Considering the balancing act, Academics during the Co-op program

I hope that everybody managed to survive the past freezing week of school/work!

Speaking of freeze, two weeks ago was the Antifreeze event here at the SU. It was funny how I managed to get more caught up with SU events by working over here. It was great to see many groups of students with competitive and spirit during the first week of the semester. You can check out pictures of the event on their Facebook page.

 “I only have 120 days left on my terms and I’d like to get a lot done”

–       Excerpt from an email I received from our SU Vice President Academic while discussing our end-of-year activities here in our jobs.

Actually now, if I did my math right, it’s actually just 100 days more before our terms are over! I actually feel the same way. A little excited, dreading it a little bit and there’s the pressure that you want to accomplish as much as you could in your job. For our fellow students on placements, how do you feel as soon as you finished 2/3 of your time in your placement?

Remember the report that I was talking about last October? Well, I just finished it a few days ago. I do admit I am very relieved that it was over. For a while I also felt a little bad about requesting an extension of the deadline (from December 31, 2011 to January 13, 2012), but I think it was worth it. The collaborative effort was not as extensive as I hoped it would; I primarily interviewed the other people once and had to do more of the analysis on my own. I sure learned a lot in terms of writing a report, especially making recommendations based on a situational analysis. Another thing I learned, finishing a report on Friday night is not fun at all but not worrying about a report over the weekend is a great upside.

While for the other research project that I am working on, the interaction with my partner is also not as much but I think the main reason is the way we split up our tasks. That being said, I was very excited when two of the universities have contacted me back for clarifications and confirmations. As for the French Universities, there is no progress yet since I do have to wait for my backup for translations. Well, as the old adage says, patience is a virtue.

In terms of job search updates, still there’s not much luck for me still as most of the placements uploaded are out of town. One of the things that students looking for a Spring/Summer placement have to consider is about taking classes during their placement. For me, if I wanted to graduate within my target date, I need to take one course in the spring, one in the summer and a full course load in the fall term. As for the conditions of the Co-op program, students are allowed to take one course per term. After my visit with an advisor, some of the options that she recommended are:

1-    Night Classes

2-    Distance Classes

3-    Individual Research Project

Different factors have to be considered such as:

1-    Available space in your electives

2-    Transportation to make sure you won’t be late for your night classes after getting off from your work placement

3-    Time commitment of each both in class and in terms of readings projects and homework

Spring and summer classes have a different timeline in them where you have to spend more time a week for each class. I have never considered taking research project at all but the prospect of working closely with a professor for research seems interesting. Six weeks might be too short for a research project, but it is definitely an option for taking a course in a different setting, regardless if you are in a placement that term or not.

Spring and Summer registration opens in February 15 and there are many placements that are loaded right now. Good luck with your job search and class searches and I hope you’re all enjoying the second week back to school.

-Giselle

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