Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Co-op (Part 1)

A couple months ago, I was in a state of total confusion. It was mid February and course selection for the following school year was just a couple weeks away. I was having a lot of trouble choosing my courses for the pivotal junior year, despite having made multiple appointments with my guidance counsellor. We talked about the different course I could take in grade eleven, but no matter what he said, in the end, the choice was up to me. I couldn’t decide between taking a two-credit co-op or photography and an introduction to anthropology, psychology, and sociology; I’m the kind of person who wants to do everything. I debated the idea of going to summer school in June, which still would have only allowed me to take one of the two. After a long discussion, my guidance counsellor informed me, “You know that you can take summer co-op, right?”

I shook my head no. “Summer co-op?” I repeated, already warming up to the idea. I figured that if I took summer co-op, I’d be able to take two courses during the school year while doing something I enjoyed during the summer.

“Yes,” my guidance counsellor replied. He told me that the forms would be available in the following weeks and I quickly thanked him and left. He couldn’t have mentioned the summer co-op option at the beginning of our discussion...

In March, the summer co-op forms arrived and I diligently filled them out. Summer co-op is different from regular school-year co-op; it’s more competitive as there are 300 placements but around 500 students who want to participate in the program. There are two rounds of interviews. The first interview determined whether one got into the program or not and the second interview would be with the potential employer at the potential placement.

Yesterday, I skipped last period to prepare for my second interview. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I had been for the first round, which in retrospect should have been the simpler of the two. I went home and fixed myself some of my mom’s beef vegetable soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. In my haste, I had turned the heat up too high and ended up burning both sides of the sandwich. Not the tastiest thing, unless you like half-burnt food like my aunt.

My hunger satiated, I began to think about what I was going to say in my interview. I reviewed my mental notes on the way to the bakery, trying to focus myself on the task at hand. My mind drew up blank. I had no idea what to say about myself. I really wanted to work in a bakery, but I couldn’t seem to arrange the words in my head as to explain why. I arrived there with five minutes to spare, so I decided to try to collect my thoughts before heading in. No such luck; after two minutes, I just decided to go in and get it over with.

The moment I entered the door, my nervousness evaporated. This was my one shot to impress my potential employer and my mind was ready to just let all the anxiety go. Baking was something I could do and I could do relatively well; the one thing, if above all else, that I didn’t need to be nervous about. Thirty minutes later, I was accepted for the placement.

I was ecstatic; this would be my first job experience. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up—the kitchen is going to be really hot in the summer and my employer had told me that my job would most likely consist of scooping cookie dough—but I can’t help but be excited. This will be the first summer that I’m doing something that I actually want to do. My last two summers were spent studying music history, which one should never study unless he or she actually has an interest in the subject. I remember wanting to tear my hair out from all the studying I did.

This summer is going to be different; I just have a feeling. This summer is going to be all about me and doing things that I want to do. I’ll finally have the time to slow down and just smell the flowers.  

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