My time as a co-op student at City Hall is coming to a close, and now I have the opportunity to reflect on my placement. Marianne told me I could write about what I’ve learned, what I’ve taken away, or any of my observations. I’m only three sentences in, and I can already tell that this is going to be a tough article to write. Where do I begin?
I’ll start with the beginning. At first, I was slightly intimidated to march up to the councillor’s floor every single morning and sit in Marianne’s office to do work. That changed within the first two weeks after I saw how welcoming everyone was. The assistants Rosemary, Francine, and Sheri were always there before me in the morning to say hello as I walked through the door. Rebecca and Kathy helped me out a lot for my final summative project by going around the building with me, trying to find assorted buttons and pins. Georgie was always there to help me find any information that I needed, and also put up with all of my questions that I asked.
Going to public meetings, events, and even some business meetings really intimidated me because I’ve never been to anything like that before. When I went to my first Burlington Downtown Business Association meeting I was pretty hesitant about it all. I was surprised that Marianne was taking me to these events and even letting me write about them on her website. That’s probably the major aspect of this placement that I didn’t see coming, and that was Marianne actually published some of my own articles. I wasn’t just some kid sitting in their office all day doing minimal work, because boy, did they ever put me to work! From formatting the hardcopy newsletters, to adding events to the online calendar, I always had something to do.
Being at City Hall has also shown me how our municipal government works. I have seen how people really act in our city, with good or bad manners. A city councillor’s job is a lot of work and filled with a lot of responsibility. It’s hard (almost impossible) to make everyone happy when people have different opinions. Don’t even get me started on parking!
I’m almost done, hang in there. I talked about how I was intimidated in the beginning about my placement, however now I can say that my confidence has grown, not only in my writing but also as a person. I’ve learned how to handle an interview over the phone (thanks to Brian Dean for putting up with my pestering questions), talking with people I’ve never met before at meetings, and even just introducing myself. All of the tips that Marianne has given me about writing so the readers can fully understand what I’m saying have helped me a lot. Georgie has shown me how teamwork makes the dream work. She’s very in tune with Marianne’s schedule and seems to always lend a helping hand.
I haven’t forgotten about you though. Yes you, you’ve read nearly this entire article. Even if this is your first time reading my work, I’d like to say thanks. I tend to blabber on about topics but I try to keep it interesting, so thank you for reading the co-op student’s work. Maybe you’ll read more of my work in the future, who knows. I do know that I still have lots to learn, and with this chapter under my belt I feel excited. For anyone interested in doing a co-op placement with Marianne and Georgie at City Hall, I have to say you will not regret it.
My Take: We will miss Claire dearly and all she contributed to our office. When she first approached us we wondered if we’d have enough work for her; that quickly became concern we would overwhelm her! But Claire stepped up to everything we threw at her. We don’t know how we’re going to keep up with the work load without her! We learned as much from her, as she us, and appreciated the fresh perspective she brought as a young person. Claire, you will do well whatever you set your mind to. Be curious, courageous and compassionate, and say what needs to be said in your writing. That combination will take you go far.
Are you a high school student looking for a placement in writing or municipal government? We are taking applications for the fall and winter terms. Contact Georgie.Gartside@burlington.ca