BA 2009: Double Major, English and Psychology

Past work terms:

Work term 1 (4 months): Archival Assistant, Bowen Island Historians Museum Archives

Work term 2 (4 months): Content Services Assistant, Research in Motion

Work term 3 (8 months): Technical Writer, Kodak Graphic Communications Canada Company

“I’d like to say that my co-op experience has taken me all over the world, but perhaps that adventure will be saved for another day.”

However, while Jeanie hasn’t been globe-trotting, her work terms did take her to some pretty amazing places in Canada: she smoothly transitioned between work terms in Bowen Island and Burnaby, BC, to Waterloo, ON, and, later, to Montreal, QC.

“My first work term was at the Bowen Island Historians Museum and Archives, and that was completely unexpected because I was so absorbed in taking pictures of the island scenery after I got off the ferry that I arrived late for the interview,” Jeanie recalls sheepishly. Jeanie adds how she was, at first, reluctant to accept the offer of archival assistant at the museum. Born and mostly raised in Hong Kong, she thought that neither living on an island with only 3000 people nor commuting from downtown Vancouver every day by bus and ferry sounded appealing. When she sought advice from the UBC Arts co-op coordinators, they reminded her that one of the benefits of co-op is the potential to explore various career options, in a variety of settings; how could she decide she didn’t like the job without trying it first. Armed with that advice, pointers from students who previously worked at the museum, and the thought that, even if she didn’t like it, it would only be for four months, Jeanie accepted the position. “I worked with another UBC Arts co-op student, and we rented a place on the island only 10 minutes walk away from the museum. It was probably the most idyllic and tranquil four months in my life, in a good way. We picked berries on the way to work, saw deer lounging on the museum front yard, enjoyed the island scenery, and things like that. Our place didn’t have internet, so I read a lot of novels, which was great!” adds Jeanie.

“The co-op program has opened my eyes to the boundless number of jobs in our workplace, wherever they are, and the variety of positions an Arts student is capable of excelling in. For example, I never thought of myself as a ‘technical’ person, but my past three work terms have been with high-tech companies

Given all this, it is not surprising that Jeanie’s topmost advice to new co-op students is to “be brave and try everything.”

“Don’t give up on high-tech companies just because you don’t know how to take your computer apart and put it back together in one piece. Don’t be afraid to work outside your safety zone. There are co-op opportunities practically everywhere, and the UBC Arts co-op office is really good at looking for ever more diverse job options.”

Jeanie will head to Montreal this fall for a stint with the Canadian Space Agency. “To infinity and beyond!” says Jeanie laughingly.