After two years of classes, I’ve finally reached the time when I get to witness firsthand the experience I’ve heard so much about — co-op. One of the things that I have come to appreciate more than anything else now that I am on co-op is the consistency.
The experience of being on co-op is something that I’ve been told about by so many of my fellow students and I knew that I would most likely enjoy it, but I didn’t think I would enjoy it this much. These past few weeks have been extremely enjoyable and this is mainly because the experience is extremely consistent in terms of what I do each week.
Having a job offers me a lot of structure when it comes to getting work done. I always felt that I would prefer working to having classes, but now that I actually am on co-op that notion has been confirmed. I realize now that the inevitable problem I have with classes is the homework that is left for you to do on your own time. Personally, I was always fairly good about getting homework done at a reasonable time, but like everyone else, there are just some days and nights when you can’t get to something, but you also can’t afford to not do it. I have yet to experience anything remotely like this with co-op.
The fact that all of the work I do takes place within a few hours a day is great because I never have to worry about doing stuff for work before or after my shift is over. Whereas with class, there was almost always something that I needed to do outside of the hours of class. To be fair, the time I spent in class was certainly less than I spend at my job, but the work required outside of each class far exceeds the time I spend at work.
I also really appreciate getting to do what I enjoy and nothing else. The option to branch out and do other things outside of my job are of course available, but they aren’t forced on me the way several classes that I took only for the credits have been in the past.
The pressure of not having to try and earn a grade is also a major difference between co-op and classes, and it is a difference that I am extremely grateful for. I have always enjoyed my classes, but even I have grown a bit tired of constantly having to work to earn a grade and maintain a good GPA. I don’t dislike doing it, but after doing it for two years it can become a little stressful on the mind and I think co-op helps to remove that looming thought in the back of a student’s head when it comes to getting good grades.
Co-op is great when it comes to giving students a real change of pace, and so far I have been making the most of my time away from classes. It’s a real eye-opener for me personally, as I had been stuck in the routine of going through each 10-week quarter for so long that I kind of forgot how great it feels to just get a break from it all.
I definitely think students on co-op should make the most of it by doing whatever it is that they normally can’t do because of classes. I know I most certainly am going to.