Journey with Habitat: Nate’s Co-Op Experience with HFHHM

Hi. My name is Nate. Nate Burguete. And I am a co-op student at Habitat. It’s as simple as that. But things weren’t always that simple…

On Friday May 26th at 9:49am I got a text from my co-op teacher telling me that the Manager of Volunteers and Program Services at Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, Shannon MacKenzie, was available for my interview at 10:30am. I made my way to Habitat’s main office for 10:00 on the dot. After that interview which, by the way, was my first interview ever, everything changed forever. I found a new style of writing, I found a new family, and, most importantly, I found my new best friend.

I’m a writer; always have been and always will be. I find writing an escape from reality. Literally. I write fiction. Writing is my everything. It is the thing that makes me…me. When I started my semester of co-op, I already had a co-op placement in mind and I had been talking to my soon-to-be instructor ensuring I still wanted to do that placement. I soon realized that this placement was not for me. There was nothing wrong with the instructor or the placement, I just found that it was nowhere near what I wanted to do after graduating from high school. Marketing, ugh.

Now, at Habitat, I am in the Marketing and Communications Department, but I wouldn’t exactly say what I’m doing is marketing. I’ve learned into a new style of writing: journalism! What a joy (no sarcasm whatsoever)! As I’ve described to Sherina, the summer student I work with at Habitat, I’ve always been in one lane in terms of the format of writing I do, that lane being fiction. But after this experience here at Habitat, I’m happy to say there’s a new lane for this young writer! I now know how to write fiction AND journalism-style articles. As a writer, it feels good to say that I no longer know just one style of writing. It’s also good for me as a writer to experience more formats than just fiction.

“It’s safe to say I’m not the same writer I was when I stepped into the Habitat building.”

Here at Habitat my tasks have included interviewing summer students, creating blog posts based on those interviews, taking high definition pictures of the summer students, editing, transcribing and working in the Restore. In the office I work with Sherina, Ryan and Nicole. I work most closely with Sherina. Her title is the Marketing and Communications Assistant. Her job is to write blog posts, post on social media and cover major Habitat events. Remember that best friend I mentioned in the first paragraph? Yeah, that’s Sherina. She. Is. A. Rockstar. Truly. She’s so smart, so funny, so witty.

Without her this experience would not be what it’s been. I mean, getting to know everyone really has been great. I think it’s destiny. Destiny. What a strong and powerful word, isn’t it? I mean, it just fits. Because there is absolutely, positively no way that Sherina and I were just paired together for the next month of our lives and we just so happened to get along so well. No. This happened for a reason. It wasn’t just the intelligent workings of Sarah Golan, Marketing and Communications Manager; the universe obviously had some say in this. I’ve always believed that. Destiny. The universe. The saying “Everything happens for a reason.” Sherina Harris and I met for a reason.

This isn’t goodbye. No no no. Not at all. This is more like “See you later!” My time with Habitat is far from over. I don’t think I’ll ever stop working with Habitat. I’ll always have at least one string attached. The bonds and friendships I’ve made are so endearing to me. Sherina, Ryan, Nicole, Sarah, everybody. Everyone is so kind and so loving. I’ve never met a more loving community of colleagues. Sherina has taught me to never be scared to try something new and to always jump out of your comfort zone. Habitat has done so much for me than the organization and people in it will realize. It reminded me that there are still good people in this world wanting nothing more than to help others. I’ve been blessed with this co-op experience here at Habitat and I will not forget things I’ve done here and the best friend I have proudly made.