Thompson Rivers University

9-to-5 no more: Camila’s Co-oped Up experience

February 10, 2021

Career and Experiential Learning asked co-op students to share how they navigated their remote working experiences. Above is Camila Castillo's second place entry.

Camila Castillo, a bright student in the Bachelor of Computing Science program, worked a co-op term this summer as a junior software developer—with a bit of a twist. She took on the work term from the comfort of her own home, which also meant little supervision. For Castillo, working remotely meant choosing her space and work hours but also having to self-motivate daily.

It took some time for Castillo to adapt to remote working and develop a routine. “For a while, I would stay in PJs all day. I realized that I needed some structure, so I started getting up at the same time every morning and getting ready like I was going to the office.” Her advice for staying productive?

  1. Prepare for the day. Changing into office clothing helped Castillo to begin her workday.
  2. Set the stage. Having a designated workspace helped with Castillo’s remote rebranding. 
  3. Embrace the flexibility. Not being restricted to a 9-to-5 routine, Castillo loved the freedom of flexible hours. “I could essentially complete code in my own time.”

Castillo had the advantage of having done co-op work terms on location before this working from home experience. “Working remotely, you need to be able to go through work with very little guidance. I personally really enjoy getting trained and having the possibility to ask a million questions.” Her previous work terms in the office helped Castillo gain the confidence she needed to work without supervision at home, so self motivated can officially be added to her resume!

Speaking from her own experience, Castillo urges more students to take advantage of the co-op program during these unprecedented times. “Working remotely is not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth it to try it out especially through the co-op program.”

Curious about co-op? Visit the Career and Experiential Learning website to learn more about the program.

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