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My Remote Co-op Experience: Pros & Cons

I started my remote co-op (cooperative education) in July as an IT Project Assistant at a biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge. As a Management Information Systems (MIS) and Healthcare Management & Consulting major, this role was my number one choice. I was super excited when I was offered a position, but once COVID-19 cases in the U.S. started to rise, I was concerned that the company was going to tell me they couldn’t support the co-op program anymore. If that had happened, then all the hard work I had put in to finding my co-op was going to fly out the window. Thankfully, my co-op started like planned and it’s great! …Kind of. In the past few months, I’ve realized some pros and cons of my remote co-op and these are the most defining:

Pros: 

  1. I can roll out of bed exactly at 8:00 A.M. and start working immediately. 

  2. I can decide my own work hours. 

    Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

  3. Because I’m living at home with my parents, I’m saving a lot more money than if I was still in Boston. 

  4. I get to spend more time with my family. This isn’t something that I have been able to properly do since starting college. 

 

Cons: 

  1. I’m not actually getting the real office experience that comes with a real job—including the commute to work. 

  2. Communication online is much more difficult, and I have a harder time gauging my coworkers’ reactions and feelings. 

  3. Networking is infinitely harder. Watercooler talk and side conversations just aren’t possible unless you schedule a very on purpose, one-on-one conversation over Zoom. 


Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop.
Photo by Yan from Pexels

Some tips I have for any future students that will be working from home for co-op is to create a schedule and try your best to maintain it. Take a walk in the morning and call it your “morning commute” if that helps. If you’re sharing a space with multiple people, set some ground rules. But most importantly, if you are experiencing Zoom fatigue, be sure to take breaks. Good luck!​

Lucy Zhai

Northeastern '22

Lucy Zhai is a 3rd year Northeastern student double majoring in Management Information System (MIS) and Healthcare Management & Consulting. She loves exploring new cities, trying new restaurants, and watching Netflix.
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