If you are a current Co-op student, someone who’s about to begin their work term, or someone who’s thinking about possibly joining the program, this one is for you! I remember going into my first Co-op work term and finding comfort in reading about other students’ Co-op experiences. Not knowing what to expect can be scary, so being able to have a snapshot into what others have experienced or learned can offer some insights.
I began my journey at SFU in 2018 and Co-op had always piqued my interest, so I kept it on my radar as something that I would possibly do later on. Fast forward to 2020 is when I finally began my Co-op journey. It’s so surreal to think that this chapter of my life is coming to an end now. I’ve completed four Co-op terms in total in two different positions and I can say that it is the best decision that I’ve made while in university. (If you’re curious about what my other Co-op terms were like, click here and here to read about it more.)
One thing that I’ve realized is that your Co-op terms will come to an end quicker than you think, so truly cherish it and take the time to soak up all that valuable work experience and knowledge that you will encounter along the way. The work experience you gain is truly worth so much. You learn so much about the working world, that goes beyond what you learn in the classroom. My 8-month co-op term which turned into a 12-month term has quickly flown by. It really feels like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in on the Resume and Cover Letter Workshop.
There was so much for me to learn and experience so what I had to do was to really open my eyes and mind and embrace it all. What I loved about my current position was that I really got to immerse myself into different aspects of communications. I’ve been able to work on a variety of projects in this position and really have a feel of what I like and don’t like doing. From scheduling social media content to designing marketing materials on InDesign, I was fortunate enough to experience a bit of it all. Not only that but I was also surrounded by many wonderful and supportive colleagues. The wealth of knowledge and experience that they have offered me has made this a fulfilling experience. Not only did I grow professionally, but I feel like I was also able to grow so much personally as well. Really think about what you want to get out of the experience and go for it!
Everyone has different experiences no matter what, and Co-op is no exception. Your journey won’t be like mine, just like how mine wasn’t like other students. Part of the appeal of joining Co-op is that it could help you find your dream job or land you a position post-grad. While yes, that can be true for many, that wasn’t what happened for me, and that’s okay. Instead, Co-op helped me define my interests and goals and even taught me what I do and do not like to do, so I now have more career direction and understand my options better. What I’ve learned over the past two years is that it’s all about the experience. There is so much out there to explore. Don’t limit yourself and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Co-op is the perfect stepping-stone to discovering what you might want in a career and even what you might not want in a career.
It’s totally okay if you completed your first Co-op and it wasn't what you expected. Just because you didn’t come out of the experience finding your true passions or landing your dream job doesn’t mean you have failed or that you should give up. During my first co-op term, I feel that I experienced this. I felt lost in what I was doing as I didn’t completely love what I was doing. Instead of letting this deter you, look at it as the perfect chance to try something new. While my first Co-op gave me so much experience, it didn’t solidify my interests. I didn’t let this stop me from seeking again and ended up finding a position that really allowed me to explore communication more. So, if you’re in the same position...use this as a sign to keep going!
So, if you’re on the fence about whether to join CMNS Co-op or not, I say do it! Take the plunge and challenge yourself. Co-op is an adventure and it’s an adventure worth taking. Explore the world of Communication and see what’s out there for you to explore. And if you’re about to begin your Co-op journey or have begun it already, remember to really take in the experience. Take in all the knowledge that you can. You can do it! I believe in you!
A fellow Communication Co-op student