Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

Open laptop, pen, and clipboard on a table. Paper on clipboard reads "my resume".
Credit
Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Co-op helped me discover that I could work through the worry and feelings of pressure and allow my ability and confidence to shine.

I’ve never been an overly confident person. Since I was a kid, I’ve had high expectations set out for me and my perception of my competence seemed to always fall short.

I joined SFU’s Co-op program during my first year and quickly realized one thing as I began the job search process: projecting confidence and composure are key to showing your best points and skills.

Imposter syndrome is real. Despite successfully progressing in my academic program and having many of the qualities that make for an excellent team member, I found it extremely difficult to highlight these strengths as a prospective communications professional. Each sentence I wrote felt like I was spinning lies to trick potential employers.

Some days, I would sit down to work on my resume, only to freeze up when it came time to write down my “skills” and “achievements”. Some say job-hunting is a game of numbers: the more applications you submit, the more likely you are to receive an offer. While I knew this to be true, I was still afraid to submit applications.

I pushed forward and eventually landed some interviews. I tried to present myself as composed and capable, but underneath, I felt like I was about to crack under pressure. Preparing mentally for interviews was exhausting. When I didn’t receive an offer of employment, the disappointment was equally excruciating, which was another blow to my self-confidence, reinforcing my imposter syndrome.

I needed time to recover from the stress and to find the energy to keep trying. Before I knew it, the next semester started, and I was about to give up. “I’d never land a Co-op term,” I thought. Then, I received an interview offer for a Communication Assistant role with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).

Truth be told, my pessimism had overtaken me at that point, and I went into the interview with zero expectation of securing the position.

But hope crept in as I left the interview. The interview went... well? I had felt hopeful in previous interviews too but where did that land me? Was I about to experience another emotional roller coaster?

A few hours later, my worries vanished as I was offered the position of FASS’ Communications and Marketing Assistant for Spring 2021 with a possibility of extension.

Receiving that email was the most success I had felt during my whole undergraduate experience, possibly even my entire life. But how did I do it? Was it because my mindset was different? Perhaps my letting go of expectations freed me from worry and allowed my capable skills and personality show.

But it didn’t matter; I was overcome with joy. After beginning my new job, I scrolled through our team’s group chat to find insight as to why I was hired.

To my surprise, my coworkers were impressed with my volunteer experience, which was a main contributor to their decision to hire me. Before then, I hadn’t considered those volunteer hours to be meaningful to potential employers.

My responsibilities in the position include managing and scheduling social media channels, writing news stories, and helping with some of SFU’s web design. Despite my initial fears, I feel perfectly at home and comfortable in doing my tasks.

Overall, this has been an important lesson in how to overcome imposter syndrome and build positive self-perception and confidence. You might look at a job description and feel unqualified based on its title or description. I certainly did with most of the jobs I applied to. Having completed a semester’s worth of work for FASS, though, I see how I am more than capable of handling the duties given to me.

Co-op has given me something that I desperately needed: unbiased recognition. It’s great to hear my mom tell me how smart or handsome I am, but right now, nothing beats doing a great job and accepting genuine praise from my colleagues for my ideas and contributions. Co-op helped me discover that I could work through the worry and feelings of pressure and allow my ability and confidence to shine.

SFU Co-op Student
visibility  398
Nov 3, 2021

Posts by Author

Emma standing in front of the pond at SFU Burnaby
Blog
A Co-op Student’s Guide to Media Relations

Like many Communications students, I came into the School of Communication very interested in media; both studying it and working in it. I found it harder and harder to pinpoint where I could fit into it professionally as I learned more about it. What do you do when you’re interested in media, but not sure you want to work directly in media?

A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Blog
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Blog
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

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

Nick in Barcelona
Teaching English Abroad: Skill Improvements for Any Career

Have you ever wanted to live and work abroad but could “never” find something career related? Well, in my opinion, what you “could not find” might actually be right in front of your eyes. There are countless opportunities for students to live abroad while teaching English. You just might be surprised at what occupational skills you might be able to extract from such a position. Have a read of my article to find out.

A split image of the author in start-up versus corporation attire
Working at a Startup vs. Large Corporation: Which Is Right for You?

My two-year roller coaster ride through Intel: A year after embarking on Intel’s newly acquired startup company, the project was shut down and a few members of the team, including myself, were lucky enough to be transferred to a different Intel group. Here’s my experience working in a startup vs working in a large corporation like Intel.

Man and woman sitting and listening at the Wosc Centre
Paving the Way for Community Engagement

Engaging with our communities provides opportunities to connect, grow, and give back. Jasleen shares how her co-op with the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue lived up to SFU's reputation as Canada's most engaged university.