Skip to main content

Vanshita Sethi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

Vanshita standing in front of a wall with the SAP logo

Bzzt! You're staring down at the offer letter you've received from your dream company. Usually, this is where the chapter ends or the curtains fall on a very happy ending. No one prepares you for what comes next and if you're anything like me (an international student), you're even further removed from any immediate sage advice from your loved ones. Worry not! As someone who steered her own ship amidst stormy seas, I'm here to offer some do’s and don'ts that might just save you.

First day
  • Calm and composed wins the race: It's easy in writing, but this is one of the hardest parts to conquer - your mind. Whether you've landed at a small, medium, or large company, the amount of information coming your way can be immense. I stayed up till 2 am on my first day, just trying to figure out the various ways and means (platforms) the company used for its operations. Honestly, it can be very overwhelming and if you feel that way…good! It means you care about the position. Now this advice is going to sound outrageous but, you need to come home, draw yourself a bath (bath bomb it!), watch your favorite show while having a slice of 'za! Why? Because you've earned it, so treat yourself. You can't change the company on your first day, but you can change how you approach the rest of your days by treating yourself right!
  • The big 'Net' in Networking: If you've landed a company like SAP Canada Inc., networking would be super high on your list and I'm here to tell you, it shouldn't be. Don't get me wrong! Extending your 'net' and making connections holds great importance in corporate settings; however, if you focus on building that on your first day, it can become counterproductive. Networking comes with time and responsibilities. The key is to chase excellence; networking and success comes hand in hand.
First week
  • Listen more, talk less: I have an opinion, you have an opinion. We all have lots of opinions, of things that could improve the current system, maybe even transform it. Save them! The first week is all about listening and grasping, making the company your own. As you walk in the office, embodying the spirit and core values of the company, blend in and adapt to its ways. Hear people interacting (no, don't eavesdrop!) but keep your eyes and ears open at all times. This is a chance for you to perhaps catch a problem that even the titans of the industry couldn’t.
  • Don't be scared: This one’s a bit of a cliché and something you must have heard before if you've already done Co-op terms, but it still stands true. Know that once you're in, you're in! You shouldn't be scared of asking questions to your supervisors, fellow interns, or team members. Your team has to be a safe space for you to open up, and if you don't feel it that way, then perhaps there's a bigger conversation to be had with either your team or Co-op advisors. Don't be scared to let your Co-op advisors know how you feel during your check-ins and book frequent 1:1s with your supervisor if you need extra help.
First month
  • Leverage and polish your problem solving skills: First of all, congratulations on your first month! You're finally getting the hang of things and steadily understanding your role. Now, the real work begins. Remember when I told you to leash your analytical mind? Well, its time to go loco! This is a good place to slowly start thinking and building on solutions for certain problems you noticed. Why do it in the first place? Because like it or not, the company didn't hire you to do the same job previous interns have been doing in the position. They want your flair in their projects, events, workshops, conferences and so on. There is no pressure if you can't do it, you've still achieved a milestone by being in this position, but why stop there?
  • Don't give up just yet: If you're hired by a big company, there is a load of expectations weighing on your shoulders. That can be a lot of pressure for a mere teenager (I was 19 when I landed my role at SAP). It can get even worse when you've not settled in properly or if it's your first Co-op term (as was the case with me). I can't tell you not to feel that pressure, but perhaps try not to succumb to it. I felt like a failure in my Co-op term for a very long time until I gathered and fueled myself with as much confidence as I could. The secret is never to give up, and also 'fake it till you make it' but really, it's to never stop trying. The way is only forward!

Here's a list of do's and don'ts that I feel every Co-op student should be equipped with, however there is so much more to it. While I could have listed more pointers, somethings should be left for your own experience. Who am I? Well, I've made it clear that I was an intern at SAP Canada Inc. To be more formal with my designation, I'm Vanshita Sethi and I completed two Co-op terms at SAP Canada Inc. as a Global d-shop Communications Specialist. You can find me on Linkedin if you want to have a further discussion on my experience or just want a coffee chat!


Vanshita Sethi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
visibility  344
May 18, 2023

You Might Like These... Academic Success, Convocation, Professional Development, Major Decisions, Life Experience, Community

Photo of Aleeze Asif
The Journey from Business to Arts

Aleeze reflects on a major career decision that led her to switch majors from Businesss to SIAT and how that positively affected her life.

Balloons floating in the sky
How my First Co-op Position Inspired me to Dream

As an undergraduate student who decided to switch my degree from Psychology to Communication on a whim, I was very nervous about my future career path, especially since I felt like I was the only person that had no big dreams in life. Therefore, I decided to apply to Co-op to start piecing together my goals and ambitions.

A laptop on a desk with a site containing different scenic images
What did I do to Extinguish my Co-op Nerves?

This was it. I finished writing my resumes, successfully passed the interview process, and accepted the job offer with cheers of joy. I told my mother with a large grin on my face, but in the midst of my excitement, my smile slightly lowered, and a wave of nervousness washed over me.

You Might Like These... During the Work Term

Laptop on a desk next to a plant
Learning on the Job without an Expert to Guide You

I was the only communication person in my department; there were no experienced communicators to work closely with and learn from. I thought this situation would limit my room to learn, but surprisingly I gained valuable experiences and exercised skills that I didn't expect.

Liam standing with a notebook and a construction uniform
A Technical Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy

In the sentences that follow, you will learn five very, very important tips that, if heeded, will prepare you for a career in technical writing. If these tips don’t quite have the effect I’m suggesting, it’s not my fault–you probably did something wrong.

laptop showing online meeting with coffee cup beside
The Introvert’s Guide to Networking and Making Quality Connections

Networking can seem like a daunting task, especially for introverts who prefer quiet and solitude to socializing in large, noisy gatherings. Good news is that there are effective ways for introverts to build meaningful connections without straying too far from their comfort zones.