If anyone was following me last year, I was supposed to still be in my sunny, mountainous state of Colorado for another three months before returning to the Rochester winter.
I think that I got out of my first Co-op what RIT wants you to. Some basic experience, and some knowledge of where I might or might not want to work in the future. In this case, I learned that I don't think I want to enter to coal power plant industry. Don't get me wrong, I worked with a lot of great people and learned a lot about what it takes to be an engineer, but I just don't have a passion for it. I might think about entering the field of alternative energies.
I am glad that I got my first co-op under my belt and have some things to pad my resume with. Anyone in a Co-op requiring major will tell you that the first one is the hardest to get just because you don't have any experience on the job yet. This doesn't mean you WON'T find a co-op it just might mean that it will be with a smaller company and more on a take what you can get basis. The Co-op office makes sure that your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills are top notch and they even help you to find Co-ops if you are having trouble.
On that note, I am taking on a new volunteer job this quarter as a Student Ambassador in the Co-op and Career Services Office. This will give me opportunities to be on student panels for employers, escort employers around campus, and learn more about the Co-op office and its opportunities. Stay tuned for more on that around career fair time!
Coming back to MY personal co-op experience, I'll admit I was a little scared to go to the career fair last year and so I just accepted the offer I had at home from the previous year to return to the power plant. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have sold myself short and the worst that could have come from the career fair would have been no extra job offers, and the best: more options of places to co-op. I don't regret my somewhat "safe" decision to return home, but this summer I took it all in and realized it would probably be my last full summer there. I am ready to take the wonderful opportunity that the Co-op program offers to live in many different places and experience many different types of companies and industries. As much as I would have loved to stay in Colorado for another three months, I need to experience other places and it probably was the better choice for my class schedule too.
On that note, be flexible with Co-ops and take the chances to experience living other places and working with other people because you won't ever have the chance to again. Living at home and working a Co-op might be the "safe" or "easy" choice, but I challenge you to push yourself during your time at RIT to test yourself and go outside of your comfort zone.
I am currently looking for biomedical Co-ops in Boston...keep your fingers crossed and look for updates on my twitter RIT_Megan
, facebook, and foursquare page.