Skip to main content
Beedie School of Business › Marketing

empty
A person writing on a whiteboard.
Credit
Courtesy of Terae Walters
One of the biggest challenges during my 8-month co-op was to change my “night-owl” habits and adjust to working a 9-5.

I joined my first co-op placement at Delta-Q Technologies to learn more about marketing in hopes to narrow down what I wanted to do in the future. Coincidentally, Delta-Q’s vision is to charge the future and drive the world’s transition into electric energy. The company designs, tests, and manufactures robust battery chargers that improve the performance of their customer’s electric vehicles and industrial machines. These include electric scooters, drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, construction equipment, golf carts, and more.

While I was very excited to embark on my journey as a marketing co-op student, starting at a new job can be nerve-wracking. Learning about job responsibilities, adapting to the culture, and meeting new people is a substantial change, yet the most difficult aspect of transitioning from being a student to working full-time was letting go of the many student habits I have picked up over the years. Here are a few challenges I encountered as I joined my first co-op – which I’m sure many of you could also run into – and how I overcame them.

Night Owl vs. 9-5

One of the biggest challenges during my 8-month co-op was to change my “night-owl” habits and adjust to working a 9-5.

As a student, I always felt more productive attending classes during the day and working on assignments late at night. This posed an issue, as traditional working hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, and initially it was very difficult to be productive during the day. Like many, I could procrastinate for hours as a student and push off an assignment for later, but that’s not possible when working full-time. With time-sensitive tasks and trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance (which I’ll get to soon), working late at night is not an option.

So how did I transform from a night owl to an early bird? I didn’t. Instead, I found ways to mimic my previous habits and slowly adjust to working full-time. Slowly, attending meetings in the morning, using the Pomodoro technique of working 25 minutes and breaking for 5 to work on my tasks, and drinking lots of coffee helped me east into the fundamental change in my lifestyle. Over time, it became easier to work efficiently during the day.

Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

As a student, it can be very easy to disregard the balance between academics, extracurriculars, an occupation, and a social life.

Since Spring 2021, I have worked at Delta-Q, kept my part-time retail job, and joined a Beedie club in a web development role. I thought this would be easy to manage as I took a full course load along with my retail job and was part of extracurriculars in the past. However, swapping the full course load with a 9-5 job posed a bigger challenge than I thought. With the existing social limitations of the pandemic, it became increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance with my commitments. This helped me realize the importance of maintaining that balance throughout my career and as a student.

Burnout happens to the best of us, and your mental health should always be your main priority. As someone who enjoys staying busy, it was critical to remind myself to take breaks by being aware of my limitations and including time to relax throughout the week.

Accountability

Lastly, adjusting from a student mindset to a working mindset is a major adjustment!

It’s easy to shrug off a mistake as a student. If you forget to submit an assignment, you can recover your grade with another assignment or exam. Worst-case scenario, you can retake the course. However, when working a full-time job, you are accountable for your work and decisions. There’s no redo button.

How can you mitigate this? Stay organized! The Delta-Q Marketing team uses Monday.com, a project management tool, to keep track of ongoing projects and its tasks. Even a simple to-do list can help! This helped me tremendously when there were several ongoing projects, and, most importantly, when I was tasked to lead Delta-Q’s presence at a trade show in Europe. Had I not utilized Monday.com and my personal organization techniques, I could have overlooked certain responsibilities, which could have impacted or trade show presence negatively.

All in all, co-op is a learning experience! Everyone will face different challenges adjusting to the transition of being a full-time student to a full-time employee. Identifying how you can truly prosper in your position can be difficult, but it adds to the already-advantageous co-op experience.

You Might Like These... Co-operative Education

Courtney smiles next to a caption that reads, "Courtney Novotny during her work term with Health Canada".
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

How do Communications Co-op jobs differ between federal departments? Read all about Courtney's experiences as she compares her first co-op with Health Canada to her second co-op with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Korea
International Spotlight: Korea

Bordered by China, Russia, and separated from Japan by the Korea Strait, Korea makes for a strong international hub of Asia.

Iris at her workstation in the lab
Student Spotlight: Iris Eom

The OLC talks to Iris Eom, 3rd year MBB, Computing Science joint major. Keep reading to learn about her experience at the UBC James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre at St. Paul's Hospital.

You Might Like These... Career Exploration

Mik Ho photo is one of the photo spots in Korea
Real Talk: Is an International Co-op Worth It?

You have seen the emails, read the posters, heard the presentations. The question remains, is International Co-op worth it? Is it worth the planning, cost, and time off-school? Well, you will have to continue reading to find out.

two girls sitting side-by-side, one frowning and the other smiling
Top 10: How NOT to Answer Interview Questions

You've likely received endless advice on how to prepare for an interview, and on just the right answers to give, so we're switching it up with 10 tips on how NOT to answer interview questions.

hong kong's night food market
Expose Yourself

Ever wondered what it would be like to work in Hong Kong? Yat Li shares with us in this 3-part series on his experience adapting to new cultural and professional norms and standards. Read about how he faced and overcame these challenges for a successful international Co-op placement.