to apply the knowledge I have gained and work for organizations and the government. My goal is to contribute to an education system and work somewhere where I am constantly inspired and inspiring others!

Nickie smiling with halloween decorations in a farm

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