Starting my first co-op term, I was ready to learn from different experiences within my role, but nothing helped me learn more than the ambiguity I faced halfway through.
Working as the Social Media Assistant in the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Marketing and Communications department has been an amazing experience that I could not have received elsewhere. Having an inside look at how the staff and faculty work at the school I’ve been attending for the past three years has truly been enlightening. It has definitely taught me how different functions play into the greater scheme of things for a university. With this position, my goal was to learn more about marketing and business processes so I could transfer the skills to my human resources education. To no surprise, I learned a lot more.
Halfway through my co-op term at the Ted Rogers School, COVID-19 caused the school, and eventually the country, to close its doors and move into a digital realm. This was one of many experiences that I would learn from during my term.
Before that point, I was fully immersed in learning hands-on marketing strategies and methods for social media in the office. Being the front-runner in communicating with thousands of students, faculties and communities across the school, I have undoubtedly grown in my ability to communicate more effectively and professionally.
Once I began working from home, the challenges had definitely changed. I saw the world of marketing and social media through the lens of a global pandemic, and combined the output of my work with the doctrine of communal well-being and prosperity. A great deal of sensitivity took on a big part of my work. There were days when I had to be incredibly patient when waiting for updates to share with our community, which was contrary to our fast-paced work environment, or adaptable and agile enough to communicate recent news updates through all of our social channels. I was forced to endure and adjust to an unfamiliar way of conducting work; one in which I am proud to say I was able to overcome.
The first change was my writing style. The past few months of my term were spent perfecting my writing style for various social media platforms and posts. My style changed when the posts had to reflect the current situation, and that challenged the habit I had previously built. I did not have the luxury of time, as the news and its importance were clearly apparent, forcing me to re-learn my skill. I take the adversity I faced in my role as a learning lesson. I now start my day looking through news articles and spend my days seeking new information and becoming more knowledgeable than I was before.
The biggest challenge I had was working from home, but still keeping up-to-date with the world and our community. That was a very new experience for me. I learned that my organizational skills, as decent as I thought they were, needed to be refined even more. Ensuring that I woke up and ate meals at regular times was difficult as the kitchen was so close and I could bring my laptop there with me. Scheduling and being strict with myself helped create the atmosphere of being at work, and it helped keep me as productive as if I was actually in the office.
My time with the MarComm department at the Ted Rogers School might not have been the most conventional, but it was educational and fun. The added experience of working through a pandemic taught me lessons that will translate to other ventures I take on in my future. And, I can proudly say that I was able to share updates and news with my community during a time where community is so important. Whether it was in the office or over Zoom chats, the team I worked with was positive and uplifting, and helped me succeed through a challenging time. Thank you to Kaye Ann, Paul, Emily, Martha, Nadine and Debra for your guidance, opportunities for more projects and laughs. This experience was unforgettable, and I wish the best of luck to those who have to keep up with the team as this pandemic continues.