Chasing my career goals while on co-op

Monday, August 24, 2020
by Keidon G., S20 SAF Communications and External Relations Associate

Hello, my name is Keidon, and I am an undergraduate student in the Recreation and Sport Business program at the University of Waterloo. I have been a co-op student at the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) for two terms now! Fall 2019 term, and spring 2020. My official job title is communications and external relations associate, and the role requires me to help share stories and connect with people inside and outside the SAF. This involved projects like managing social media and web pages, as well as giving tours, and assisting with events.

My first term with SAF was a completely new experience that forced me to step out of my comfort zone. For example, promoting the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program as a tour guide or at an event was a scary thought at first, but in the end, experiences like these were the best for my personal development. With SAF I gained knowledge and skills towards marketing and recruitment, which consists of communicating a message to potential users of a service, whether that is online (social media or web) or face-to-face (events or tours). I also gained expertise using the Adobe Creative Suite and the Waterloo Content Management System (WCMS).

This previous experience at SAF prepared me for the drastic change that was soon to come in my second term this spring. The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to work from home the entire term, which created challenges that I had to overcome. In a virtual setting, I was stripped of face-to-face interactions with my six teammates, three of whom I never met before, so my ability to read their body language and facial expressions were hindered. This created a gray area when defining the standards of SAF, but because of my experience in the fall, and the incredible communication between all of my teammates, I was able to identify the behavior and norms expected in a work from home (WFH) setting and move forward.

There were also perks to this drastic change as well. When WFH, I felt in control of my job as I had the freedom to control when and where I worked throughout the day. This created a stress-free environment that raised my morale and allowed me to strengthen the quality of my work.

All in all, because of the in-office experience in my first co-op term, and the virtual experience in my second co-op term, I was able to acquire and strengthen the knowledge and skills needed in the marketing and communications field. Not only do these skills increase the quality of my resume, but they are transferable across many industries which will help me further chase my career goals!