Sadly, we must say goodbye to our summer co-op students. Timed with the wrap-up of their ONB tenure, this week’s content comes from our students.

My summer work term at Opportunities NB (ONB) has been many things. Exciting, nerve-racking, fun, eventful, engaging, and above all, educational. The knowledge I’ve gathered over just four short months in this role is amazing. I am grateful for all the opportunities that I was given during my tenure here.

Having spent the last five years in university I learned plenty of theory, all of which was useful. However, it means nothing without the knowledge you acquire when you are getting hands-on real-world experience. ONB’s student roles are rewarding because you finally get to apply all that theoretical knowledge from the classroom to everyday work tasks. You get to see that your efforts and contributions make a difference within the organization and for its clients.

It was exciting to participate in various New Brunswick events like the CyberSmart Summit or the annual NB Export Awards (pictured above – I’m on the far right peaking over the others) and see the great things happening in our province. It’s especially rewarding when you can help the events take shape. In my case, I helped create and launch the CyberSmart Summit’s mobile app.

Being engaged is underrated

You are always engaged while part of the ONB team. Whether it’s working with one of the culture teams or completing a work project, you always have something interesting to keep you occupied. This is often overlooked in a ‘student job’ and there is nothing worse than showing up to work with nothing to do, watching the clock tick by. This was never an issue during my ONB tenure. Work comes first, but the organization stays lively in the summer with Bravo Awards (quarterly recognition awards where employees nominate their peers), green initiatives, and staff barbecues. Going to work every day is more than just a 9 to 5 thing.

The skills school doesn’t always teach

ONB taught me valuable soft skills that you simply can’t pick up in a classroom. Little things like properly organizing a meeting via Outlook or bigger things like becoming a better public speaker. ONB pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing for personal growth in the work world. Nerve-racking experiences like speaking in front of the entire organization can be formative for your professional career. I was always decent at public speaking in university but it’s a different beast in the work world. Fortunately, I was able to overcome my anxiety and give a solid presentation. This experience and many others have been an extraordinary way to gain practical experience that will help my career moving forward.

It is a great feeling to learn of an organization in New Brunswick that genuinely cares about its youth and students and is willing to invest in us by providing us not only with a job but experiences we can carry with us for the rest of our professional careers. I am extremely grateful to have had the chance to work with all the phenomenal employees at ONB — this was truly an excellent place to kickstart a career.

Written by Will Legere

ONB’s Student Program is open to fall and winter co-op placements and a summer work term. One hundred per cent of participants would recommend ONB to other students as a place to work. Interested in applying? Contact us.