Skip to main content
SFU Student

Image of the Author
Education should be flexible, experiential and a time to make professional relationships.

As my third year at SFU comes to a close, I can’t help but notice a problematic paradox from my peers. There seems to be some sort of urgency to get a degree as soon as possible. Yet at the same time there is widespread anxiety of what to do after graduation.

In my first semester at SFU I was fortunate enough to take an Education course as an elective, which ended up molding my attitude about my academic future. Additionally, working with career professionals at my current co-op with SFU Career and Volunteer Services has reinforced some of those invaluable lessons.

1. “There is No Plan”

Did you know that a considerable amount of Career and Volunteer Services’ philosophy is adopted from “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko”, a manga by Daniel Pink? The manga teaches its readers six essential career lessons, one of which is “There is No Plan”. This lesson is not to say that there is no value in planning, but rather there is power in flexibility. Experiential opportunities like co-op and exchange aren’t meant to delay your degree but rather to enhance it.

2. Learning Isn’t Limited to Education

Yes, it’s important to learn at school. However, the experiences we have outside the classroom should be an equal part of a young professional’s early career development. Whether it’s a volunteer position, co-op, summer job or exchange it’s important to take the time to reflect on what was positive and negative about the experience and what the learning value was! Some practical methods of reflection could be sharing your experience with a friend, family member or taking a co-op reflection assignment seriously.

3. Meaningful Connections Takes Time

While I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of the effectiveness of “networking events,” it is agreeable that meeting new people is important for one’s career development. Instead of attending events for the sake of meeting new people, why not begin by making meaningful connections with circles that you’re already acquainted with? As they say, it’s better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies. Networking for its own sake is seldom valuable but building long term relationships can lead to job prospects and unique experiential opportunities.

So what’s the rush? Education should be flexible, experiential and a time to make professional relationships. Not only will this make your time at SFU more enjoyable, it will give you a competitive edge when it’s time to launch your career.

Beyond the Blog

SFU Student
Connect With Matthew on LinkedIn.
visibility  142
May 19, 2016

You Might Like These... Personal Development, International, Returning to SFU, Workplace Culture, Life Experience

A picture of Nile with people around
By the Nile: A Student's Experience in Rural Africa

The OLC happily presents the following as Craig Vandermeer’s first interview with the OLC after his return from Uganda Fall Semester 2010. Having finished his undergrad at Carleton University with a degree in Political Science, he is continuing his education here at SFU in the International Studies Master’s program.

Simon Kwok: Working at RIM

From working at RIM (Research In Motion) for a year before graduating, SIAT convocation speaker Simon Kwok shares the bits and bytes of his Co-op work experience as an interaction designer in Toronto.

Janine at convocation
Convocation Reflections: The Winding Road to Find Where You Were Meant to Be

Janine Roller looks back at her SFU co-op experience while speaking at her convocation. She shares how the path you take may not lead to where you expected to go, but it could end up somewhere better.

You Might Like These... Returning to SFU

Photo of the author giving a presentation
Creating Value: The Adventures of an IT Co-op Student

As someone who didn’t have a lot of direct experience in a technological setting, providing value to the organization had to come from something much bigger than my direct skill set.

Image of the Author
Videography: From Hobby to Career

Something that first starts out as a hobby may eventually grow into a highly tangible skill that is valued in the eyes of potential employers. For Jessica, she never considered her ability to create stories from videos would be good enough to pursue a career in it. But that all changed when Vancouver Coastal Health called and offered her a position as a videographer.

Outline of the world's continents in the background with square images of multiple individuals displayed on it to show networks between them.
Networking Opportunities at SAP

Did you ever think about taking advantage of networking opportunities at your workplace while you are on your co-op?  Business student Helen Bowman discusses the networking opportunities she was able to take advantage of during her co-op at SAP.