My Challenging Co-op Experience: Trying...

My Challenging Co-op Experience: Trying to Balance it All

by Sadie Osborne
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Hi, my name is Mercedes and I don’t have my wisdom teeth or tonsils, but I do have anxiety.

Last semester was my first time trying co-op education, and I had two periods in the morning along with one at the end of the day. Although I was anxious, it was relieving to know my boyfriend was also taking morning co-op and that I already knew my teacher, Mrs. Thomson, fairly well.

The first few weeks of co-op, classes are spent learning about and reviewing things like workplace safety and doing resumes. And of course looking for a placement, or in my case, two placements. When it came to deciding on the placements, I knew I wanted to work at the library or at a newspaper. Looking back, I am kind of glad those options did not work out.

The library did not need any help and we never heard back from any newspapers we contacted. I ended up doing my morning placement in a CPP (Community Pathways Program) co-op class, helping the students with their work and eventually attending their placements with them. Things were going really well and I enjoyed my placement. During this time Mrs. Thomson and I were working on contacting Goodwill for my afternoon placement and best of all, my anxiety had not been a problem. Yet.

On October 9th I had a doctor’s appointment. At that appointment it was decided that three days later I would be going to the hospital to have a tonsillectomy (tonsils removed). Which did not seem too bad, except for the fact that I needed to stay home from school for two weeks to recover.

The tonsillectomy and recovery went well. However, when I came back to my co-op placement, I had lost all motivation. I was very upset that while I was away, I missed seeing all the students I worked with start their placements. I did not want to admit that I felt differently, but it was clear something changed. I was not taking my co-op as seriously as I was before. Both Mrs. Thomson and the teacher whose class I was working in noticed the change.

Around this time, I was also preparing to start my afternoon co-op at Goodwill. For around a week I was supposed to take a bus to Goodwill and start my co-op, but every time the bus neared my stop, I’d begin to panic and my body would freeze and I’d ride right past it, all the way home. Although it took some time, I was able to be honest with Mrs. Thomson about how I was feeling, about Goodwill and my morning placement, and we decided that until I was comfortable, she would come with me to Goodwill for at least the first 10 minutes. This small change boosted my motivation to continue doing the co-op placement again. I felt like I was back or track.

This was working really well for me, for about a week and a half. I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible. Which meant another week out of school for recovery. I became unmotivated again. I didn’t think things could get much worse, but soon after I came back to school, I was let go from both of my co-op placements. Luckily, Mrs. Thomson was really understanding and we quickly got a new placement for both mornings and afternoons.

In the end everything worked out; I got my co-op credits and learned that tough situations aren’t always as bad as they seem. Especially when you have people who want to see you succeed!

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