Skip to main content
Co-operative Education

empty
Girl smiling with a landscape background
I learned to accept that whether my ideas worked or not, what matters is that I know that I put my best foot forward.

Having self-confidence has consistently been a goal of mine to achieve. And for a long time, I would get scared at the thought of pursuing Co-op positions as I thought that it would surely make me feel less confident about myself. But little did I know, my experiences in Co-op have been one of the biggest factors in building my self-confidence.

In my Co-op term this summer, I went from being in a marketing team of 5 to a team of 1. I had to handle every aspect of marketing from social media to website design to email marketing to supporting PR and more. It has definitely been overwhelming and challenging. And with the added pressures of working remote, not knowing anything about the industry, and doing it all during a global pandemic, it sure was a tough start. But throughout the 3 months, I went through big changes internally. I have learned to trust myself and to take pride in my work. I have learned to take initiative and believe in my own ideas. And I learned to accept that whether my ideas worked or not, what matters is that I know that I put my best foot forward.

Here are 5 tips I learned in my Co-op term that can help you build your self-confidence:

1. Think About What You’ve Already Achieved

It’s easy to lose confidence if you believe you haven’t achieved anything. But guess what? You got the job - that is already an achievement itself! To help jumpstart my confidence at the beginning of my Co-op term this summer, I made a list of all the things I have accomplished from my academic work and past Co-op jobs: whether it was acing that one interview, completing that project, or even making a friend at work. And I suggest you do the same. Keep that list close by and add to it whenever you do something you’re proud of. On days when you’re low in confidence, pull out that list and use it to remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve done.

2. Set Some Goals and Celebrate Every Time You Complete Them!

Set goals for your Co-op term and list out the steps you need to take to achieve them. They don’t have to be big goals; they can even be things like learning how to use a new software, writing your first blog, or creating your first Instagram story. Just aim for some small achievements that you can tick off a list to help you gain confidence in your ability to get stuff done. And also make sure you celebrate them! Congratulating yourself on ticking off even a few things on your list can collectively contribute to the way you see yourself and will help you build a positive attitude.

3. Embrace your Creativity

If you're like me, you see the world differently in your own creative lens; don't be ashamed of that! In fact, use it. Many employers value and often encourage creativity and using your own perspective to drive new and innovative ideas. And well, they hired you for it. Embrace it and find creative ways to incorporate a bit of yourself into your work.

4. Strategize Your Work Based on Your Strengths and Weaknesses

In any Co-op term, there is no doubt that at one point you may find yourself having a longer list of to-dos than usual. Take a breather and mentally reflect on your work. Knowing your strengths and weakness will contribute to your confidence and awareness of skills. Recognize what you’re good at and how you can build on it. Use your weaknesses to help you motivate yourself to improve in those areas. What also helps on a day-to-day basis is recognizing what you deem are the most challenging tasks and the most enjoyable tasks. You can schedule your day so that you take on the most challenging tasks first and reward yourself at the end of the day with the tasks you enjoy doing the most.

5. Be Your Own Cheerleader

Being kind to yourself is probably the most important aspect of gaining self-confidence. You’re never going to feel confident if you continue to fill your mind with negative commentary. Think about your self-talk and how it is affecting your confidence and your work habits. Treat yourself like you would with your best friend or co-worker and cheer yourself on! Believing in yourself long enough will surely help you get the job done and build your self-confidence.

SFU Student Undergraduate
Co-operative Education

Posts by Author

girl with safety hat, vest, and glasses standing in front of construction site
Blog
There’s Nothing Scary About a Steep Learning Curve

I was determined to find a position during my Co-op search to anywhere I thought was interesting. When I saw PCL had an opening, I applied, even though I didn’t know anything about construction. While I had no experience in construction marketing, I was still intrigued and applied. Continue reading to learn about my experience in taking the challenge of diving into a new industry. 

person typing on laptop which is on white round table
Blog
The Perfect Cover Letter That Will Get You Hired

I can write a solid resume, interview well, and make sure that my online presence is on point. The one thing that’s always been a struggle? The dreaded cover letter. Continue reading as I highlight some of my top tips to selling yourself and securing that interview.

Girl wearing a pink bucket hat smiling at the camera
Blog
Defeating My Inner Saboteur – Working with a Learning Disability

I never felt that I was good enough from my early years. I was a child that frequently struggled in school. No matter how much I put my heart and soul into projects or homework, I felt constantly knocked down. So a mix of excitement and dread came over me when I was notified that I was accepted into the Knowledge Network Co-op. Continue to read about how I defeated my inner saboteur and learned to work with a learning disability. 

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... Co-op Reflections

Parliament Buildings National Historic Site of Canada
Alcatel-Lucent University

General Studies student Zahra did her co-op in Ottawa in a business role.  She shares about her duties as a Program Coordinator. This article was originally published in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Summer 2012 newsletter.

Pat Chaisang standing in front of SAP's sign
Five Easy Hacks to Excel at your Co-op!

When it comes to an experience of a lifetime like an internship, the one question we ask ourselves over and over again is “how do I make the most out of this experience?” In this blog, I would like to share with you five game-changing strategies that you can start implementing at work!

Wes Regan standing outside of work
Alumni Profile: Education Opportunities in Environment & Sustainability

SFU Faculty of Environment alumni Wes Regan graduated with a BA in Geography and two certificates in Urban Studies and Sustainable Community Development. Since then, he has become a successful contractor/consultant in Community Development and Urban Planning.