Skip to main content
Science › Biomedical Physiology + Kinesiology
SFU Co-op Student

YMCA Open House
Open House for the Flagship Health + Fitness Centre as a Co-ed Facility (1994)
YWCA Health + Fitness Centre
The simple act of engaging with other people, following up on a story that someone cared to share or exchanging a smile, can add to your day.

While job seeking for Co-op, I had my mind set on specific postings and that led me to sending out only a couple of applications over the first half of the semester. This summer, I had the chance to work for the YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, somewhere I was unfamiliar with prior to Co-op and a position I had overlooked while scrolling through Symplicity.

The YWCA Health + Fitness Centre is a co-ed facility and part of YWCA Metro Vancouver, a non-profit organization with employment, childcare and housing support services for women and their families. There are a variety of lifelines that keep this non-profit running. Knowing that the Health + Fitness Centre contributes to the longevity of the YWCA in Vancouver really added to my own job satisfaction.

Like every new environment, it takes some time to learn your role. The entire team was beyond supportive, helping me easily transition from lecture hall to full-time work. My position as the "H+F Assistant" immersed me into the world of fitness, whether it be interacting with the wonderful members, instructors and coaches or implementing a circuit that I learned to plan for a group fitness class.  Occasionally, some members were wondering what role I played because I was able to be a part of a variety of things, from corporate events to the front-desk.

I was encouraged to participate in as many group fitness classes as I could. I stepped into each class excited to see what different instructors offered from a burpee-filled Bootcamp to a lively DanceFit class. My heart rate fluctuated and muscles sung alongside other dedicated group fitness goers.  Evidently, the YWCA values work-life balance and exercise has contributed to my own balancing act.  It was an additional bonus to be able to use what I was learning in my online exercise course that I took at the same time (“These type of intervals are working my muscular power!”).  Getting additionally certified alongside my degree is on my list of pursuits.

Every day, I was actively involved in making the YWCA H+F Centre a member-oriented environment.  To be a part of the weekly team meetings allowed me to put together the pieces that I was uncovering about how large businesses in this industry operate and innovate.  I was able to see organizational concepts like workplace health and safety, organizational structure (explored in BPK 381: Psychology of Work) unfold and realized the importance of marketing, member recruitment and retention at a business standpoint. 

The most invaluable thing that I take away from this Co-op term would be how pivotal communication is.  The simple act of engaging with other people, following up on a story that someone cared to share or exchanging a smile, can add to your day.  I was able to share my current projects, curiosities and concerns with the team and by asking questions and being open to feedback, it helped me grow and confidently make decisions when executing my own projects. 

Four months later, I'm grateful to have sent out those extra applications that I initially looked past when only focusing on jobs that seemed directly related to my studies in Occupational Ergonomics or my interest in rehabilitation.  Being open to new experiences whether through your job search or other domains of your life can open up possibilities to cultivate your skills, discover new places and learn from people that you wouldn’t have, unless you tried.

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Jeanie on LinkedIn.
visibility  117
Aug 27, 2014

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.


person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.


You Might Like These... Graduate Students

photo of author smiling while holding a pipette and a test tube, working in a lab
The Proverbial Foot in the Door | Part One

Feeling stuck on the outside of the job market looking in? Need experience for a job but a job for experience? Read how one Master of Resource Management candidate made his way out of “the trap”.

A photo of a studio
Quarter-Life Crisis: It's Real

It's no secret that young people entering the workforce today are facing very different challenges than generations past. "Quarter-life crisis" emerged to describe the experiences many young people were going through as they struggled to establish themselves in adulthood. But what does this phrase really mean?

Meghan Ogden at a information desk
Developing an Understanding of Non-Profits

Meghan shares the benefits of working at a non-profit based on her experience at the Multiple Sclerosis Society.