Seeing as I am now officially a Junior, and am embarking on my second of three internships in my undergraduate career, I feel as though I should really document my experiences somewhere. What better place than my blog! Now this isn’t some college profile spotlight or anything, but if this can help any soon to be graduating high school kids out there, well then that’s a plus.
I want to explain today about a unique program at my undergrad school I am attending now: Drexel University.
Since 1919, Drexel has had a huge cooperative program running to current day.
A cooperative program for those at home who don’t know is where students can get hands-on training in a real world job before graduation. It’s often compared to as an extended internship since coops tend to last at least 6 months. The university even helps you find jobs internationally and across the United States, although it focuses predominately on Philadelphia businesses, institutes, and other positions.
As a university mostly known for engineering and a bit of science, this is great for their graduates. Depending if you choose the 4 or 5 year track, you can leave with an undergraduate degree with about 1.5 years of work experience. A wonderful resume booster if you need it, which can give you a leg up on the competition for jobs after school. And more importantly a great way to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Now of course, there are down sides to this:
- No summer vacations
- Truncated semester system = 10 week quarters
(however you expected to still learn the same amount of material as a normal 15-week semester in other universities)
- Difficult to take classes while on coop, could cause potential graduation delay with poor planning
- You need to suffer through Drexel’s
ridiculousvigorous grading and forfeit a normal social and family life for your GPA
As for me, I am a biology undergraduate in the 5 year program on plan to have 3 coops. My main goal through these experiences is to decide if I want a job in a clinical or lab setting, teaching in academia, doing medical research, or something completely different like museum arts in science.
- In spring-summer 2011 my first was with the City of Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD).
- My second and current coop is with a huge biopharm company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
I will be writing about my experiences (particularly with GSK) soon, so be on the look out if you are interested in such potential fields with a biology degree :D!
Thanks for reading!