Meet Aysu Gündoğan
Aysu Gündoğan is a Computer Science Co-op student at the University of Guelph, who will be graduating in August 2021. Aysu balances varsity swimming and co-op work terms, while excelling at academics. She is a two-time recipient of the Sandbox Software Solutions Scholarship, and recent recipient of the Dr. James Linders Scholarship, both for her excellent achievements in academics in the Bachelor of Computing degree. Aysu shares some of her favourite things about co-op, how it has impacted her life, and how she balances the many different aspects of her life at U of G.
What has been your favourite co-op work term so far? What was your role in that position?
“My favourite co-op work term was at the beginning of 2020, when I worked as a software engineering co-op at Wave in Toronto. I enjoyed working with my team, solving problems and learning new technologies – despite having to work from home halfway through the semester.”
What has the impact of co-op been on your life, either academically, professionally, or personally?
“I think meeting/working with senior people in the industry and experiencing different jobs and work environments has definitely been the most significant impact of co-op on my life. It helped me better understand what I would like to do with my career in the future, and I got to connect with people that I look up to.”
Tell us about the two scholarships you received. What were they for?
“I received the Dr. James Linders Scholarship and the Sandbox Software Solutions Scholarship in Computing Sciences. Dr. James Linders Scholarship is awarded to the 4th year student (14.75 to 17.75 credits) with the highest average in the 3rd year core CIS courses. Sandbox Software Solutions Scholarship is awarded to the female student with the highest average in the Bachelor of Computing degree program; I also received this award in 2018.”
How do you balance co-op, academics, varsity athletics, and personal life?
“I don't think I've done the best job at balancing all of these, especially co-op and varsity athletics. I was on the university's swim team for the first three years of my degree, and I was on co-op for two semesters during those three years. It definitely wasn't easy; swimming requires a lot of time commitment (15-20 hours a week), and it wasn't always possible to commit that much time in a week while working a full-time co-op job. Balancing academics and varsity athletics was a bit easier, at least in terms of making time for training. For personal life: I am an international student, so it was a struggle to build a social life here, and most of my friends here are from the varsity team, my degree program, and co-op jobs. I think I do a fairly good job at knowing when to stop working or studying and making time for other things I enjoy doing.”
What skills have you developed being a varsity athlete?
“I had been swimming competitively for about ten years before university, so this is not strictly varsity athletics, but swimming has helped me develop time-management and planning skills and learn how to set goals and deal with failure. It also pushed me to figure out how I learn things best to be more efficient with my studies.”
What skills have you developed in co-op?
“I learned how to work within teams and how to ask questions. I used to be very stubborn to figure things out on my own without help, but co-op taught me when and how to ask questions. I also learned to separate my personal and work time and make time for my hobbies.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
“During the pandemic, it mostly consists of sitting at a desk or a couch and doing school work. I like doing yoga, learning languages (currently learning Norwegian!), reading, and watching shows and movies in my free time. I took up running to have a way to leave the house safely during the pandemic, but I can't wait to be able to swim, play volleyball and go to the gym again.”