Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall 2013 Co-op Newsletter

Co-op Student Newsletter
Stay connected to RIT, while gaining experience

Fall 2013 Issue Topics:
Co-op Factoids | Greetings From...Co-op Student Postcards | Make The Most Of Your Co-op| Returning To Semesters | Job Zone Tip: Uploading Transcripts | Things Going On Back Home | Decorating Your “Cube”

Fall Co-op Factoids
Number of students on co-op: 2,774  
Number of students on co-op internationally: 73
Number of companies employing co-op students: 1,573
Top 5 companies hiring the most students this quarter: Microsoft, General Electric - Aviation, Wegmans, BorgWarner Morse TEC, Advance Testing
Co-op city trivia:  
Two of our co-op students worked in Athens, Georgia last summer. Did you know that Athens is the home to “The Tree That Owns Itself”?  Legend has it that in the early 1800s, Professor William H. Jackson, out of love for a great oak tree on his property, deeded to the tree ownership of itself and the land within eight feet of it on all sides. The original tree fell in 1942, and a new tree was grown from one of its acorns. Its property rights have never been questioned. The tree even has its own Facebook page!

Greetings From – Co-op Student Postcards
We want you to feel connected to your fellow classmates who are also away on co-op. Here are some of the fantastic places they are right now along with some tips and stories from them on how to make the best of your co-op!

Send us your own co-op greetings --share your experience! Email Gretchen at if you are interested in being featured – include an engaging photo of you at work. Thanks!

Make The Most Of Your Co-op
We heard some great advice from our students, but we want to give you some tips of our own on what you should do to make sure your co-op an amazing experience and also how to benefit from it after it’s over. Some of you are just starting, some of you nearing the end. Rest assured, there are tips for all facets of co-op students.
1.  First, make a “co-op bucket list” It’s great to have an idea of what you want to accomplish at your co-op, even if you’re halfway through. These can be a combination of professional, social and personal goals. Maybe you’re in Philly and you want to try a real Philly cheesesteak, go swimming in the Atlantic, read War and Peace, see a Broadway show in NYC, ride a horse, or just plain ol’ getting caught up with Mad Men. Anything that YOU want to do! We encourage some professional things to, like reading a certain nonfiction book, learn a new skill, have a one-on-one lunch with your boss, etc.  Whatever you think can help you achieve success and happiness.

2. Make connections. Immediately when you start and before you leave, invite co-workers and supervisors to connect with you on LinkedIn, or other social media. Constantly network when you’re there. Those professional connections can help you later on.

3. Be social! You’re co-op will not be fun if you’re by yourself the whole time. Maybe you’re going on this co-op with a few RIT people, but maybe not so see if there is a Facebook co-op/intern group for that company, or if not, start one! Try getting other co-op students and interns together early on to hang out, go out to dinner, get to know each other. Before you leave, do the same thing. Your co-op experience is a thing to celebrate!

4. Explore the area. Get to know the culture of the city you are in. Even though you’re not from there, you might find some interest that you share with those from the city. Maybe you’re into gardening and the city you’re in had the nation’s biggest gardening expo… ANYTHING. There is bound to be something there for you. Think about attending events outside of work (and invite some work friends of course). Maybe choose a specific day of the week to just go around the city and explore with some friends. You can plan to go to events, or be spontaneous, whatever floats your boat.

5. Join groups/clubs. On top of just exploring what  that city has to offer, see what interest groups there are. You might find one through work, maybe a book club, film lovers, performing arts group, gamers, etc. This will give you something to look forward to outside of work and meet people with similar interests.

6. When you’re finished, make sure you’re actually finished. Don’t leave any loose strings. Make sure all of your projects are complete (in fact, some co-ops begin lightening your work load near the end of the co-op because they know you’ll be leaving soon) and you did them to the best of your ability. When you want your boss to write you a recommendation, you want them to remember that you did all of your work and didn’t drift off before you left. Then, make sure you say your goodbyes! Don’t just disappear one day (maybe you’re company is nice enough to have a goodbye party), so go around the office on your last day, make your rounds, hang out with your co-op friends one last time, and overall have a good time. Thank everyone for their support.

7. Lastly, fill out your report and get feedback from your supervisor. You need to fill out a co-op report every time you do one. It’s best to do it right before you’re done, so it’s still fresh in your mind. Then, make sure your supervisor fills out their work evaluation as well. Take time to sit down with them and maybe give you one-on-one feedback.  Constructive criticism is good and is a very professional gesture.

Returning To Semesters
We are in full swing of semesters here at RIT, but you all haven’t experienced it and when you come back you might feel like a fish out of water. Don’t worry, we thought of that. To ease any confusion or anxiety, we asked various students back home some questions to help you when you return from your co-op and to give you an idea of what semesters are like.

How do you like semesters so far?
“Semesters are way better than I thought they were. I sort of expected RIT to spontaneously combust, but that has not happened. Nothing really feels different except for having more time between tests. But when week 10 hits I think I'll feel differently when I think classes should be over...”
“I like semesters, but, overall, I think quarters were better. I liked having the longer classes with the shorter quarter length”
“Honestly, I don’t think I will really be able to have a true opinion on semesters until we pass week 11.  I am an Industrial Design major so almost all of my classes are still 3 hours long, so it doesn’t really seem too different…yet.
 “It is fine.  There have been no major issues I have noticed”

What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed?
“Classes started out a bit slower.  I didn’t have my first test until week 4, I know it would have been much sooner in quarters.  However, after the initial slow start things have picked up to what I think is a similar pace.”
“The biggest difference is the extra 5 weeks. It is strange not cramming in study time for midterms during week 5”
“Time between tests are longer. Nothing else feels different besides the whole 75 minute classes which is sort of weird.”
“The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that teachers are giving more frequent smaller quizzes (about every 2 weeks), rather than more in depth, large tests.”

What’s one thing you had to get used to really quick?
“Honestly, the hardest thing to get used to quickly has simply been saying ‘semesters’, rather than ‘quarters.’”
“I had to get used to the number of classes. I usually only take 4 classes or 5 that are much shorter time periods. So I also had to get used to balancing my homework as well”
“The shortness of the classes. It was strange only being in a class for 50 minutes as opposed to a hour and 50 minutes. Attendance is much less too because of these shorter class times. I think some students think they can miss a class without having to worry about falling behind like they did in the quarter system”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to students who are returning from a co-op in the spring?
“Go over your class plan/ schedule for graduation.  A lot changed and I can take less classes in a year which means I learn more about a subject, but get to choose less subjects.  It really changed my 4/5 year plan so make sure you are still on track to graduate when you want. “
“Go to class, take the time to study, don't slack off. The semester system may seem like it is easier as it may actually be easier, but if you start to get comfortable with the slower pace, it might bite you in the butt later.”
“It's just a quarter... and a half. Just roll with it!”
“Don’t worry too much.  RIT is the same school, you just have to change the way you describe the period of study, and might have some weird class times.  I would also advise to stay on top of your work and not get behind, just because there are 15 weeks instead of 10 does not mean there is extra time to fall behind.”

They most frequent statements students made were about:
1. Shorter class times
2. More spanned out testing
3. Different pacing
4. More classes

What advantage you do have over the students currently in semesters is that you will come back after professors had time to work out the kinks. Think of the current students as guinea pigs, if that helps! Don’t worry, you will ease in just fine.

Job Zone Tip
Firstly, we want to clear up a problem some students have been having adding an unofficial transcript document to Job Zone.
How To Add Transcript to Job Zone
Unofficial Transcripts are available in SIS (Note: you may have to unblock pop ups in your browser, Chrome recommended)
- Go to SIS 'Student Center'
- From 'other academic' drop down select 'Transcript: View Unofficial'
- From 'Report Type' drop down select 'Unofficial Academic Transcript' hit 'View Report' button

To avoid issues storing a transcript from SIS to Job Zone. Convert your SIS transcript to PDF first (this will avoid encryption in the PDF). We recommend Chrome as your browser - the print and save feature will give you a PDF without encryption. (Firefox does not have the same print and save feature)
1. View unofficial transcript in Chrome through SIS
2. In Chrome Right click and select Print, then click Change button and select SAVE as PDF using the Chrome pull-down options. (Note: Do not skip these steps and save the file. Also make sure you allow pop ups).
3. Upload to Job Zone 'Documents' (file size must be under 200kb)

This should solve any issue you’ve been having. Sorry for the inconvenience! Contact us if you have any questions. Now onto some awesome news

Things Going On Back Home

Brick City Homecoming
This past weekend was Brick City Homecoming Weekend! There were plenty of events going around campus. Thursday, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” came to campus to do a fun, interactive improv performance. Saturday, ABC’s “Shark Tank” investor, Daymond John, came to speak to students, put on by Saunders College of Business. Of course there was plenty of hockey, both RIT hockey teams played.

Fringe Festival
Two weekends ago was the 2nd annual Rochester Fringe Festival, a showcase of all forms of art, specifically performance, all around the city. RIT had plenty (Over 20!) performances from various groups including Eight Beat Measure, Encore, RIT Players, Ukulele Club, RIT Poets, NTID Masquers and many more all performing in downtown Rochester. RIT Played a huge part in Fringe Fest thanks to the fantastic and dedicated student body!

Decorating Your “Cube”
Some of you might have a nice, big office where it’s luxurious and private…

…the other 99% of you have small, cramped cubicles or are shoved behind a stack of printing paper and office supplies with no windows. It sounds bad, but we promise it can be better!

Try decorating your “cube”, as we will call it. Maybe you have heard of Feng Shui? If not, it’s the idea that the way you arrange you room can bring good into your life, such as happiness, luck, wealth, good health, etc. Now maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, putting my little desk cactus on the west side of my desk as opposed to the east side will NOT result in me getting a raise.” So you’re not a superstitious person, and that’s fine, BUT there is scientific evidence to prove that certain arrangements of your living space (when you work 40 hours a week, that’s considered a living space) leads to positive effects on your brain. When you’re in a positive mindset, you tend to be more outgoing, hardworking, friendlier, etc. and THOSE things lead to success. So decorating your work space might not directly cause good things, but it leads to it. SO, let’s get started on things you can do to make your work space more enjoyable during your co-op and to make you successful.
Try some lucky bamboo!
Make sure you follow your company’s standards first and foremost

1.       Bring some nature inside
Try to buy a small plant that is low maintenance, such as ivy, or bamboo. Not only does having some greenery feel nice when you’re stuck inside all day, but plants literally suck in pollutants and give off oxygen, so they are naturally filtering the air. That way when your boss throws another project on your lap, you can take a deep breath of clean air.    

2.       Bring a piece of home to work
Maybe this will motivate you...
We’re going to call these “visual breaks”. When you spend so much time in your cube, it’s nice to personalize it in a way that reflects yourself. Put things in that remind you of home; things that will get your mind off of something stressful when you look at it and remind you of life outside of work (nothing too distracting though). Maybe a cork board to pin (appropriate) pictures of your family and friends or a good movie/TV show poster will do the trick. This might also spur some conversation with your coworkers once they can physically see the things you enjoy most. Talking to other employees instead of being alone all day definitely helps your attitude.  Maybe this image will motivate you...

3.       Lighting and temperature
Lighting and temperature greatly affects your productivity. You can’t control the headache-inducing florescent lights beaming overhead; however focusing some light on other areas can reduce some of its annoyance. Maybe put a desk lamp, a dimmed lamp, colored lamp shades or even Christmas (string) lights in your cubicle. As far as temperature, if it gets too hot, bring a fan; if it gets too cold, bring a space heater (if allowed)    

4.       Use your own furniture
Who says you have to have the “standard” model of everything? Separating your workspace apart from others makes the whole experience seem unique, and you suddenly feel different. Try upgrading to a better, and comfier, chair. When you sit 7 hours a day, that chair makes a huge difference. Also consider desk accessories and extenders that make your desk more customized (even one that forces you to stand while you work, if you don’t like the idea of sitting all day)

5.       Lastly, HAVE FUN
There are so many ideas out there to make your cube extremely awesome. If you’re the creative type, look them up (Pinterest has some great stuff, You may have lots of work to do, but taking some time out of your day (or staying extra/coming in early one day) to do this might be one of the best payoffs.

If you’re into the idea of Feng Shui, start with this very basic direction guide ( and explore the rest of the site for almost every guide to Feng Shui.

Now go decorate and finish your co-op with style and happiness! 

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