Congratulations on the high school diploma, but your work is just getting started. We always knew that we would go on to university. In fact, we were expected to do that. It didn’t matter that you don't have the slightest clue what kinesiology was about. According to our preconceived notions of how life was supposed to work, all we had to do was pick a major and everything will sort itself out. That meant that we never really took the time to question our decisions or consider other alternatives that were available. As you will find out soon enough, your plans will often foil for better or worse and you will have to adapt and overcome whatever life throws at you.
Coming to SFU was one of the three most important decisions we will make in the next five years. It meant that you and your closest friends will be going to different schools and that will be very difficult for you because you have always been a shy person. I am happy to say that we nailed this one even though the beginning is full of doubts. Your first two years are going to be challenging. Your schedule will consist of mostly lower division science courses that seem to have nothing to do with your major. You will be tired from all the commuting from Richmond every day and succumb to sleep during lectures on too many occasions. You will learn how to sleep on the bus and the couches of AQ. Despite your best efforts, you will not make any close friends and to make things worse, you will drift apart from your high school friends. You will be lost and that is OK.
You will continue to seek out opportunities to improve your current situation. The opportunity presented itself as Co-operative Education. As it turns out, it was also one of the most important commitments you made. Your eventual BPK Co-op mothers, Darleen and Cheri, are two of the hardest working beauties you will know. With their help, your subpar resume will get an extreme makeover in addition to your enhanced cover letter writing skills. As a second year, you will be invited to many interviews based on your ability to tailor cover letters and find transferrable skills even though you may not completely qualify for the job with the amount of experience you have. You will say many wrong things in those interviews and choke on your words in a nerve-racking group interview, which ends with your fourth-year competition earning the position with poise. You will be devastated after two consecutive semesters of placement hunting which yields no results. You will consider giving up but deep down you also know that you never would because it was the learning process that mattered. So you will continue to send out applications even though you may be dealt another rejection, and you continue to arm yourself with relevant certifications and experiences.
You will realize that we rarely achieve our goals in our first attempt; it was our persistence to push on after discouragements that finally led to our first placement at OT Consulting. That was the breaking point because, after eight productive months of learning, you will have valuable experience in active rehabilitation. Throw in a few volunteer experiences with SFU Rec, SFU Student Trainer Program, SFU Kin Games and some upper-division courses on ergonomics, and you will be amazed by how far you have come along. Also, the money you will save from those placements will allow you to backpack Southeast Asia. This trip will CHANGE your perspective and I cannot express how excited I am for you. You will have a new outlook after the trip and work harder than ever to strive towards your goals. You will sell your PS3 (I couldn’t believe I would ever do that either) in exchange for an e-reader and invest your time learning useful things in life. You will come to the realization that many upper-division courses are applications of anatomy and physiology, which are based on those physics and chemistry classes you slept through. It is better late than never and from then on we will understand the importance of good foundations.
As I am writing this, my third co-op work term at Vancouver General Hospital is coming to an end. With all of my kinesiology credits completed, there were two things left that I wanted to tackle: first I wanted to find an ergonomics-related placement and then I wanted to go on exchange to Sweden in the following semester. Why Ergonomics? I was looking for an opportunity to expose myself to the ergonomics world and leave a good impression for future employment. Why Sweden? Even though I am very focused on my career, I still firmly believe that travelling and engaging the world will teach you valuable life lessons you can’t learn at work or in the classroom.
I had applied to WorkSafeBC for an ergonomics-related position, which would be a wonderful opportunity. I was feeling more confident than ever because of my unique knowledge and experience in ergonomics for someone my age. I had made a connection with someone who had worked with my interviewer extensively by chance through my placement at VGH. In addition, my interviewer was an SFU kinesiology alumnus who knew one of my references personally. All I had to do was prepare properly and be myself in the interview. I had never felt more confident after an interview.
I did not get the job.
To say that I was disappointed was an understatement but there are always people who are better suited for the job. All we can do is to continue to improve, and of course, KEEP TRYING.
B.Sc. Kinesiology Candidate
Faculty of Science
Simon Fraser University
Beyond the Blog
For more co-op opportunities like Adrian's, visit the BPK co-op page!