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Kiara Caravaggio

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Co-operative Education

Working with SFU Vancouver has helped me grow professionally, making me confident as I move onto my future endeavours!
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Spring
Summer
Year
2023
Application and Interview Tips
  • Researching the company 
  • Creating questions to ask the employer 
Introduction + Preparation

For this position, I didn't have much time to prepare. I was working at my retail job when I received an email about this position, and within a weeks time I was already interviewing! In order to prepare within the timeframe I had, I booked a mock interview with my co-op coordinator. This helped me prepare for the interview process itself, making me feel super confident. I also took the time to research the Vancouver Campus and what made it so unique!

Previous Experience

During my last co-op I worked with Communications and Marketing at SFU Burnaby. Being a student and an employee on the campus really helped with learning the culture of the University as a whole.

Preparation Tips for Future Students

I highly recommend using the co-op resources that are provided to you through the Canvas course. There are so many helpful tips that will make you feel extra confident when going for an interview or preparing for one if you're in that stage. I would also recommend taking the time to research the company you're applying/interviewing for! You could also prepare some questions for the employer to wow them during the interview. During my interview for my position with SFU Vancouver I asked the team why they like working for the employer, and their answers truly made me want to be a part of the team before I was even offered the job.

(Left to Right): Claudia, Laurie, Kimberly, and Kiara holding heart shaped SFU signs
During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

During my first weeks working with the Vancouver Campus Management Team in the Executive Offices, I was timid and slightly scared to say the least. I was shifting from a recent retail position to a professional office job on a decently large university campus. I knew that there would be lots of things for me to learn while adjusting to this position, so I didn't pressure myself to try and perfect every task I was given. Taking this pressure off of myself gave me room to learn and make small fixable mistakes that would only help me become a better employee. I was given an amazing debrief by all of the team members on what my daily tasks would be and the upcoming events I would be assisting with.  

During the first month or so, I fully worked in the office with no work from home days. I found that this really helped immerse me in the campus culture and made it easier to connect with other staff and faculty members. Throughout the first month, I met so many new people who I would eventually be seeing every time I was on campus. In such a short amount of time, and as "cheesy" as it sounds, the SFU Vancouver campus truly felt like a second home.

Day to Day

My day-to-day tasks really varied, which is something I enjoyed. The variety made my position exciting, as there were no two days that felt the same. During my time with SFU Vancouver, I assisted with the transition of the website from the old template (CLF3) to the new version (CLF4). A large portion of my time was focused on completing the transition, but I was also helping with  events including Wellness Days, the Welcome Back BBQ and many Lunch ‘n’ Learns throughout the year.

Learning and Adaptation

As mentioned in my first week's brief, I didn’t pressure myself to show up as the “perfect” employee. I was comfortable enough to ask to ask if I was confused with tasks, or needed extra clarification here and there. I had previous experience with the platform  Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) that was used to build the website, but there were other platforms that I had to get familiar with in order to complete some monthly tasks. One of the platforms by the name of Campaigner is used by the team to send out staff newsletters via email. This was a platform I was not familiar with, and it definitely took some getting used to. I would use Campaigner to track analytics to see how many interactions we would receive on the newsletter. After a month I was familiar with the app and was able to continue tracking for the team, making it easier for them in the future.

Accomplishments and Challenges

As I worked through different tasks, I noticed that at some points I wouldn’t take the time to read through the copy I just wrote, which led to grammar and punctuation mistakes that needed further proof reading. After discussing this area of improvement with my two supervisors, I found that this was a small bump in the road that I would need to re-evaluate. As I took on more tasks, I took their feedback and applied it, which led to positive attention the next time we had a meeting.

A major accomplishment during my term with SFU Vancouver was competing the website project we were actively working on. It was beyond rewarding to see gratitude and thanks flow in from the team!

Cultural and Environmental Observations

During my work term, I noticed the variety of culture on the Vancouver campus. Each department is so different, yet the community is so tight-knit and welcoming at the same time. When I first started I was able to interact with other departments right away, as everyone was warm and welcoming to new staff.

I also took the time to get to know my own team as well! It was great to have conversations throughout the work day to take our minds away from the stress by talking about topics such as the latest trends, our favorite foods or our plans for the rest of the day. I felt that the opportunities to talk and bond with the team helped me get up in the morning motivated for the work day ahead. 

Wrap Up

I can't believe a year has flown by so fast! I am beyond happy that I was able to connect with so many people in the SFU community during my term. I learned so much that I will carry with me as I venture on to my future positions!

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Overall, my co-op experience was FANTASTIC! To say I have completed 5 co-op terms feels odd, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Doing longer work terms helped me feel more comfortable in a new work environment, while allowing myself to ease into any tasks I was handed. It is going to be great visiting the Vancouver Campus having multiple teams to say hello to as I am on my way to class. 

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

The most valuable aspect of this experience was meeting new people. I am definitely a people person! I love getting to know people no matter the place and SFU Vancouver was just the right spot to do so. There are so many friendly faces on the campus and whatever the department they worked in, they would take the time to ask you how you're doing. This was something that was consistent across all of the SFU Vancouver buildings! 

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

At first I wasn't entirely sure that I would like working in an office position as I am someone who is constantly on the go, but it ended up being something I am interested in pursuing in the future. Working with SFU Vancouver wasn't a typical administrative job as I would spend a lot of time away from the desk exploring the different buildings. If any team in the future would embody the same structure as SFU Vancouver, I wouldn't hesitate to interview!

Advice for Future Students

My advice for future students is to get yourself out there and make use of the resources that are available to you. Coming from someone who has competed 5 co-op terms, I recommend that you go through the co-op modules and reach out to the co-op coordinators if you are nervous about your upcoming interview or the process in general. In regards to getting yourself out here, I would start by making connections on the campus you're studying on. You never know, the connections you make with staff, faculty or even students could lead to an amazing co-op opportunity! 

Author

Kiara Caravaggio

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Co-operative Education
visibility  208
Dec 7, 2023

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Valentine’s Day at the office with some of the team! Left to Right: Claudia, Laurie, Kimberly, and Kiara
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