Student stories

Co-op program sets up student for success

Lily Jackson

Various co-op employers

Lily Jackson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. She completed several co-op work terms over the course of her degree, and credits her time in the co-op program with helping her make a smooth transition into graduate school. She shares her story about the skills she learned as a UVic co-op student.

How did co-op help you as a student and beyond?

My experience in the Geography Co-op Program continues to be, even now that I'm in a Master's program in Toronto. Here's how:

First -

The co-op program provided an invaluable and rare opportunity to practice the skills required to get a job. There is an art to contacting potential employers, writing cover letters and resumés, and interviewing - co-op gave me the chance to hone that art through tutorial and practice.

As a result, before I moved to Toronto this past September, I had the skill set to contact a Toronto museum, send a focused resumé and cover letter, interview, and be hired as a part-time intern.

Second -

The professional development and learning exercises that I had to complete as part of each co-op work term influence how I act in the workplace today. I am more conscious of setting goals for myself, the different areas in which I can develop as an employee, and how to describe the specific skills I develop in a way that relates them to broader competencies that all employers are looking for.

Third -

As a former Geography student now in a Museum Studies program and working in cultural institutions, I continue to benefit tremendously from the emphasis the co-op program placed on connecting theory and practice. My former and current disciplines, and my work, may not always appear related, but I am able to constantly ask questions of how what I do at work relates to my current studies, and how that fits in to a broader spectrum of theory, of which my former studies are a part.

Not only is this just an immensely interesting way to work and study, it's also invaluable for helping me understand how my suite of skills and
competencies apply to different disciplines and jobs.

I am constantly reminded of these three main ways in which the co-op program continues to be a tremendously influential experience for me. Thank you!

More about Social sciences co-op