Meet Harkiran Sidhu
Harkiran Sidhu is in her fourth year at the University of Guelph and is in the co-op stream of Marketing Management. She is also working towards a minor in Human Resources. Through a co-op work term, Harkiran worked with Open Ed to design, edit, and create content to help with the University’s transition to online learning. In this role, she learned about the amount and quality of work that Open Ed does each day, and gained skills that will help with her future career. Harkiran discusses the benefits of co-op and the easy transition from COOP*1100 to the workforce, noting that the preparation she received from this course helped her feel confident when starting her first work term.
Tell us about your role as an Instructional and Technical Support Student Assistant for the Open Learning and Educational Support Department. What were your responsibilities and what was an average day like in this position?
“Working as an Instructional and Technical Support Student Assistant for the Open Learning and Educational Support Department, I was able to work on a diverse number of projects. This position was heavily reliant on group-based projects; I was working alongside two other co-op students for the majority of it. Some of the responsibilities included creating a webinar for instructors to attend, updating the University of Guelph's official website, creating tip sheets, designing CourseLink course pages, developing storyboards and launching modules for all University of Guelph students and instructors. There was always something new every day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my position.”
What did you learn from this co-op term?
“My position allowed me to take part in numerous tasks and projects. I was able to develop best practice documents and tips sheets to support educational strategies. I learned how to work with the multimedia team to create videos and various multimedia assets using a variety of software programs. Also, with the help of the course design team, I was able to learn how to create storyboards including, designing, editing, inserting content. Overall, this position greatly improved my design skills and remote-communication skills!”
Did you help transfer courses to an online format? If yes, what was this experience like?
“Yes! That was the primary focus of this position. I had the opportunity to work with numerous instructors as well as the OpenEd team to help support the transition to remote learning. The experience was incredible as I was working behind the scenes to prepare the launch for Fall 2020 courses! I was designing course content, updating course outlines and ensuring the CourseLink pages were up to standard. This position truly allowed me to appreciate all of the hard work that the OpenEd team truly does. It’s astonishing!”
How did you find the transition from COOP*1100 to the work term?
“The transition from COOP*1100 to the work term was very seamless! I felt very supported through all of the phases; from completing the COOP*1100 course, to the job search process, to accepting the position and finally starting my work term! There was a lot of support and guidance throughout the process. I would definitely say COOP*1100 gave me good a foundation to work from and greatly improved my confidence going into my work term!”
You mentioned that the co-op stream provided you with opportunities to help you find your future career. Can you please elaborate?
“Absolutely! The co-op stream has given me ample opportunities to help find my future career. Through all of the different experiences and co-op terms, I have been able to find my true passions and interests. Additionally, each co-op term has allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of the different positions and job titles within companies that could spark my interest! Overall, these co-op terms have provided me with real-life experiences that will tremendously help with choosing my future career!”
What have your other work terms been like?
“All of my work terms have been very informative and unique. I have worked at Sysco, which is located in Waterloo, Ontario as an Insider-Sales Representative for 8 months. Sysco is by far my most enjoyable co-op opportunity. I really enjoyed the work environment, my co-workers, and the community-like ambiance. Sysco allowed to me further develop my skills and abilities as well as helped create long-lasting connections. All of my co-op experiences have been super educational and have allowed me to grow as an independent individual.”
What has been your favourite moment or experience from a co-op work term?
“Although there have been many moments within my co-op work term that deserve this title, a particular moment would be during my first co-op term at Sysco as an Insider- Sales Representative. I was able to create a strong connection with one of my customers, his name was Zak and he lived in BC. He was filled with life stories and had the sweetest personality. I will definitely cherish all of our weekly talks and I genuinely miss him. These types of moments and connections truly make working worth it.”
Do you have any advice or anything else you’d like to say to students reading this?
“Taking the co-op stream for my undergrad studies was the best decision I have ever made! It’s been an amazing journey. I have gained tons of personal and professional connections, which will truly help support my future ambitions. I would 1000000% recommend any future students to take the co-op opportunity if presented! You will not regret it!”