Matthew Olsen, a 3B Honours Arts and Business student majoring in political science, specializing in global governance and minoring in public policy and administration talks about his passion towards political science during his co-op.
“I love to meet new people and talk to new people. It’s been exceptionally rewarding to meet a ton of amazing, bright, well versed people in tons of different industries and different experiences.”
Matthew spent his first co-op term at the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development under 2 teams: the technology adoption team and small business policy. Matthew enjoyed working there so much, he decided to go back to the same industry for his second co-op term, but worked for the foreign direct investment. Matthew then worked for the University of Waterloo as a senior online learning assistant where he worked under the department of English. He then worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force for the flight deck innovation lab. So cool! Since then, Matthew has joined the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario as a policy analyst.
What has been the most challenging thing about co-op?
“Adapting to jumping quickly into a new work experience is challenging. No matter how many work experiences you have and no matter how comfortable you feel in a certain area. Getting to know a new team and getting to quickly adjust into a new role is always kind of mentally demanding. It can feel a little bit uncomfortable. A little bit awkward,” Matthew says.
“You're not really sure exactly how to start, so I'd say every time I've been on a co-op term it's been a challenge, it's been an exciting challenge though, because more often than not team members are way more than willing to help you get integrated and kind of help you learn the culture of the team.”
“Co-op has helped me narrow down what I like, what I’m interested in, what I don’t like and what I’d like to learn more about.”
How do you think working at the National Defence has helped you develop yourself?
Matthew says, “I think it's kind of pushed me to take initiative on a lot of things and is pushing me to really think critically about how we can do things more efficiently and effectively. The point of our team is to kind of breakdown barriers that present themselves within the public sector and within the military. Things can sometimes be quite bureaucratic and very slow moving. So, I think it's kind of allowed me to develop my critical thinking.”