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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

As I write this article, I am currently in the throes of interview week, an incredibly overwhelming experience that has left me unimaginably drained. I cannot count how many times I have had to list my strengths and weaknesses (“I have excellent time management skills, and I am great at pre-emptively planning my tasks and deliverables to relieve stress on myself; however, I am incredibly nit-picky and much too critical of myself and my work”) or talk about my previous work experience. It’s at times like this that I wonder if continuing to pursue CO-OP is worth it and whether I should save myself the effort and stress that go into it.

If someone were to ask me for advice on whether to choose CO-OP at the University of Ottawa, my short answer would be that it depends (for reference, I am a Finance and Healthcare Analytics student). I entered my first year of university with no previous work experience in any sort of professional setting. Outside of babysitting, I had technically never worked a day in my life. In that sense, I believe that applying for CO-OP was beneficial in my personal experience, as it allowed me to pursue job opportunities that are relevant to my degree, which I would have had difficulty doing myself.

I enjoyed my first CO-OP term during the summer, and it definitely gave me an understanding of the type of work I’d like to do upon my graduation. I’ve come to approach this process as an opportunity for me to “shop around” different jobs and get a taste of what it’s like to work in a corporate environment. However, it must be considered that adding a CO-OP option to one’s degree does increase the amount of time you stay in university, which I somehow didn’t realize until AFTER I had been accepted. Please do not ask me how many sleepless nights I’ve spent mulling over my ten-year plans because of this. Additionally, there are fees that you must pay during the CO-OP semester, which you would not have had to pay if you had simply gotten an internship or job on your own. I also found the CO-OP term report quite redundant and unnecessary—and unfortunately, it’s required for every work term you complete.

Returning to the question of whether to pursue a CO-OP, my long answer would be to take a look at yourself, your work experience, and the industry you wish to break into and make a decision based on how fulfilling it would be for you. In my personal experience, my first CO-OP term was worth it—and as I interview for my second term this winter, I hope it’s worth it as well. This may not be the case for every individual—thus, my experience should be taken with a grain of salt. I’d like to think that had I been equipped with the knowledge of what this process would look like, I would have made the same decisions as I had in the past. I hope to alleviate some of that uncertainty for others by writing about my own reasoning.

Khadija Ahmad

U Ottawa '26

Finance and Healthcare Analytics student who loves to read, knit, and binge watch crime shows.