Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current Arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an Arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author.
The winter term is almost over, and by this time I’ve already had the chance to incorporate most of the new knowledge and skill sets I learned over the course of my co-op position into my course work.
Having just recently completed my capstone project, I was given the opportunity to reflect on how co-op positions benefit Arts undergraduates both in the classroom and further into the future. Below are just a few of the many benefits I observed following the completion of my work terms.
Experience that can be used in classes
It goes without question that there is no substitute for receiving job-specific experience. Using the skills and knowledge obtained while on co-op has allowed me to produce better and more professional reports. It has also exposed me to new techniques and sources of information that I knew of, but didn’t know how to use or was never exposed to while in the classroom setting.
My co-op position has also provided me with a deeper insight into topics surrounding my profession – insight that I have since been able to use to contribute to class discussions.
Confirmation that you’re going down the right path
While my co-op position only reaffirmed my desire to remain along my chosen career path, other peers were thankful they had the opportunity to experience their profession. For a variety of different reasons, their positions brought them to the realization that their educational and general interest in a subject didn’t coincide with their career goals and expectations.
This is, however, one of the many reasons to take a co-op position, as it also lets you plan your future career goals. Discovering this while still in school may allow you to alter your studies to something more suitable or apply to post-graduate studies, such as an after-degree.
Narrowing down graduate school
In the case of my co-op position, this confirmation that I was on the correct career path allowed me to confidently narrow down my graduate studies applications, knowing that I would not be wasting two more years and thousands of dollars.
Being in a profession that has many different career paths, my co-op position exposed me to a variety of positions and projects. This provided me with more insight into various topics and gave me the opportunity to better formulate a thesis. Taking my co-op also gave me job experience, something that is highly regarded when applying to most graduate programs.
Materials for your portfolio
In previous posts I had mentioned that co-op positions may provide you with references and connections that could be useful when applying for positions in the future. However, an aspect of work experience that cannot be overlooked is the ability to add to your portfolio.
This is especially true for Arts students. Being able to show future employers real projects that you completed for real clients gives them a sense of what you are capable of. Over the course of my position, I was able to produce a variety of reports and graphics that could be used in a portfolio. Being able to produce quality work may set you apart from others when applying for jobs upon graduation.
For more information on work experience for Arts undergraduates, click here.
Wishing everyone the best of luck on their upcoming exams and co-op positions.