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Hyebin Lee

She
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Design

My experience as a Design and Research Assistant at SFU Co-op was incredibly valuable as it provided me with hands-on opportunities to nurture creativity, contribute to meaningful research, and foster personal and professional growth in a dynamic working environment.
Experience Details
Semester
Spring
Summer
Year
2023
Skills
Application and Interview Tips

Application Tips:

  1. Tailor Your Resume & Cover Letter: Customize your resume and cover letter for each job application to highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the position. 

  2. Research the Company: Thoroughly research the company's values, culture, products, and recent achievements as understanding their goals and vision demonstrate your genuine interest during interviews.

  3. Follow Instructions: Pay close attention to the application instructions provided by the employer. Submit all required documents and respond to any specific prompts in a clear and concise manner.

Interview Tips:

  1. Practice Common Interview Questions: Prepare responses to common interview questions like "Tell me about yourself," "Why do you want this job?" and "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

  2. Questions: Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company culture, team dynamics, and the challenges and opportunities the position offers.

  3. Body Language & Attire: Dress professionally and maintain positive body language during the interview. Make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and sit up straight to convey confidence and professionalism.

  4. Research Your Interviewers: If you know the names of your interviewers beforehand, research their backgrounds and roles within the company. 

  5. Soft Skills: Emphasize your soft skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. 

During my Experience
Day to Day

As a Design and Research Assistant at SFU Co-op, my day-to-day experience was both rewarding and engaging. Here is a glimpse of what a typical day looked like:

  1. Monday Morning Briefings: Every Monday usually started with morning briefings, where I met with my supervisor to discuss the tasks for the week, ongoing projects, and any upcoming deadlines.

  2. Project Work: The majority of my time was dedicated to working on various design and research projects. This involved conducting previous projects review, data analysis, and creating design prototypes.

  3. Meetings and Discussions: Throughout the day, if there is a meeting scheduled, I would participate in them for project updates, seeking feedback, and sharing progress.

  4. Skills Development: In addition to project-related work, I dedicated time to enhancing my skills and knowledge through self-directed learning. This continuous learning aspect was an integral part of my day-to-day experience.

  5. Documentation and Reporting: Keeping track of progress and documenting the work done were essential aspects of my role. I regularly updated project reports, research findings, and design iterations.

  6. Breaks and Relaxation: While the work was challenging, there were moments to take short breaks and unwind. Taking breaks helped me stay refreshed and maintain productivity throughout the day.

  7. Reflecting and Goal Setting: At the end of each day, I would take time to reflect on my accomplishments, challenges faced, and areas for improvement. Setting goals and tasks for the following days helped me stay focused and motivated.

Overall, my day-to-day experience at SFU Co-op was enriching, providing me with a balance of creativity, research, and skill development. It was an opportunity for personal and professional growth that I will always cherish.

Accomplishments and Challenges

During my co-op experience, I accomplished strengthening my technical skills, such as, analytics, research, information deliverance, branding, and marketing collateral. As a designer, a major challenge I faced was finding the right balance between creativity and practical constraints, considering factors like functionality, branding guidelines, and requirements, which at times limited my creative ideas. Successfully managing these priorities required thoughtful decision-making and effective communication with colleagues.

Cultural and Environmental Observations

During my time at SFU Co-op, I observed a strong sense of community where everyone seemed as close as friends, fostering an environment of trust and mutual support. This camaraderie encouraged open communication, allowing individuals to share ideas freely and collaborate effectively. This sense of unity not only enriched the learning experience but also created a supportive network where everyone could rely on each other for guidance and encouragement.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

During my academic journey, I had uncertainties about my strengths and skills, and lacked a clear personal development goal. However, I was certain about my passion for pursuing a career in design and creating visuals. Engaging in the co-op experience provided me with valuable insights as a design and research assistant, allowing me to enhance my design and research skills and gain practical experience in the industry. It was gratifying to contribute my perspective as a student in my program, providing feedback for developments, and being part of a team working towards shared objectives. Overall, the co-op experience helped me refine my design skills and develop essential soft skills, fostering growth and proficiency as a designer in a real-life work environment.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

The most valuable aspects of this experience encompassed both personal and professional growth. Immersing myself in real-world projects allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, enhancing my problem-solving skills and boosting my confidence. Additionally, the opportunity to contribute to impactful projects aligned with my passion, providing a sense of fulfillment and aligning my career aspirations.

Advice for Future Students

Co-op opportunities provide a unique chance to bridge the gap between academics and the real-world work environment. Embrace the experience with enthusiasm, curiosity, and a willingness to learn, and it will undoubtedly enrich your academic journey and pave the way for a successful career!

Author

Hyebin Lee

She
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › Design
visibility  263
Aug 31, 2023