In about two weeks, I will be halfway through my co-op at Compass Working Capital, a non-profit that provides financial services to low income families. I’ve been learning a lot, developing new interests, and overall really enjoying my co-op. The past two-ish months have been baby steps towards adulthood and being a working professional. So in typical Sydelle fashion, here are some things I’ve learned so far.
- It’s really weird being surrounded by adults the whole day.
For the first time that I can remember, I spend majority of my day with people who are in an entirely different stage of life than I am. At times, it’s difficult to find things to talk about. I mean, what do real adults discuss anyways? Wine and real estate? However, it’s also a learning experience in and of itself. My colleagues are all relatively young, so hearing what’s going in their lives is kind of like getting a sneak peek at my own future.
- Having a ton of free time means you have to consciously spend it.
During a normal semester, majority of my time is spent with schoolwork, tack on extracurriculars and there isn’t much wiggle room. Free time is generally equated with friends, food, and Netflix. During co-op however, when you have so much more time, it seems almost wasteful to relax that much. You have to decide how to use your time in ways that are productive, because that time isn’t a study break, it’s literally hours of life. So you have to decided whether you’re going to watch another episode of Gossip Girl, or start teaching yourself French like you always said you would.
- I need passion.
While I really enjoy my co-op, there are some administrative tasks that definitely remind me that I’m an intern. On the other hand, you should definitely give me a call if you’re having printer issues. However, even a small task such as fixing the printer contributes to the “big picture” task of helping someone.
The best part about my co-op is working with people who genuinely, deeply care about the population we serve and have an unshakeable belief that their clients deserve their best every single day. With the fact that someone like Donald Trump is a serious contender for the President of the United States, due to the fact that there are thousands if not millions of Americans who agree with his rhetoric, it’s heartening to work in a place filled with people that care about the fate of their fellow human. And not only care, they work every day to improve that fate. Wherever I end up career wise, I know I need to have that same passion.
- Commuting offers the best people watching opportunities hands down.
I honestly love taking the train in the morning. There’s a sense of unspoken cameraderie. Everyone still looks a little sleepy. I like wondering what people do for a living, whether they love their job or hate it, who they come home to, what music they’re listening to, how creepy they probably think I am because I am most definitely staring at them by now.
- School and work are difficult in different ways.
College is hard. Academically, and otherwise, but work can be difficult too, just in an entirely different manner. You can totally zone out in a class, and while if you do it every single day, there will be definitely be consequences, if it happens every so often it’s not the worst. But, at work you can’t exactly sit there staring blankly at a ceiling wondering if Zayn’s hair just naturally looks that perfect when he gets up in the morning (honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did). You have to be engaged constantly, and that can be exhausting. And if you’re an introvert like me, when I come home from work I need a solid hour to two hours of alone time before I can even think about interacting with human being. On the plus side, I know once Friday night rolls around I have a little over 48 hours to do with as I please, with none of that nasty homework business getting in the way.
And yes, if you’re wondering, #iheartcoop