This blog is going to be about the co-ops I have had so far.
I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. My coursework involves seven academic semesters and three co-ops. So far, I have taken one co-op rotation, and I am currently on my second. In this blog, I will share the process of how I got these co-ops.
The co-op application process may sound simple but involves a lot of work. One semester prior to the designated co-op semester, you are enrolled in an Into to Co-op class where you learn everything to apply for a co-op, from working on your resume to all the other practical requirements you face in the process. Alongside the academic advisor, you are also assigned to a co-op advisor whose sole purpose is to be dedicated to helping you get your co-op.
Co-ops and internships help bring in the practical aspect of the major; while at college, you get to see the real-world implementation of your major through course projects, and, with the coop program, you will be a part of it as well. UC also offers an amazing resource known as UC PAL, a network of all national and international companies where UC alumni work. You build new connections, work on your skills and pave your way towards landing a co-op.
About my personal experience with co-ops, I have had the chance to do 2 so far. As an international student, doing co-ops/internships for an entire semester was a new concept to me, for I had never had the chance to experience any kind of such work culture before. Working on my resumes, portfolios, interviewing with companies, … all came as something new to me, but I was ready for it at every step because I was getting to experience working in my field while still in college! I wanted my first co-op to be at a smaller firm so that I could get a grip on the industry and learn how things go. Another factor was that, because it was my work experience for the first time ever, I did not want any mistakes I made during my co-op to affect the overall performance of the company.
I got offered a co-op at a small firm in Kentucky, where everyone in the firm helped me improve myself, I learned applications such as AutoCAD in a day or two which, otherwise, would have taken me months. Gaining some reasonable experience, I wanted to aim higher; for my next rotation of co-op, I looked for bigger firms, so that I could get an idea of how things worked on a larger scale. I am on my second rotation in a big firm, and I can’t be happier. The experiences will surely ascertain my decision to stay in my field because I love the practical aspects my field offers!