Past and Current Co-op Students Answer... “What is Working?"

Past and Current Co-op Students Answer... “What is Working?"

By: Tyler Morgenstern
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For most undergraduates, a co-op placement is a rare opportunity to escape the lecture hall and start working in the “real” corporate, professional, and managerial world. In the summer, one of the last things a potential co-op student would consider is taking a job on campus, but about six months ago, I did just that.

As a communication undergraduate with a strong academic and research focus, I found myself hesitant to apply for many of the jobs available through Symplicity. As interesting as marketing and public relations opportunities sounded, the opportunities and connections they provided likely wouldn’t have contributed to my long-term academic career goals of pursuing my Master’s and PhD. In turn, since January, I have been working as an outreach and community engagement assistant with the School of Communication, which has provided an ideal balance between professional skills and academic advancement.

In this position, I have worked as a public-service community educator in high schools across the Lower Mainland, pursued my own research interests with the support of my supervisor, worked across a number of professional, academic, and non-profit/activist communities to coordinate events and campaigns, and have even helped my supervisor revise selections from his forthcoming textbook. I have been able to experience all the professional duties required by corporate co-op jobs, while still developing my own academic portfolio, building a network of references for my graduate studies, and earning a number of opportunities for advancement within the academy as a research assistant and scholar. When it comes time to apply for a co-op position, don’t just make a mad dash downtown for its own sake. Consider taking positions on campus which offer you opportunities to combine what the academic and professional worlds have to offer.

Posted on September 02, 2010