I’m five months into my first co-op, and it’s been a major learning experience both on the job and when I’m back on campus from work every night. The large amount of free time I get when I am not on duty is alarming. To make use of that time, there are a few things I’ve done that I feel everyone should try out for themselves.
Picking up a hobby or learning a new skill is one of my favorites. Whether it’s something you had done for a while before or something completely new, you have more than enough time to learn and practice a skill or just get in your zone with a hobby. I have been practicing the piano and guitar, instruments I’ve played for some years of my life already, and I’ve seen some major improvements in fluidity and accuracy as I play.
Hanging out with friends is another good thing to do. Yes, more than half of your friends from freshman year will also be on co-op and may not live close to you, but you can find the time to reach out to those who are closeby. Regardless, you could arrange a meetup with those friends who are far away once in a while. It’s important to keep those relationships, and it’s always nice to get caught up on what everyone’s been up to and what they are looking forward to. Go ahead and watch a TV show or movie with a bunch of friends.
Exploring Center City is a top priority. You could do this by yourself or with friends, but the experience either way will be nothing less than amazing. There’s lots of places to visit and see in Center City, even excluding the popular Philadelphia Museum of Art and Liberty Bell. With theater shows and multicultural restaurants all around, the possibilities are endless.
Taking a class is not necessary but good if you want to keep busy and get ahead of some requirements. At Drexel University, you are allowed to take up to six credits of class over the two terms you are on co-op. Note that you can take one class up to four credits each term without being charged. Because you already pay university fees every term, why not use the opportunity to enroll in that elective or core class you want to?
There is a lot more you can do during your free time on co-op, and you can combine all of these for a memorable experience for yourself. I know I have.