What's it like to be an Arts & Science (A & S) co-op student at U of T Scarborough (UTSC)?
4th year, Computer Science co-op student and Co-op Students' Association (CSA) president
Work Terms at: Environment Canada; IBM Canada; CIBC
A: Being in the A & S Co-op program has tremendously impacted my personality both in professional and personal life. In the beginning it seemed like a huge hurdle to get my resume finished and prepare for mock interviews. However, it was well worth the effort. The preparation leading up to the interviews helped me to ace the interview and successfully secure the placement. My secret to success? I made sure that I'm always working hard, especially before the first work term when I didn’t have any strong experience. It was critical to get guidance from my co-op advisor and work on it. That way it helped me later on when I had to edit my resume with the new experience. I would edit it myself and send the new resume over to my co-op advisor which saved me a lot of time before applying for the next work term.
I picked the Computer Science co-op program due to its high demand and opportunities available in the GTA. It’s a great program to be in; you learn about new technologies and the important foundations such as algorithms and data structures. However, working alongside my degree amplified my in-class experience towards my work experience and vice-versa. After returning from work term I felt much more confident in the CS courses. Through my work experience, I could easily relate the challenges I faced with my fellow colleagues and professors and work towards better solutions. Overall, it helped me examine problems from a whole new perspective. I am confident that my work experience will definitely help me in applying for full time positions once I graduate. In fact, it’s quite easy to approach your previous employers and find a job in the same company. If not for the co-op program at UTSC, I wouldn’t have earned so much valuable work experience.
4th year Chemistry co-op student
Work terms at: Centennial College; NOVA Chemical
A: The co-op program at UTSC gave me the opportunity to work as a math and science tutor at Centennial College, and as a research technologist at NOVA Chemicals in Calgary. Both positions were challenging, rewarding and fun. If I could do it again, I would not change a thing. Both of these unique roles confirmed my undivided love for chemistry and have revealed potential career paths that I had never considered before. My advice to a student entering the co-op program is to allot time for extra-curricular activities that you enjoy and learn from. These activities will expand your communications and networking skills. Every person you meet has a story. Don’t hesitate to ask about their career paths.
4th year, Cell & Molecular Biology co-op student
Work Terms at: Environment Canada; Hospital for Sick Kids
A: My experience as a Science co-op student at UTSC has been incredible! I am a senior Cell & Molecular Biology Specialist (co-op) student, fascinated by cells and cellular research. I chose to get into the co-op stream in my first year, after hearing many positive reviews, and attending the How to get into co-op session offered by the CSA and the co-op department. From the start, the co-op coordinators have been very supportive; their guidance was present not only during my work term but also consistently through my study terms and it made my co-op experience all the more meaningful and pleasant!
With co-op, I did not feel like another number; it was a very inclusive and fun experience where I got to know my coordinators and fellow peers over my years at UTSC. Further, co-op enabled me to form strong professional networks outside of campus with employers and working professionals. Hence, graduating from the program, I feel confident and prepared to go into the job market. I feel that the co-op experience is really what you make of it. Hence, my advice to students entering co-op is to take the initiative to connect and network! Get to know your co-op coordinators, employers and other working professionals in your setting well.
This is a challenging program with significant long-term rewards. If you are someone who wants practical skills and are willing to put in the work, co-op will help you reach your goals. It not only gives you an opportunity to apply your learning in the workplace, but also a shines a light on where your talents can develop into careers that you may not have been aware even existed.
I had the opportunity to combine my passion for cities and culture with the experience of working at the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA); as a result, learned that my program can be applied to several fields outside of the traditional city planning career path. During my work term, I put my research skills to good use and worked with the route manager to tease out high-level trends based on the cultural ties between cities as well as geography-based statistics. This helped to create new and stronger connections between destinations around the world.