I didn’t have a lot of doubt, of course, but realism must always play its part in the emotional equation. If the Co-op program had fallen through I would have had to find another way to secure my experience, but being enrolled will definitely have its advantages.
In the Co-op program a student goes through the process of applying for “summer” jobs, then, once accepted he goes to work – doing the things he is learning in class, working (and networking) with people in his chosen field, being graded on his efforts by his employer, and gathering useful work experience for his resume.
Being enrolled gives access to resume assistance, to interview practice and procedure, and to a Co-op-specific student job board. In the ideal scenario the student gains experience, learns about his chosen field in the real world – not just the halls of academia – earns money to pay tuition, and makes friends.
I have been a little conflicted about it all, of course. Part of me feels that the spirit of the program intends it for young people, but really that that’s just my sense of the universe at work, so I dismiss it. I am eligible, so why wouldn’t I apply? Besides, in career transition my needs are as great as the youngsters’ – perhaps even greater – so it’s actually a no-brainer.
The first workshop is this afternoon and I am looking forward to it.