This Spring, a team of four people (myself, Adam, Richard and Theo) travelled in two vehicles to 23 communities in British Columbia 
...to host job fairs.
We drove through all kinds of weather, 
and met interesting people.
I developed some skills,
saw how beautiful British Columbia is,
and had a great time on my first co-op term!
Reflection
My first co-op term working with Pace Group Communications Inc. on the BC Jobs Plan was great. Looking back at this adventurous journey, I got to see 23 different communities in British Columbia and made the most of what each city or town had to offer. I got to snowboard at all the top resorts of the province, go for a wine tasting, and enjoy some scenic views and amazing weather. On top of that, I made new friends and developed new skills like media relations and writing professional reports. 

The most important thing that I will take away from this experience is working in a team. I was the youngest of the four; Theo was two years older than me, Adam was ten years older and Richard was twenty years older. Despite our age gap and different personalities, we managed to work well together. The key was our team bonding activities like talking in the car, going bowling, or playing board games. This helped us become a strong and efficient team because we learned more about each other and got past the shyness phase.  As the tour progressed, we each specialized in our strengths and communicated effectively with each other. Bonds with co-workers are important in optimizing your experience on the job.  
After speaking to my co-op supervisors (Kristina and Jocelyn), and discussing my co-op experience with the co-op coordinator (Marcia), I realized that working in a public relations industry helped me figure out which part of communication I wanted to get into. From speaking to Kristina, Jocelyn, and Shivani on our car rides or during dinner, I realized the reason why I wanted to get into public relations is because I have been involved with large-scale events like the Winter Festivals, Richmond Ozone, and the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Oval. I enjoy being a part of events because it brings a community together. I also like the idea that in public relations, you do use the same skills on a day-to-day basis and you generally work Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm, but each work day is never the same. Some days may be spent liaising with clients, venue locations, or co-workers, while other days may involve being at a venue and planning out the event. I have also learned about the other specializations within the public relations industry, like media relations and crisis communication. Every aspect of public relations interests me and the sporadic layout of the industry will always keep me alert and thinking. 
Goals
My exposure to the public relations industry has indeed confirmed which path of communication I would like to specialize in. Having received feedback from my co-op supervisors, Kristina and Jocelyn, I will take their advice and work on the areas that need improvement and also work on my strengths to enhance my talents. For future co-op terms, I would like to gain more experience in the public relations industry and receive training on social media optimization, writing news releases, and matter regarding crisis communication. I will accomplish this by researching public relation opportunities within Vancouver and establishing connections with people in the industry. I also plan on getting more involved and developing more public relations-related skills by attending workshops and volunteering. Co-op has motivated me to do what it takes to be a more qualified applicant for public relation positions in the near future.
Co-op
My advice for other co-op students is that it is important to be positive and keep an open mind. Before my work term, I thought that I would gravitate towards the journalism aspect of communication. I tried the tour staff position anyway because I enjoy interacting with people. It turns out that my exposure to the industry made me love it. Public relations encompasses my passion for interacting with the public, my strength in writing, and my need to learn and develop more skills. You cannot assume you will not like a job unless you have tried it. It is important to explore different career options while you still can because in the real world outside of university, you cannot just switch careers with a snap of a finger.

Completing one co-op term has already made me feel confident that I have the skills that I will need after graduation. Co-op reassured me that I am indeed on the right track to my “dream job,” that I will in fact like my job, and that I will not graduate feeling unsure about what to do next. Once I complete my undergraduate degree, I will know exactly where to start applying. Catching a glimpse of what I will be doing two years from now is now another one of my motivations to do well in school. I am excited for another co-op term and another chance to get more exposure to public relations. 
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Celebrating co-op week. I love co-op!
I would like to give special thanks to: 
  • My parents for being supportive in my career choices 
  • My friends for Skyping, texting and phoning me on a regular basis to cure my homesickness
  • Mike, for starting our relationship on a long distance basis and for being there for me at all hours of the day. You’re the best!
  • Pace Group for welcoming co-op students into their office and giving me relevant work experience 
  • Kristina, Jocelyn and Shivani for being great coordinators that contributed to the success of each job fair and for giving me feedback to help me improve in public relations
  • The team – Adam, Richard, and Theo, for awesome memories and great travelling experiences together
  • Most importantly, the Communication co-op department for guiding me through the application process. Thank you Marcia, Liesl, and Sangita. I couldn’t have done it without you guys. 
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This marks the end of my work term. Back to rez!
 


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Stephanie Munez