Priyanka Saha, a second-year international student pursuing Computer Science under the Faculty of Math shares the difficulties in finding the first co-op amidst Covid-19 pandemic.
Being an international student with less exposure to real world affairs and lacking adequate experience, it was not easy for me to create resume and cover letters for applying to jobs in Waterloo Works. With the covid-19 pandemic, many employers during interviews used to show less enthusiasm to proceed forward with my application.
I started to feel unsuccessful after not getting matched in the first two cycles, and so I decided to travel 11000km to reach Canada from Bangladesh. Although staying away from family and living on my own for the first time, I did not lose hope and stayed persistent with job search. Eventually, in the continuous round, I got the opportunity to leverage my skills in web development, design and digital communications as a Web Assistant for the Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) team at the University of Waterloo.
"I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me."
As a Web Assistant, I routinely assisted the Digital Experience team of Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) by supporting the content management system of the various CEE websites, including the look, navigation, user interface and functionality of each website. My task also comprised of planning and publishing materials on the CEE websites for stakeholders including students, prospective employers, current employers, alumni, and faculty and staff.
I was able to work on a pre-site migration project which included filtering out unpublished images and files from webpages, checking the sites for drafts, and fixing numerous broken links.
While I was on co-op, I had completed two core courses (CS 245 and STAT 230) of my program. If someone is wondering how I managed time, I used GoodNotes5 app and Notion app to help me stay organized! Highly recommend!
Since it's my first time in Canada, I use the weekends to explore new places, play volleyball with friends, and go hiking. I also worked on a few side-projects as well as focused on my blog in Medium and showcased my web design works in Behance. I also dedicated some time to UW Marketing Association where I served as a Web Design Director.
As I was staying away from my family, I tried to talk with them virtually every day during the lunch breaks to stay connected. I routinely communicated with my high school friends as well.
I agree it is challenging to find the first co-op but trust me, once you get the job, you will forget that pain because the joy of working in a new setting and gaining experience outweighs everything. The skills developed in co-ops is simply not possible in an academic setting. So, to stay on top, grab a pen and paper and draft your resume right now!
It was a great experience working for the University of Waterloo and honestly, I never thought I would get this opportunity so quickly! Now, I am looking forward to applying all the skills I learned this work term in my future co-ops in other organizations. I am also leaning forward with curiosity to explore the versatility of Computer Science and discover new applications of emerging technologies and expand my social responsibility skills.
Lastly, I'm excited for the Fall 2021 term because I'll be an Orientation Leader, and I'll get to mentor incoming students and help them experience a better first year in University! :)