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SFU Co-op Student

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Co-op is an amazing way to learn more about yourself and what you may (or may not) want to pursue in a career post-grad. You not only grow professionally but you also grow so much personally.

If you are anything like me, one reason that you might have applied for Co-op was because of the many success stories that you've read and heard about. You hear all these fabulous stories of students going through their Co-op term and learning that what they chose to do turned out to be their true passion. People tell you how they’ve found their dream jobs and that they now know what they want to be pursuing post-grad. While these stories can be so inspiring and motivating, I have realized that it’s also important to remember that it’s okay to come out of a Co-op term still unsure of what you may want to do. 

Going into my first seeking semester, I had an idea of the kind of role that I would be interested in but still wasn’t exactly sure. I enjoyed using social media and I loved my graphic design classes in school, so I was excited when I landed a position as a Social Media and Graphic Design Intern for a small non-profit. As this was my first Co-op work term, I didn’t have much experience aside from part-time jobs that mostly consisted of retail and customer service roles, and I wasn’t sure what social media and graphic design work would be like in a professional setting. I wondered, would this Co-op term confirm my interests and show me what I would want to pursue post-grad?

What I learned from my first Co-op term.

My first Co-op term taught me so much and I loved it. Everyone I worked with was amazing and the projects that I got to work on were extraordinary. But when it was over, I realized that what I thought I would want to do post-grad might not actually be what I want to pursue. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and graphic design, but I learned that this work might not be the exact fit for me. I discovered that I actually wanted to further explore the field of communications and see what else there may be. 

Just because you haven’t solidified your career path doesn’t mean you failed.

Co-op is all about the experience. You’ll never know until you try. It’s easy to forget about wonderful experiences and lessons that you have learned along the way when you don’t get the outcomes that you thought you were looking for. Don’t feel let down if you don’t come out of a Co-op term feeling like you have discovered your one true calling. 

Your first Co-op term will teach you a lot. Both about yourself personally and professionally. It is your first step into the working world, so you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road. Whether you’ve discovered new interests, solidified existing ones, or discovered that you may want to try something new, you have still experienced something totally new and exciting. It’s okay to come out of your first Co-op term without a solid plan of what you want to do post-grad. You tried something new and are a step closer to discovering your future calling!

It’s more than just about learning skills.

Co-op is an amazing way to learn more about yourself and what you may (or may not) want to pursue in a career post-grad. You not only grow professionally but you also grow so much personally. Not only did I gain valuable work experience but I’ve learned so much about myself. Just because you haven’t totally figured it out yet doesn’t mean you won’t. Now when you go search for your next Co-op or post-grad job, you have that perspective with you! You may even end up somewhere that you never expected or imagined. You got this!

man pointing at screen with words "you got this" on flashing on screen
Credit
@bublywater from Giphy
SFU Student Undergraduate
SFU Co-op Student

Posts by Author

Me on the right talking with one of my peers about the Burnaby Mountain gondola! I was enthusiastic about the project and engaging with the public.
Blog
What IS public relations? My Co-op experience with SFU Communications and Marketing

“What is public relations?" This question feels as vague as someone asking me what majoring in Communications studies leads to. I admit that I want to pursue a career path in this industry, but I have repeatedly asked myself this question throughout my academics. In my search to find out, my experience working as a Communications Assistant in SFU’s Communications and Marketing office has given me a clearer picture of public relations.

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Blog
What I Learned About Personal Values During My First Co-op Work Term

Your Co-op seeking term is full of opportunities. But without an idea of what you’re looking for, it can be overwhelming. As a newcomer to the communications field, I spent my first seeking term sifting through job after job like a deer in headlights, not knowing what to look for and where to look for it. Continue reading to learn how working with a company that shares my values enhanced my co-op experience.

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Blog
Why Co-op is the Most Important Thing You Can Do as an International Student

Being an international student from Bangladesh, I always felt that I did not have the necessary network to succeed in the Canadian workforce even though I feel strongly about my ability to work hard and grow. I felt anxious when looking at my peers who have been working in a job since the age of 16 whereas I was just getting started. This is when I was introduced to SFU Co-op. 

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

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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...

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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.

 

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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... Co-op Reflections

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How to Maximize Your Return on University Investment | Part One | Get Involved and Utilize On-Campus Resources

Have you ever wondered why you should go to university and what you have done to make your university life meaningful? Have you ever been in a situation where you have no clue of what to do with your life and how to start making every penny of your tuition fees worth it? Have you ever felt frightened when thinking about your future career? I was in the same position so I want to share some tips on how to not regret going to school and how to get ready to face your future!

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Life After Co-op: From Footballs to Law

As an SFU Co-op alumni Susan Seto is one of the many success stories of the the program. Since graduating in 2008 her co-op experience has shaped her career and changed her life.

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Challenges and Benefits of an Out-of-town Co-op

Adam Keizer, an Environmental Science major, was one of the nominees for the 2006 SFU Co-op Student of the year.  In the following article, Adam provides a personal account of his experience on a Co-op term in the rocky tundra of the far north, housed in a camp with only thirty other people.