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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
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@bublywater from Giphy
SFU Co-op Student

Posts by Author

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There’s Nothing Scary About a Steep Learning Curve

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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.

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Defeating My Inner Saboteur – Working with a Learning Disability

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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.

 

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Survival Guide 101: Keys to Office Survival

Welcome to Office Life 101. A wealth of friendly advice for the first time or inexperienced co-op student, and some advice as to what is required of you to not only survive, but to flourish in an office environment.

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Think You Know Where You Want To Work? Think Again.

Convinced that you need to work at a large company for the ultimate experience?  Think again! Darren emphasizes why choosing a small or  mid-sized firm will add more variety and substance to your co-op experience.

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After the Work Term Ends: 6 Tips for Turning that Co-op Position into a Part Time Job

The end of a Co-op work term doesn't necessarily mean the end of your relationship with the organiziation you had been working for. Jaclyn found a way to turn her Co-op opportunity, a 8 month Co-op at FISPAN, into a part time gig when she went back to school to finish her degree. Read on to learn how she pitched her new role and position to the company she'd done a Co-op work term with.