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SFU Co-op Student

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Basically the best advice I can give, as cliché as it may sound, is to try your best and to have a little fun too while you're at it.

When I started my co-op placement, I was incredibly nervous! I wanted nothing more than to impress my supervisor and learn many new skills. This was my first co-op work term, and I really wasn’t sure how to get there! Over time though, I have been able to learn a lot and get used to working with my co-workers. I feel I have been able to adapt to my job and would like to think that I have been successful at it. I have come up with a few simple tips for you to succeed in your role, based on what I have done at my workplace: 

1. Be a Sponge and Take Notes

One of the biggest things I’ve learned from my co-op placement is the importance of listening and picking things up quickly. There are so many things to remember: logins, password, telephone number, etc., and this can all get overwhelming when you are just beginning to learn. When I started taking notes in a notebook, it made learning new things a million times easier. One of the great things about keeping a notebook is that you can refer back to it, even a few weeks later. There is nothing more irritating for your supervisor than having the same question asked over and over again, and having a notebook solves the problem.

2. Use Your Skills Well

The further I got into my work term, I was able to showcase my skills to my supervisor, and as a result, she was able to create special projects for me based on my strengths. The best part is, these were skills I was learning at school. It is always great when you can apply what you learn in class to what you do at work.

If, however, you feel like there are areas where you want to improve on or gain more experience, don't be afraid to brainstorm ideas and propose projects related to your areas of interest that can add value to your team or organization. Your manager and team will appreciate your creativity, innovation and dedication to helping the organization to improve its operations and performance.

3. Get to Know Your Co-Workers

One of my favourite parts of my job is getting to know the people I work with. Getting to know your co-workers beyond their ‘role’ in the company and as the person behind the ‘role’ will make going to work a lot more fun. Even sitting in the lunchroom and finding out what your co-workers did the past weekend makes for some great conversations. At my workplace, there are a lot of jokes and laughs, and it's great to be a part of that!

These 3 simple steps have made my work term a lot more enjoyable, and I feel like it has been successful so far, especially when I was offered an extension. Basically the best advice I can give, as cliché as it may sound, is to try your best and to have a little fun too while you're at it.

Beyond the Blog

  • Check out Natalie's other Co-op Blog Series with TFSCE.
SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Natalie on LinkedIn or Twitter Natalie is a Communications and English graduate with a love for writing and learning. In the midst of her first co-op workterm as a marketing assistant, where she learned many practical skills and life lessons that inspired her to write this blog series. She volunteered at SFU as an Orientation Leader, and a FCAT Mentor.

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