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Navigating Your First CO-OP Work Term

Man smiling at his first day at work

I have been reflecting on my first work term as part of the CO-OP program. I have learned so much in my second year of university, it’s crazy. This summer especially has been a continuous path of learning and I am going to tell you all about it here.

The Beginning

When the process of finding my placement began in the winter, I had no idea if I wanted to work at my current place of employment full-time in the summer or go through the selection process and find a different job. It was a pretty stressful time because I literally thought, “This decision will define the next year of my life!” Which is drastic, but I think we all find ourselves in situations like this sometimes.

The staff at the CO-OP office were understanding of my situation. I still looked through the jobs on the navigator and even interviewed for some. While it was a helpful experience, in the end I decided to stay at my current place of work for the summer. If you found your own placement, that’s great, brownie points to you! This independence means you are capable of finding your own job, which will come in very handy in the future.

The Experience

I started working at seoplus+, an Ottawa-based digital marketing agency, in December and by the time summer rolled around I felt at home and welcomed. In the beginning of the work term I started in my new position - Jr. Digital Marketing Specialist. What does that mean? Well, I was in charge of social media campaigns for multiple different clients, worked on Google My Business listings, and was responsible for uploading blog posts to WordPress websites.

Throughout my placement I was able to hone not only technical skills of digital marketing, but also my ability of working with my team on a daily, full-time basis. Adjusting to a 40-hour week from a regular term of courses at university is not an easy feat, but to me it brought a welcome routine and allowed me to plan out my time better. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to fix my sleep schedule and learn how to properly meal prep.

The End

Overall, this first work term has started off on a bit of a stressful note, but once all the logistics were settled I was happy to find myself going to work every day. What made my CO-OP a memorable experience was exactly that - the fact I wanted to be there. I made an effort to befriend my coworkers, to participate in team lunches and webinars, and to take on new tasks if the opportunity presented itself. Also, in every job there will be elements that you love doing and elements that you do not, and that’s okay! Strive to find something you enjoy and work to implement it more and more into your work day.

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s okay to take a non-traditional approach.
  • Make sure you are making a decision that will make you happy.
  • Consider all alternatives, and their pros and cons to avoid making biased decisions.
  • Make an effort while at work, it could make the difference between a temp-job and a career move. 
Sonya Gankina

Sonya Gankina

3rd Year Marketing Student
Guest Blog Contributor