Being proactive in co-op

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
by Shashwat M., SAF student

The importance of reaching out and asking your employer questions

Photo of Shashwat

Hi, I’m Shashwat, a School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) student and I was on my first co-op term during Winter 2021. Boy was it a weird time to be working! I was working as a Financial Analyst at a Data Analytics company and some of my responsibilities included developing financial performance projections and preparing the financial statements for year-end.

While this was definitely not how I imagined my first co-op experience to be, it has taught me valuable lessons that I hope will help learn something and maybe offer some peace of mind for all those of you who are nervous about your future co-ops. (P.S. I’ve been there!!) 

Lesson 1

Ask questions. This being my first co-op term, I wanted to impress my employers and I thought that meant knowing everything and never asking questions. But on only my second day, I realized how wrong that was. Asking questions allowed me to learn from people who have a wealth of experience under their belt. Not only did I pick up a ton of tips and tricks that made me faster and more productive, but I also realized that the more I asked the more I learned which is what I am there to do in the first place. I also learned that asking questions shows to your employer that you are taking your work seriously and are invested in what you are doing.

Lesson 2

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Understandably, during this time you feel stressed and worried, but I have learned that you don’t have to deal with this alone. During the entire co-op process, from applying to jobs to actually working, I learned to lean on the University of Waterloo community resources provided. The University has a multitude of resources to help make this period as easy and stress-free as possible – use them. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

And lastly, when you’re feeling stressed, turn to a hobby you enjoy. For me, there is nothing that playing a little Call of Duty can’t solve — I find it the ultimate decompressor.