As one of the new Community Engagement Assistants at Leadership and Student Engagement (LSE), I walked in, on my first day, filled with excitement and enthusiasm about my new position. I remember that day so clearly. I woke up that morning and my mom gave me a big hug before I went out the door. She wished me luck and hope that I had a good first day in my new co-op position. I was very excited because it was the first time I would be working in an office setting, and I have always liked to have new experiences. Since then, I have grown immensely as a young professional, learned many new skills and made great connections. As my final co-op term nears its end, I can say that I am very grateful for the experiences I have had as well as for all that I have learned throughout this whole experience.
Throughout my year as a co-op student at the LSE, I have been fortunate to have many experiences that have allowed me to grow and succeed as a young professional. One of my favourite experiences was being a part of the interview team for the ucalgarycares programs. During the summer and fall months, I had the opportunity to take part in interviews for the Project Assistant positions. This was my first time interviewing candidates for a job position and I had a very positive experience during this process. I also had the pleasure of notifying the successful candidates. This process was very informative for me as I learned about interview etiquette and how to hold a professional manner, as an interviewer.
I also participated in the Homelessness at Home program, which was another highlight of my co-op experience. This program is a four-day immersive program where students volunteer at the Mustard Seed’s downtown location, where they get to provide service through volunteering as well as learn about the root causes of homelessness, addictions, and mental health. It was really rewarding to see the program take place after assisting with the organization of this program. The program was a life changing experience because I was able to speak with people who have experienced homelessness, as well as people who have struggled with addictions and mental health. It really opened up my eyes to the root causes of homelessness, addictions and mental health and allowed me to experience vulnerability when sharing with others as well as hearing the stories of others. I had the opportunity to connect with so many people from different walks of life. I learned how express a new level of empathy for others when I heard stories of struggle. I also had the opportunity to connect with staff at the Mustard Seed, which was also an amazing experience. It was great to connect with the staff involved in making a difference in the lives of those in need. It inspired me to work hard to make a difference in others’ lives and showed me how rewarding that would be.
Throughout my time at the LSE, I have been a part of many events that have been held on and off campus. Some of these events include the SU Spring Food Drive, Diversity Days Welcome Lunch, Native Centre Blanket Exercise and many more. One of the most memorable events that I took part in was the Tzedakah-Sadaqah event at the Dashmesh Culture Centre where I learned about the Sikh religion. I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer in the kitchen and serve food to the people in attendance that day. This was a very enriching experience for me because I had the opportunity to connect with new people and provide a service at the same time. One of the student representatives from the University of Calgary gave us a tour of the Dashmesh Culture Centre and presented us with a talk informing us about the Sikh religion. This event was a positive experience for me because it was very informative and I felt very welcomed by the staff members there.
Overall, as my third term reaches an end, I am very grateful for my experiences at the LSE because I can definitely say that I will come out of this co-op role a lot more knowledgeable and confident about myself as a young professional. It was a very informative experience and I am happy to have been a part of the Community Engagement team at Leadership and Student Engagement. This experience has allowed me to grow my skills and become even stronger in my communication and time management skills, among many other skills. I am so glad that through this experience, I have learned the importance of resilience, hard work, and a positive outlook. I am so grateful that this experience allowed me to grow as an individual and achieve many successes. Even though this chapter will soon be over, my time working as a co-op student at the LSE will be an unforgettable one. I am excited to take all that I have learned and use it to elevate my successes in the future. Lastly, I would definitely recommend the Co-op Program and working at the LSE to undergraduate students wanting to expand their knowledge and experiences, in addition to connecting with inspiring professionals who are passionate about their work and the difference they make in their communities. Being a part of the Co-op Program is an opportunity that has been life changing for me. I would like to encourage students to apply to the Co-op Program, so they can have opportunities to grow as a young professional and have incredible experiences just as I did.