Written by Rachel Fox, ONB winter student.

Over the course of four months with Opportunities NB (ONB), I have learned much about economic development in New Brunswick, working in an office, and the value of office culture. The time I spent here was extremely valuable, and several takeaways from my time here will stay with me as I continue my education and career.

When you are here for a limited time it is essential to make the most out of the semester and soak up as much as possible. As my time here ends, I reflected on the things that helped me gain the most from this experience, and what might help future ONB co-op students.

Three top takeaways

Rachel Fox

1. Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity

Try a little bit of everything. If someone asks if you’d like to try something new, say yes, even if it doesn’t seem interesting to you or like a part of your career plan; there is value in every new experience. Think of your co-op term as an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. During my time at ONB, I worked on a variety of projects including the writing of reports for the Client Engagement Team, working on Excel books for Working NB, and collaborating with the Marketing Team. These were all great ways to learn about departments outside of my own and get a feel for everything ONB touches on.

University is the best time to try new things, change your mind, and then change your mind again. If you end up like me, going into a co-op with no strong idea of what you’d like to do post-graduation then this a great way to sample different tasks. This can help you determine your preferred career path.

2. Keep a journal

One thing I did that added real value to my experience was keeping a daily journal in which I noted the many projects that I worked on and the meetings that I attended. This way I could keep track of the tasks that I completed, what I liked about them, and what I didn’t like about them. At the end of your term, you can review all these notes and better reflect on your entire experience. Your strengths, weaknesses, etc. will be easier to spot when you look back at everything you tackled over the semester.

3. Talk to everyone you can and ask lots of questions.

When you’re a student the old saying is true, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Talk to everyone, ask questions, and learn everything you can from all of them. This will help you not only for your co-op but well beyond. Networking is a huge part of business and getting to know people and creating connections to an organization post-grad will be extremely helpful for you moving forward.

From my first week at ONB, everyone here was extremely kind and generous with their time. Even those with busy schedules will take the time to talk to you and answer any questions you have. Taking advantage of these opportunities will help you maintain connections with many of these professionals after graduation. Many of the people that you meet during your co-op can help you in the future when you’re looking for advice and connections to employers. The ONB team has a wealth of knowledge – use it!

Want to learn more about ONB’s student program? Contact us at this email address.