Undergraduate Student

3A Applied Mathematics, 
Biology Option, Co-op

Favourite Co-op Job:
Computer science course developer, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Waterloo

Kingston, ON

UWaterloo Hip Hop club, intramural handball, intramural volleyball, co-editor for Conrad Grebal residence newspaper, and Math ambassador

Chrissy is a third year Applied Mathematics co-op student at the University of Waterloo. Always interested in the applications of mathematics to the real world, Chrissy has found a perfect fit for her in the Applied Mathematics program. Through co-op, Chrissy has been able to experience first hand the applications of classroom learning to a variety of real world situations.

Why Waterloo?

The University of Waterloo has kind of been a family tradition for me. I am part of the second generation of my family to come to Waterloo and the third person total. Although this was a big pull factor for me, I also loved the “togetherness” and the community feel of campus from the second I arrived. Two big factors in my decision to come the University of Waterloo were the co-op program and the math programs offered here. The co-op program is one of a kind and it’s reputation really stood out to me. Not many other universities even offer a BMath, and that was really important to me.

Why did you pick your program? How did you know it was right for you?

I’ve always loved math but I wanted to apply what I learned to other fields and not just do math for the sake of doing math. I wanted to see how math could apply to the world around us, so Applied Mathematics was a perfect fit for me.

I know that it was the right choice for me because I’m in third year and I still get excited about what we are learning. I still love teaching others why math is great.

What is your favourite thing about co-op?

My favourite thing about co-op is the new people that you meet. First off it's great for networking and finding future jobs, maybe future co-op terms or maybe even after university. It's also really good for learning different work methods, different skills, and how to apply them to the knowledge you learn in the classroom. I find (especially being in math), that sometimes it's hard to relate what you're doing in lectures to what you will be doing in your career in the real world. But co-op is an introduction to how to apply all of these skills to the work force and to new experiences. 

What is one thing you wish you knew before your first co-op?

Before my first co-op, I wish I would have known some tricks to be productive throughout the workday. I had never had a full time office job before, and as a student we work rather sporadically at varying intensities. On co-op, you're expected to be productive for eight hours a day, and that was very difficult for me at first. I wish I had known all of the services available to me as well. Going into co-op I felt like a gold fish in the ocean, all by myself. But after a while, I struggled to learn that I was in a whole school of fish that were in the same situation, and there was a lot of guidance if we needed any help, with almost anything co-op related. 

What is your plan for after university?

After university, I would like to explore Applied Mathematics in different places and research around the world. The job opportunities are limitless, and I want to get out there and see how we can apply mathematics all over the globe.

What advice do you have for new co-op students?

To new co-op students, I would advise them that there might look like there is a lot of work, but it is all manageable on top of school work. If you devote a little bit of time every week to doing something towards your co-op, like volunteering to put on your resume, looking at interview tips, or getting someone to critique your resume, then you'll be a step ahead when it comes to the job search. Resources are available throughout the year, and I would strongly recommend you use them. The staff at the Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA) are extremely friendly, and you'll never know everything they have to offer in terms of knowledge and advice if you never go find out. It's an extremely underused resource that prepares you for the real world.

University of Waterloo

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