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Harneet Kalkat

SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

“Be open to take jobs that are out of your comfort zone. Even if you aren’t sure if you can “do it”, take a chance because you never know–you might find that you’re much more capable than you think”
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

At first, I was very hesitant to take the position of a Wellness & Engagement Coordinator at an IT company; although it was something exciting and was within my scope of interest (health & business), there were a lot of uncertain aspects of this role that were outside my comfort zone. As a natural introvert, this role was heavy on communication & public speaking, and I wasn’t sure how well or if I could perform in this capacity. However, I decided to take on this challenge because I really wanted to grow my skills and thought that by pushing myself to do things that I wouldn't "naturally" do, I would gain more experience and expand my abilities.

During my Experience
Day to Day

Some of my day-to-day tasks involved setting up in-person and virtual events for over 600 employees across our office branches in Canada. This included in-person group volunteer events, blood donor appointments, fundraisers, virtual baking workshops, group hikes, and more. For these events, I communicate with many different vendors and people, I prepare and send company-wide communications, and oversee the event from start to finish to ensure its success. I also do other daily tasks: such as creating our monthly company newsletter and coordinating with the marketing team on social media posts.  

Learning and Adaptation

When starting this role, it was overwhelming at first because there were many new tasks to learn and carry out at once. This was also my first professional position where I had to learn how to communicate clearly in writing and verbally. I remember in the beginning, I sent an email to the entire staff with the wrong date of an event. I got many confused messages from people and I felt like it was the end of the world. Fortunately, everyone was very understanding, and it made me realize this was a much bigger deal in my head.

When starting out a new job and role, you can make many mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. Making mistakes is normal; after all, we are all human, and mistakes do happen. Even though I still carefully read an email 20 times before sending it, I quickly learned to be more forgiving with myself. This helped to relieve some of the strain that came with adjusting to areas of my work that I wasn't used to. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

Some of my accomplishments during my work term include presenting in our monthly company-wide meetings which included over 250 employees, collaborating with others both internally and externally on events, and being able to multitask and work on numerous projects within a given timeline. Additionally, I hosted employee engagement meetings like our book club and Co-op Connect, which encompassed all the co-op students at the company! At first, it was nerve-wracking as this was a completely new experience for me and was unfamiliar territory. If you had asked me 8 months ago to speak in front of a large group of people, I probably wouldn’t think I could do it, but after having to do it for my job, I discovered ways to make this process easier such as preparing in advance, knowing my topic and what I am speaking, and making notes.

Reflection & Tips
Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

I am grateful for my experience because I learned a lot during my co-op which has challenged me, enabled me to step outside of my comfort zone, and grow my skills and knowledge in many different areas. I was truly able to witness the value and good that my work was doing in continuing the company culture in a positive direction and the impact I can make. Exploring new experiences is a great way to grow and learn about oneself. I used to think that you either had it or you didn't, but now I realize that you can learn, grow, and change in the ways that make sense to you to succeed in your work or life. It’s okay to not be perfect; just take the chance and put yourself out there and you’ll be surprised by how much you’re capable of.