Third-year health studies student Maisha Adil shares her co-op experience and tips on how to stay motivated on your work term.
Maisha Adil, a third-year health studies student at the University of Waterloo is building towards her career goals by working amongst two workspaces she loves. She has worked with Trillium Health Partners as a project analyst and at Hoffman-La Roche Limited as a business systems analyst during her past co-op work terms.
Maisha says, “Working as a business systems analyst at Roche was really exciting. I was working where health care and technology meets people.” This opportunity has allowed Maisha to explore her career interests and realize her admiration towards the health space as well as the technology space. When Maisha came into the health studies program, she knew she liked the health care space, but she wasn’t too sure where she fit in exactly. She knew there were several possibilities and options, but she had to find out what she was passionate about and what she enjoyed doing. Exploring health informatics, health technology and project management in her first co-op term has allowed her to realize that this is the field she is passionate about.
What challenges did you have on your co-op work term?
“One of the things that I personally experienced, especially towards the beginning of my work terms, was the sense of impostor syndrome, and I think this is something that students feel often even when they're just starting in university, and wondering, like am I really supposed to be here? Why was I the one who is chosen? Do I really know what I need to do to be good at this job, and how do I know I fit in with a company? So personally, I found that that was a little bit difficult, but I think, going hand in hand with that impostor syndrome piece is also just comparing yourself to other people. It's really hard not to compare yourself when you know you're seeing people post about their internships and their experiences, and you're wondering. There's always going to be someone who has more experience than me, and that's OK. But it's more important to focus on what I like and what I'm good at, and I think communicating those things to an employer is just as valuable.”
How do you keep yourself motivated while at work?
1. Celebrate small successes
“When you're working on a number of projects, sometimes you'll hit a milestone that might not be big for the company or for anyone else, but it could be meaningful for you. So, the first time that I was able to start and finish making a website, it was huge for me, and it was really nice because in terms of our workplace culture, people encouraged each other to share their successes. And so, when people finish the project, we were encouraged to show people and say, hey, I did this cool thing and I hope you will, you know celebrate it with me.”
2. Virtual Coffee Chats
“I found that when I knew the people I was working with it was really nice to come to work, even though I was in my bedroom. It was really nice when you know someone beyond what their job title is and learn about their interests”
3. Pursuing new opportunities
“If I see something that is cool, and I would like to participate I do my best to ask, or take that first step and say ‘hey I think this is interesting.’ In general, I think that finding something that really speaks to you at work helps you feel a lot more motivated and it makes waking up for work really nice.”
"Be kind to yourself, co-op is a really stressful experience especially because work terms are really uncertain right now with the pandemic and things are changing left and right."