By Ian Tecson, CPABC Douglas College Campus Ambassador
Have an open mind
What is probably the most important lesson I learned throughout my co-op is having an open mind. Working in a new environment, with different people, on varying tasks, you’re bound to learn a thing or two. Being open to different opportunities no matter how challenging it might be is crucial to having a fruitful co-op term. By having an open mind, you open new doors to possibilities, move outside your comfort zone, and explore your strengths and weaknesses. Also important to remember is that as a co-op, you’re likely to make mistakes. It’s natural because we don’t know everything. However, being open to criticism and feedback allows you to grow and learn from your mistakes. Remember, what you put in is what you get out. Input = output.
This is the perfect opportunity to make connections with as many people as possible. Beyond the hope of landing a full-time offer, networking becomes fruitful when you learn from the different people you work with. Everyday you will be exposed to people of different backgrounds, professions, and personalities, so make sure to work on your communication and teamwork skills. Networking also brings about an opportunity to make long lasting genuine relationships that goes beyond the physical boundaries of a company. Follow them on LinkedIn!
Taking initiative shows effort and willingness. Not only do managers love it, your peers will admire you for it too. More than that, taking initiative allows you to move outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself and grow as a person. During my co-op, I wanted to make sure the tasks I worked on became progressively challenging. If I felt that I could take on more, I asked. Taking initiative to ask questions when you’re unsure also shows humility. I’ve always tried to research on a problem or question I have first before asking for help.
If I could leave you with a few thoughts – what you put in is what you get. Make the most out of your co-op term. Learn as much as you can. Be open to challenges and criticisms. Have fun!