Learning to Excel During Co-op

Finding a co-op after a long and nerve-wracking journey can be a huge relief. You now have 6 months to prove to your boss that you can take direction and go above and beyond. If you want to excel on your co-op, read these simple tricks of the trade:

1. Learn how to prioritize and multi-task: Your bosses and co-workers will ask you to do a million different things at once, and each task will have different deadlines and levels of importance. Write down everything you are asked to do, and then prioritize those tasks so that nothing slips past you.

2. Make the first few days count: Not only will you be meeting everyone at work but you will receive directions on how to complete your job responsibilities…talk about information overload! Make sure to take notes throughout the whole process so you have something to reference while you’re still learning, and go into your first few days expecting it to be crazy. Being realistic with yourself will make your co-op seem less overwhelming from the very start.

3. Track your responsibilities: 6 months may seem like a short amount of time until you’re trying to think back on what you did during your first month at co-op! Make it a point to write down your different responsibilities and projects that you complete so that you can see how your responsibilities evolved and hopefully grew throughout your co-op. Then, when your next round of co-op interviews come around, you can easily pull from your experiences.

4. Don’t be afraid to talk to the “higher-ups”: The people who have been with your company the longest are the ones with the exciting experiences and words of wisdom. Don’t let their title intimidate you- they will be flattered that you are interested in hearing about them.

5. Ask how you’re doing: It’s important to know how you’re performing at your job so if you’re not hearing any feedback or constructive criticism, ask!

6. Have confidence: It can be easy to constantly worry if you’re doing a good enough job or living up to other co-op students’ performance levels. At the end of the day, as long as you’re doing your best work with a positive attitude, your co-workers will love having you around the office for your personality AND your work ethic.

– Courtney Byer, member

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