For some of us, doing a co-op term is the very first time we work full time in a corporate environment. When starting my first co-op work term, I found myself very focused on learning the logistics of my job so that I could have a successful work term. Now, reflecting on the last 8 months of co-op, I realized that there are so many other things that I have learnt about the working world that I did not know when I first started my co-op work term. In this blog, I have summarized some of the things I learnt that I hope can help you too.
Sleep As Much As You Can
Transitioning from going to school, where class schedules were flexible, to working five days a week is something that was difficult for me because it meant that I would have to be strict about my sleeping schedule. No more binge-watching Netflix till 2 AM! It is super important to make sure you go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep to be able to perform well at work. Not only that but if you sleep well, you’ll be able to get up at an appropriate time in the morning and make it to work on time. Unlike school, in the real world, you can’t get away with showing up half an hour late to your shift.
Believe it or not, office politics is a very real thing and it is possible that this is something that you might experience during your co-op. In such situations, it is important to not get too involved in the gossip and it is best to avoid unnecessary conversations before you are in too deep. If you feel that the negative work atmosphere is too much for you and it is seriously affecting your performance at work, then don’t be afraid to reach out for help! The co-op department is great in such situations and they will help you come up with a plan to resolve any issues you are facing. Although this is something you wouldn’t want to experience during your co-op term, sometimes it does happen but as students, we should try and use it all as a learning experience.
Plan out Your Days
At the beginning of my work term, I was so excited about all the free time that I had after work because I didn’t have to worry about assignments, quizzes, or exams. Having this freedom was very new for me and I would plan different activities to do every day after work. Eventually, I found this to be very exhausting because, after a full day at work, I was out again. Eventually, I learned to plan my days better, keeping a healthy balance of socializing with some ‘me’ time reserved for myself, after work. Sometimes you just need to have some time for yourself to relax and recharge for another day at work.
Pack Your Own Lunch
And finally, my last tip is about saving some of your hard-earned cash. A good way to save money during your co-op term is to pack your own lunch because buying lunch every day can quickly add up. To keep up with this, it would be best to pack your lunch the night before, so that you can quickly grab it and go in the morning. Preparing your lunches beforehand will also encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle! Of course, it’s okay to buy lunch here and there but if you want to save up money then this would be a great way to start.