By Charles Lewthwaite
Final exam season can be a consuming and tireless time for many students, especially ones trying to land an engineering co-op. The idealistic notion that this is the year that you’re going to stay ahead in all your classes has probably vanished and the survival instincts have kicked in. If that isn’t you, I applaud you, but this was the case for myself and most of my colleagues last April as we wrapped up our second year of Electrical Engineering at BCIT.
Our program slotted all six exams within an eight-day period with lectures running right up until the first exam. Needless to say, this was a recipe for desperate scenes involving coffee pots, energy drinks, and an inordinate amount of Tim Hortons breakfast sandwiches.
At this point, you may be wondering why you’re reading this rather bleak student experience on a company website… trust me, it gets better!
The story picks up around 1:00 a.m. one fateful day during this end-of-semester darkness. I accepted that I wasn’t going to get an engineering co-op placement for the upcoming summer and was trying to sort out what entry-level job would provide the best perks (a MEC discount might come in handy). Anyways, I grinded away for my upcoming Statics and Dynamics final, when I decided to relieve my brain from the toils of angular motion and decided to amuse myself by checking the co-op portal one last time for any new job postings. As I opened the webpage, I came across a new posting by a company with a rather unique name: Hedgehog Technologies.
A wave of excitement washed over me as I dove into their job description and any thought of statics or dynamics was quickly sidelined by this fresh opportunity for an engineering co-op. Then I shifted over to their website and social media accounts where my excitement only grew. Not only did the job posting sound great, but Hedgehog had their hands in exciting industries that I had not seen from the other companies looking for co-op students. Areas such as renewable energy solutions, smart microgrids, roller coasters/thrill rides, and harsh and hazardous environments to list a few.
I was hooked, this was the type of company I had been looking for. I immediately crafted a cover letter, re-tooled my resume and submitted an application as the clock inched towards two in the morning. Part of me thought I should jump back into my angular motion review, but all I could think about was, Damn, I hope I get to be a hedgehog.
See, I told you it would turn around!
A few days passed before I received that elusive “we would like you to come in for an interview” email that every aspiring co-op wishes for. I was overjoyed, and amidst an overbearing exam season, a gleaming Hedgehog was suddenly shimmering in the distance. All I had to do was make my way through their interview process...and I thought exam season was tough (just kidding).
I ended up having two interviews with the Hedgehog team and throughout the process they made me feel very welcomed. The interviewers asked fair and thoughtful questions that led to great conversations about everything from mine and their backgrounds to the nature of the company work. The interviews were so well-balanced between technical and non-technical components, which added to a great overall experience.
A day after the second interview the once distant shining Hedgehog was now in my grasp, they offered me an engineering co-op placement for the summer. The Damn, I hope I get to be a hedgehog dream became a reality.
Charles Lewthwaite is a 4th year Canadian electrical engineering student at BCIT in his 2nd summer co-op work term with Hedgehog Technologies.