Here’s how my story begins: a little over a year ago I was at a bar for my friend’s birthday when I met a girl. No, we didn’t fall in love, but after talking for a while I realized that she had graduated with the same major that I’m currently in (Communication). This is how the next part of the conversation went:
Me: “So, did you get a job when you graduated?”
Her: “Yeah. Are you in Co-op?”
Me: “Nope.” *takes a sip*
Her: “Well, unless you want to work at Starbucks after you graduate, you’d better look into the Co-op program.”
Me: “……” *anxiously takes a big gulp*
Twelve hours, an Advil and maybe more than one microwave burrito later, I had a flashback (ormaybe a hallucination) of the conversation I had the night before. Laying horizontally in bed, I reached for my phone and typed “SFU co-op” into Google with my thumbs. It turned out that I had about a week to meet the application deadline.
Fast forward to the present: I’m well hydrated, not in bed, and writing this blog from a corporate office in Downtown Vancouver. At my old job a year ago, I would have been asking questions like “do you want to substitute your fries for soup or a salad?” These days, I ask questions like “who is the intended audience of this document?”
Miraculously through Co-op, I’ve landed an internship at SAP as a “Communication Specialist”. My position is diverse, challenging, and a complete 180 degree turn from anything I’ve ever done before. I never thought I could offer anything of use to a tech company without a computer science background, but it turns out, writing code isn’t the only thing people do in tech!
If you’ve never been in a tech office, you really should try to see one. The office space isn’t just a dimly lit room with endless rows of desks; at SAP, the colours are vibrant, and there are tons of collaborative workspaces where you can even write on the walls (not to mention the games room, wellness rooms and as much free coffee as you can drink).
So here’s my takeaway from Co-op so far: if you’re thinking about applying, give it a shot. I’m developing a ton of skills that I would’ve never had the opportunity to apply in the classroom. And more importantly, I won’t be applying for a job after graduation trying to convince an employer that my experience working at a restaurant makes me an eligible candidate!