Co-oping on campus
Travel the world? Or stay in Yellow Springs?
Co-op, to me, seems to be the time to get out of Ohio, to go travel somewhere far and new, and to experience new things. Sometimes, however, it can end up with you landing much closer to home. That has been my experience for my second co-op, a job in the offices of Admissions and Student Success.
At the end of my fall quarter of 2019, I had no idea what I wanted to do for the winter term co-op. For my first co-op, I had had two terms and all of the ND block to figure out what I was doing in the spring, but this planning period had been much more rushed. So in the end, I turned my part-time student job into a co-op thanks to the willingness of my employer on campus, and I was able to have a better experience than I could have ever expected.
When students co-op on campus, some will choose to continue living on campus, and others may choose to move into town. For me, as an RA, staying on campus was the obvious choice, and even if I hadn’t been an RA, to me the pros of being on campus outweigh and cons. When students go on co-op, especially for their first two, they will likely be on co-op at the same time as their whole class. This was the case for me, and although I was at first sad to see many of my friends going off and away for their experiences, including two close friends who were headed to the city of my first co-op, El Paso, Texas, living on campus while my class was gone forced me to make new friends with the people of other classes, and caused me to become a lot closer with the people in my own year who also elected to stay on campus. Another major benefit of staying on campus is not having to worry about your accommodations. I was able to stay in the same room I had been living in for the Fall, so I didn’t have to worry about moving or finding a new place to stay, and the food I can get in Birch Kitchens is way better than anything I could ever cook myself and it was nice to not have to worry about groceries and cooking, which was probably the most stressful part of my first co-op for me personally.
Another benefit of co-oping on campus is the opportunity to take a class while working, if it fits in your work schedule. This past term, I took the class Community-Based Qualitative Research (CBQR), which was a methods class rooted in political economy and community psychology, based on the ideas of community and praxis, praxis meaning it had a focus on action rather than just on generating theory. This class, which was co-taught by two of my favorite professors, ended up being one of the coolest, but challenging courses I have ever taken and been able to have it as my only class while on co-op allowed me to put the time and focus into the class that I needed to have to be successful in it.
Finally, the last, and to me greatest, the benefit of working on campus is being able to see your full-time work impact the Antioch Community. Through my job, I was able to directly contribute to the student success of the community, through supporting the student success coordinator in her day to day task and by creating and running events that I believed would be beneficial to the community, and at the same time was able to continue to, on a stronger level, contribute to the admissions mission of Antioch. Co-ops with campus employers tend to have a lot of room for flexibility in the work you do, so I was able to do a moderate amount of work in several places around campus and was able to get exposure to a lot of different areas of work, all of which careers I have considered pursuing after college.
Overall, I am incredibly glad I choose to spend my second co-op on campus. It was the most convenient life-wise, opened up a lot of social opportunities, allowed me to take an incredible class, and let me do work that I could see directly benefiting the community I live in year-round, the Antioch community.
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About Asher R. ’22
Asher is a member of the Class of 2022 studying cultural anthropology. His interest includes community studies, community-based research, social media, and civic engagement.
Asher comes to Antioch from his home state of Maryland, and since arriving on campus, has been a student representative and a treasurer for Comcil, involved in campus activism, and has worked as a campus RA.
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