Have you ever heard of the expression, “Where you end up has a lot to do with where you start?” You might not care but this simple expression has been repeatedly drilled into my brain over the years. But I never actually bothered to understand what it meant until a couple of years ago. I heard it when people said it but I never really listened to what they were trying to say.
I came to the realization midway through my college career that I do not know where to start, when to start, how to start, or even what to start. I thought high school and college were supposed to prepare me for the real world, to help me hone in my skills in order to determine the best possible path for me. But studying, researching, and listening to someone only goes so far. These tasks get mundane and repetitive but an actually hands-on experience is totally different. This is what cooping is to me, an actual hands-on experience.
Initially, I was mainly interested in obtaining a coop position related to my field. I was able to obtain that. I heard rumors about other co-op jobs where coops were given meager tasks like stapling papers or making copies but I wanted my coop experience to be more than that, which it has proven to be. My coop job allowed me to develop leadership, communication, and customer service skills among other skills.
I worked as a PC Support co-op for four semesters at INPO. When I first started at INPO, I was extremely shy and knew very little about troubleshooting computers. Working in the helpdesk proved to be a good experience for me. Not only has it allowed me to work with a very diverse group of people but it has allowed me to learn a lot about computers, the importance of customer service, project management, and various aspects of the information technology field.
My experience cooping at INPO has been a beneficial and practical experience. If you put into the program what you hope to get out, it can be very rewarding. It has served as a learning experience, a starting point for me to determine where to go in my field. INPO has taught me the importance of teamwork and a friendly working environment.
INPO Co-op Program