This summer I completed my first and only co-op term with the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance. For this work term, I worked as the SAF’s communications & media associate. My co-op term, like most students this summer, was virtual and included many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I had to move back home from Waterloo, finish my winter study term online, continue my spring term course online, and then sadly, had to complete my spring co-op work term virtually.
Moving back home was a massive change for me considering I had been independent and living in Waterloo for the last three years. It was a new challenge to be working and studying at home alongside my parents and younger sister. Both my parents were also mandated to work from home, so finding space – mentally and physically – to get work done was extremely difficult. I do count myself as being very lucky because some students actually lost their internships and co-op placements due to COVID-19.
When the pandemic hit, students like me were just completing their winter terms. This was stressful for a number of reasons:
- We had no idea what was going to happen with our courses,
- We had no idea what was going on with our exams, and
- We did not know if we were ever going to be able to return to campus safely.
I received approval from my spring work term manager to allow me to take a French course online to finish my language requirements for my program. I found that with a work from home situation for my co-op work term, it made completing my online course easier to manage. Overall, I felt that the online course did not interfere with the responsibilities I had for my co-op work term and am happy that I ended up doing very well in the course.
There were many processes and strategies that I learned to help make working from home easier. I created a routine for myself, added alarms to make sure I would take breaks, and get back to work and I always made sure I was asleep by eleven-thirty every night. These three strategies really helped me stay organized and manage my time to the best of my ability. This co-op term was not exactly what I expected but it turned out to be the best part of my summer!