The long-awaited co-op season is fast approaching, and I’m still not entirely certain of what to expect once it arrives. Six months of working instead of taking classes sounds nice at first, but the more I think about it, the less certain I am of just how nice it actually is going to be.
Co-op is something I’ve heard many mixed opinions about during my time at Drexel. Some people like it, some hate it and some sit in between those two opinions. Regardless of that variation, the general consensus seems to be that it’s a learning experience, if nothing else. Many people come to Drexel University specifically because of the co-op program. While I personally am not one of those people, I can certainly see the logic behind their thinking. Having the chance to work at a job that is directly related to your field of study is an opportunity not many students get in college.
I’m simply not sure if I’m ready for the shift because it’s a bit daunting. I’ve gotten very comfortable in the past 23 months that I’ve spent at Drexel. The life of a student can admittedly be chaotic at times, but there’s a sense of order to this chaotic routine with classes and homework. With each new quarter comes a new set of classes and usually a new set of professors with their own parameters and rules that I have to adhere to, but there is still a strong sense of familiarity in that I kind of know what to expect. Weeks one, two, three and four are a build-up to the chaos of midterms; weeks five and six are the climax of that build-up; weeks seven, eight, nine and 10 are mostly the same as the first four; and finals week is another climax. Now, that is a bit of an oversimplification, but it shows the somewhat repetitive nature of each quarter.
Co-op is going to break this cycle, which is almost always brought up when I speak to people about co-op. They talk about the difficulty of having to go from classes to co-op and then from co-op to classes. It’s a shift that can be rather challenging to adjust to, and I am not exactly looking forward to it. Everyone’s transition is different, though, and some people may have an easier time than others. I’m fairly certain that after the first couple of weeks I’ll be just fine, but the first week or two will no doubt feel strange.
Not having to attend class and not having to stay up until 2 a.m.working on homework assignments is still a novel idea to me because that’s all I’ve known since I arrived at Drexel. And I’m sure that once I return to regular classes I will be complaining again about having to stay up until 2 a.m. doing homework and wishing that I were still on co-op.