Being in university can be a rather overwhelming experience. It’s very easy to get behind and feel like you’re drowning. The stress of knowing you have a million things to do and knowing that more tasks are coming can be debilitating. When I get overwhelmed with tasks, my initial reaction is to escape. I don’t want to deal with that stress. As you can imagine, avoiding your problems only makes things worse — they never go away on their own, no matter how many times you try.
I found myself at a low point with so many things to do in what seemed like a never-ending tunnel of stress. To add to that stress while trying to keep up with school, I also needed to find a co-op position, as having 12 months of co-op experience is a graduation requirement for my program.
I was recommended the Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) program through the Engineering Co-op & Career Services (ECCS), as the CAPS team works with them. Booking an appointment with CAPS was one of the best decisions I have made for my career. It wasn’t long after that I met the amazing Tanya, a person I am very grateful to have crossed paths with. I didn’t know McMaster offered a service like this, I was able to book regular meetings and do anything that I needed. The experience offered me a personalized support system for whatever my needs were, whether that was job hunting tasks like resume building or even just going over all the things I needed to do for my classes and making a plan to get them done. And sometimes, it was just nice to talk to someone and share about my day.
The time came when I knew I needed to find a co-op position for the summer, so Tanya helped me right from day one in September, and she assured me that I was going to find a position. We started with refining my resume and making it professional, then moved on to creating my LinkedIn profile (even though I despised LinkedIn). When the time came, I was recommended jobs to apply for and taught how to filter through OSCARplus to find positions that best fit what I was looking for. I spent a session working on writing cover letters for those very applications, and when I finally got offered an interview, we practiced and made sure I was prepared for it.
This was essentially two semesters of working one on one and helping me stay on track to achieve my goal of securing a co-op position.
I’ll never forget the day I got the call saying I was offered the job because it was at the same time I was about to start my virtual meeting with Tanya. I ended up being late, but for a good reason I suppose, and it was only fitting that the first person I told the good news to was Tanya because she played a massive part in me being able to achieve this goal. It felt so gratifying to know that all of the hard work that I put in with CAPS ended up paying off. So, for the rest of the meeting, we celebrated this victory.
Having someone to support you and provide guidance throughout your career and even beyond is so valuable, and I think it’s wonderful that this is a service that students can take full advantage of. There are so many wonderful people who are more than willing to help you. If you are in a position where you could use a hand, or even just someone to talk to, definitely check out the CAPS team at McMaster.
Christian is a fourth-year Engineering (Technology) student who is currently completing a co-op as an IT support officer at a customer relationship management branch (Government of Ontario).
About Career Access Professional Services (CAPS)
Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) are for students and alumni who identify as a member of an equity-seeking group or have barriers to employment. Equity-seeking groups are made up of people who experience discrimination and social barriers that prevent them from receiving equal access to services and opportunities. Some equity-seeking groups include women; racialized persons; First Nations, Métis and Inuit; persons with disabilities; and the 2SLGBTQ* community.
The CAPS team provides individualized support to assist with all aspects of career development including exploration, preparation and the building of skills and confidence. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or book an appointment on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Appointments > Careers.
If you have an accommodation need to book an appointment, please email email@example.com. If you require any materials sent in an alternate format, please let us know.