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Charlene E. Chang

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology

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Cherlene
Think positively. Change your attitude to debunk Co-op myths of self-defeat, and rise to the challenges ahead.

The only person standing in your way is you. Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to believe we are not good enough.

“I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” 

- Charles R. Swindoll 

Whether it be attributable to not landing a co-op position and subsequent feelings of inadequacy or not, the first step is to believe that you can achieve what you set out for. Attitude matters. The next time you look in the mirror at your reflection, remind yourself that you matter. Changing your attitude allows you to debunk co-op myths of self-defeat, and rise to the challenges ahead. 

Myth 1: It Is Too Early to Apply for Co-op

Truth: Pre-requisites for co-op such as BOL I and the Co-op Workshops need to be completed prior to your first work term. These pre-requisites as well as job applications take time. Plan accordingly and check out the SFU Co-op website for more information. 

Myth 2: There Are No Co-op Positions Apart From Those Found in MyExperience.

Truth: Self-directed co-ops are not posted in MyExperience. You can find a full-time paid work experience, and designate it as a co-op term. Keep your eyes open for job opportunities from LinkedIn connections and read about how to go about creating a self-directed work term.

Myth 3: if I Do Not Meet the ‘Preferred’ Requirements, I Will Not Be Hired

Truth: Preference may be given to candidates meeting requirements, but that does not mean your application is automatically discarded. Oftentimes, eligible candidates do not apply to postings, because they are not directly related to their field of study. Think outside of the box and apply for a position outside of your major. Emphasize your SMART transferrable skillset; how you are able to think on your feet and learn. Besides, the benefits of setting SMART goals are to achieve and accomplish what you set out for.  

Myth 4: If Other Candidates Are More Experienced in the Field, I Will Not Be Hired

Truth: While related experience is important, you can highlight your passion, relevant coursework, and soft skills. Employers value candidates who are well-rounded. Those who not only maintain a decent CGPA, but are equipped with volunteer or work experience and leadership skills. Check out the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) for interesting clubs to join, as well as leadership opportunities in helping run the clubs. 

Myth 5: When Hired, Employers Expect You to Know How to Do Your Job

Truth: The first week is a steep learning curve, but it’s okay. Feel free to ask your supervisor questions. We all progress by making mistakes and learning to correct them. The key is to have a strong, supportive network of friends, family, and fellow co-op students alongside you, to encourage your journey towards finding your passion. For me, although I completed my high school in Hong Kong and moved to Canada for my undergraduate degree, I still keep in touch with friends and family in Hong Kong. 

Think positively. Change your attitude to debunk Co-op myths of self-defeat, and rise to the challenges ahead. Accomplish what you set out for.

About the Author

Headshot of Charlene

Charlene E. Chang

SFU Co-op Student
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology
Cherlene E. Chang is a research assistant, collaborating with Prof. Stephen Robinovitch and Dr. Kim van Schooten at Simon Fraser University. She is a 3rd year B.Sc. candidate with a Kinesiology Major and Gerontology Minor in Co-operative Education, and a President’s and Dean’s Honour Roll recipient. Her research focuses on spatially mapping older adults fall locations in long-term care, to study how falls associate with intensity of resident use and environmental factors. Her future aim is to inform human resource allocation and environmental interventions, such as compliant flooring to prevent injuries. 

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