Meet Nida Ansari:
Nida Ansari is a second year Honours Psychology Co-op Student at the University of Guelph who is currently completing an extremely successful first Co-op work term at the Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN). Nida discusses her experiences and first impressions of Co-op and how it exceeded her expectations. She also shares about her role in the Psychology Society as their Social Media Coordinator, including starting a blog for Psychology students to connect and share their experiences in both academic and social contexts, and where she contributes to the Co-op Central series, where she shares her experiences and tips as a Psychology Co-op student. Read more to find out what Work-Integrated Learning is all about for Nida!
Tell us about your Co-op experience so far!
“This semester, I am on my first Co-op work term! I work remotely for the Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN). The IYSN is a network of organizations developing an integrative, centralized model of providing mental health and wellness services to youth in community hubs across the Wellington and Guelph area. Specifically, my role this semester involves researching and developing a training program that would help implement a youth-to-youth support system within the hubs.”
What have you learned from your Co-op work term?
“This opportunity has been so wonderful in many ways. For starters, I have been able to develop my analytical skills by researching other successful training programs and outlining their best practices, in order to be more mindful of the content I would be developing and incorporating into the training program. I have learned so much about accessibility and inclusion in the context of developing tools for youth in both rural and urban areas!”
“I've also been able to improve on my oral communication and presentation skills by meeting frequently with community members and partners to share my development and receive their feedback. This process has not only helped my ability to communicate more efficiently in a professional setting, but it has also given me a chance to connect and engage with the community and gain a better understanding of the mental health crisis in Wellington and Guelph. Knowing exactly what community members need by hearing from them directly has given me the possibility to make my work more meaningful and beneficial for everyone involved.”
Why did you decide to take co-op? Was it what you expected?
“In high school, while I knew I was extremely interested in studying Psychology, I wasn't aware of my employability levels; meaning, I wasn't aware of all you could do with a Psychology degree. Because of this, I knew I wanted to understand what kinds of career paths I could take, and I wanted to make sure I could get professional experience in different fields. When I did some research about Psychology programs and read about the Psychology co-op program at the University of Guelph, I found it to be such an amazing opportunity to Psychology students to be able to do exactly that!”
“Now, having been on my first work term, the program was not exactly what I expected, and yet, it has exceeded my expectations! I've learned so much valuable information about the job searching process in Psychology and how to best promote myself in resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I believe that what I've learned so far and what I will continue to learn in coming years will help me find the right career path after I graduate!”
Are you involved in other Experiential Learning activities at U of G? What is your role?
“On top of my Co-op position, I also act as the Social Media Coordinator for the Psychology Society at the University. An initiative I founded this semester alongside a committee of wonderful executives was a Society-wide blog called "GetPsyched", where all Psychology students can share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences in both academic and social contexts. I personally contribute to our "Co-op Central" series, where I share my experiences and tips as a Psychology student in the professional world and aim to promote the Psychology Co-op program in the process!”
What is the main thing you learned from these experiences?
“I think the key takeaway from both experiences I've had this semester is that contributing to the community in a significant manner can happen in a variety of ways. Whether that is contributing to a student-run blog or creating an educational tool for youth, you can always find a way to improve the lives of others. Seeking these kinds of opportunities not only lets you develop and shine, but lets the community you serve develop and shine, too.”