University students are an interesting breed.  We are full of energy, ideas, a naive, inspired notion that we can change the world (and the desire to do it today), and the inexperience to match.  We go to school eight months of the year only to work landscaping jobs or fast food joints for the summer (or go traveling for the lucky few).  What if we had the chance to nurture our dreams and put our learning into practice all at the same time?

Co-operative education programs aren’t new.  Many universities have had them for decades but even now some students miss out on a great opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study.  In these programs students have the possibility of searching out temporary jobs in their field for decent pay and the security of knowing what they will be doing until the next semester.  Co-op programs today also help students with building resumes, working on interview skills, professional development in the workplace and classroom, financial aid, and of course getting students in contact with good employers.

See my posts about my Co-op term at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and with the City Goes to War Project at UVic here.

My first Co-op adviser at UVic (in the Humanities, Fine Arts, and Professional Writing department) Jen Kyffin had an eye for developing students into competent employees.  She has already helped me get one co-op at the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France and put up with a lot for the summer 2012 term.  She also tinkered with the usual Co-op format for students – who I should add are expected to perform to high academic standards in their workplace and in their term-end reports, reports that are supposed to be 15 pages of detail submitted within one month of returning to school.  Working with Fine Arts students who might not write long papers during the year, and Humanities students who write far too many long papers during the year, means that expectations should be different.  Jen, in her second year as co-op adviser in that department, searched for alternative ways to allow students to express themselves and show off their talents.

Jen asked me to try out a new method of work-term reporting: a blog.  I jumped at this opportunity because I already have this personal blog and I need reasons to practice my writing.  As a history and professional writing student I can handle long papers, but why add extra stress to the school year?  My goal with these posts will be to practice my writing (which is why there will likely be a lot of humour worked in) and to give my friends/family/readers a chance to experience the interesting world of Co-op through my eyes.  I am writing this in a personal style meant to show my emotions, interests, and even troubles as they arise in the hopes that other students will benefit from my experience.  This blog will also act as my work term report but has the added advantage of being written while the memories and experiences are fresh in my mind (and with pictures!).

Hope you enjoy the summer as much I am enjoying it already!  Now go sign up for co-op!

The views expressed in these blog posts are my own.  They do not reflect the beliefs or views of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria or the University of Victoria and its associated programs.  While accepted by both the Gallery and the UVic HFPW Co-op Department, this blog is written under my own initiative and prerogative.

5 responses to “@co-op

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