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By: Kamal Rajab
There are many available resources on campus that can help aid students feeling overwhelmed about the co-op process. The Information Centre (IC) located in the Tatham Centre (TC) is one of the many resources on campus that provides immediate and practical co-op information, referrals and solutions to students, alumni, staff, parents, employers and the public.
Mia Weston, one of the employees at the IC desk, states that “a key role of IC staff is to be a friendly frontline face to the various stakeholders of Co-operative Education (CE), specifically students, employers, and UW staff.” According to Mia, this often includes addressing any co-op related inquiries or concerns, day-of-interview processes, and providing direction to the appropriate people, that co-op has available.
The IC staff feels an intense energy during the interview season. Let’s face it, during the fourth week of an academic semester, school can get pretty stressful. Balancing school, co-op applications, and our social lives can be very daunting.
Mia was once a UWaterloo co-op student who has also experienced the co-op process. After working at TC for a few years and having been through the co-op process, she is familiar with how to navigate the co-op process and cope with stressful situations. Some tips include:
Make Lists – Having everything written down takes any stressful tasks/deadlines and puts it on paper and out of your head. This allows you to visualize your “plan of attack” which makes for a more productive day.
Friends/Support System – Connecting with people can always take some weight off of your shoulders. An outside opinion might allow you to realize that whatever is going on isn’t as unmanageable as you think it is.
Seek out Nature or Change of Environment – Changing your environment every once in a while, when studying or prepping for interviews, can help you to return feeling refreshed. Going for a walk or even taking a little break to watch some Netflix may have a positive impact on your motivation to get things done.
Compassion – Self-compassion is something everyone needs to teach themselves. Having self-love and realizing no one is perfect all the time is key.
It is evident that the IC offers a wide variety of services to UWaterloo students. Specifically, two services that Mia mentioned which a lot of students are unaware of is the assistance with business cards and the availability of study rooms in TC. The IC desk provides business cards for all students for an affordable price. Your name, program, and contact information can be listed on a sleek looking UWaterloo business card. They can become a great asset for networking and provide you with an opportunity to stand out in an interview. During the months when rooms are not being occupied by co-op interviews, students can reserve study rooms with the IC desk. These rooms are quiet, very spacious, and contain whiteboards as study tools.
University and co-op can be stressful, there is no question about it. Taking the appropriate steps to get the information you need, even stopping by the IC, could help you have a great university experience. Multi-tasking is never easy, but being prepared and managing your day-to-day tasks can help you tackle whatever situations the term may bring. The Co-operative Education department, and the university as a whole, has a great deal of information and resources available to help you navigate these situations. Sometimes by taking the initiative to dig around, or simply ask the right people, seemly big obstacles can shrink in size. Next time your feeling overwhelmed try following at least one of the steps that Mia had mentioned to help cope with stressful situations, it may help lighten the load. Having been a student previously, Mia would constantly reminded herself, “Don’t expect yourself to be 100%, 100% of the time…you are doing your best and that is enough”.
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