Skip to main content

Sara Milosavic

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Design

empty
image of the author
Your co-op term does not have to be super glamourous, but as long as you are open to the possibilities it may hold, you will find yourself to be much more enriched than when you first walked through the company doors.

Having spent eight months working in an office environment, I solidified my suspicion that office life is not for me. With that being said, I do not regret my first co-op experience at all. Why? Because it was the perfect starter job.

When I first began my co-op search, I told everybody that I would be working as a designer at Facebook or Google. But soon, the realization hit. I didn’t have the experience for those kinds of jobs! As a second-year student, I felt intimidated by these large companies with even larger expectations.  After working for SFU International Services for Students (ISS), I am now much more confident to look for future jobs. Although I did not necessarily gain the technical skills I may have been searching for in the beginning, here are the lessons and skills I did learn, and why I value them much more than any technical skill.

Pressure Equals Chaos
Laura Bailey

In my office, I was the only designer and communicator. We also had three separate teams, with different goals and audiences. This leads to a lot of people asking me for things. My biggest takeaway from this job is that it is KEY to remain calm and organized. Once you start stressing out, you begin to cloud your mind with everything other than the task at hand. My strategy is to write all tasks down.

It seems very simple, but it could be very easy to not write something down, leave the meeting and then completely forget about it (this has happened once or twice…)! I learned my lesson, and now I write a daily, and even weekly, a checklist to make sure I don’t miss anything in a panicked state. I have about 3 notebooks at my desk to keep myself focused and organized. Now maybe that’s a little excessive... but it works for me.

Personality Is Key

via GIPHY

You could be the most talented person ever, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t work in a team. People are much more likely to hire somebody with okay technical skills and great teamwork skills rather than somebody who is great at many software applications but terrible to work with. Besides, in this day and age, you can find a tutorial on almost anything. It is much tougher to learn communication and cooperation. As I mentioned, in my position I was the only designer and marketer. If I did not have proper communication skills, nobody would trust me or enjoy working with me.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Spock

The biggest risk I have ever taken was deciding to go on exchange within only a couple of weeks working at SFU ISS. It was now or never and I was in the perfect position to just do it. After all, my whole job revolves around marketing how great studying abroad is. I guess I did such a good job that I even convinced myself! What really helped was being surrounded by colleagues who were there to support me and offer advice on such a big decision for me.

Now enough of talking about me. How does this relate to you? This risk I took on had set the tone for the rest of my work term. I was in a creative position that often allowed to redesign things and my coworkers trusted me to create something fun and unique. I realized that projects like that were the perfect opportunity to take risks in my designs and learn new techniques.

However, I did have a strategy for this. I did not want to recreate an entirely new design and show it on the day of the deadline, only for my coworker to hate it. I would update past posters as a fallback and sprinkle in some of my new ideas so that they would be given multiple options. This allowed room for more open collaboration and feedback because I was not tied to just one idea. Now not only was I proud of the design, I knew my coworkers were happy to see their idea come to life as they had envisioned it as well.

The point of this story is to never turn down any job that is not your most “ideal, perfect job”. It is guaranteed you will gain something out of any job, whether it be more experience, skills or even just some good friends! What I have learned throughout my experience is that your co-op term does not have to be super glamourous, but as long as you are open to the possibilities it may hold, you will find yourself to be much more enriched than when you first walked through the company doors.

About the Author

Sara Milosavic

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Design

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Community Engagement, Professional Development, Personal Development, Life Balance

STC West Coast
Alumnus Profile: How Crystal Kwon Advanced Her Career Through Volunteerism

Students often overlook one important benefit of volunteerism. While students realize that scholarships and bursaries usually require community engagement, they often forget that volunteerism can also give you the edge you need after you finish your degree.

Kyle and volunteers
Kyle Jung: Expand Your Horizons through Volunteering

Did you know that you can make a difference through volunteering, as well as discovering your passions and career goals? These are just some of the benefits of volunteering, according to Kyle Jung, a 5th-year SIAT student who is also the Vice President of Operations, Interactive Arts & Technology Student Union (IATSU) and the SFSS Forum Representative.

Volunteers
Jordan Robinson: Volunteer, Learn & Have Fun!

Do you want to improve your writing and communications skills? Do you want to meet other SFU students? If you answered “yes” to any of the two questions, becoming a peer educator may just be right for you! Let Jordan Robinson, a 4th-year Sociology student, tell you what valuable skills and experiences.

image of the author
library_books
Blog
Lessons from a Co-op Outside of your Field
Personal Development, Co-op Reflections, Career Exploration, Workplace Success, Professional Development

When Sara began her co-op search she was set on Silicon Valley but soon realized a little local experience was needed. A semester working for International Services for Students at SFU gave her the skills and experience to more confidently pursue her dreams. 

image of the author
library_books
Blog
Lessons from a Co-op Outside of your Field
Personal Development, Co-op Reflections, Career Exploration, Workplace Success, Professional Development

When Sara began her co-op search she was set on Silicon Valley but soon realized a little local experience was needed. A semester working for International Services for Students at SFU gave her the skills and experience to more confidently pursue her dreams. 

You Might Like These... Workplace Success

Two girls looking at a computer together
Reilika Reminisces

Reilika, the third member of Career Friends, graduated with an Economics and Business degree in Europe. Coming to Canada was a difficult transition; but the Career Friends helped her be focused, develop new skills, and provide a network of support. Read Reilika's story to learn more. 

drawing of comfort zone
Stay In Your Comfort Zone!

We’ve all heard the phrase “comfort zone.”  We’ve probably all been told at one point or another to get outside of it, too. But what exactly does that mean?  We can make all sorts of fancy diagrams and models to illustrate the concept, but does that really do justice to lived experience?

Azmeet, author, smiling
Azmeet Dhillon: International Exchange in Mexico

What is it like to go on an international exchange?  Bachelor of Arts graduate, Azmeet Dhillon shares how her time in Mexico positively changed her personal and professional goals.