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Christianna Sequeira

She/she/her/hers
SFU Student Undergraduate
Applied Sciences › Sustainable Energy Engineering | Arts + Social Sciences › International Studies
Co-operative Education › Out-of-Town Co-op, Student Ambassador, Peer Mentorship › FASS Connections, Other

Picture of Edmonton
Life has uncertainties, and you can never be fully prepared, and living with that knowledge became an essential part of my learning experience.

When you think about the space industry, you probably picture astronauts travelling lightyears away from home in search of the universe’s many unanswered questions. As a student I have questions of my own, including ones about my own journey and the learning experiences that I want to have. Even though the scale of travelling done by astronauts seems impossible right now – why not start by making a space mission of my own by taking a solo trip out-of-province to complete a co-op?

“You do realize it gets cold in the winter, right?” 

My soon-to-be supervisor looked at me with a playful expression through his camera lens as we wrapped up my Zoom interview. I did not fear the cold, nor any opportunity that would give me the chance to grow both professionally and personally. I took it as a challenge to learn – in whatever capacity that may turn out to be. 

“Yes of course. I wouldn’t let the weather deter me from accepting this opportunity.” 

I have only worked in the corporate sector in policy positions for my previous co-ops, so not only was this a chance to utilize my technical knowledge from classes in a hands-on position but to also experience the start-up culture and potentially take on leadership roles in projects. With an official offer to work as a mechanical engineer at an aerospace company in Edmonton, I did not hesitate to accept after the interview. 

However, it was not until a week before the start of the term that the reality of leaving finally set in. I looked at the Jenga tower of boxes in my living room, the doubt of making the right decision staring right back at me. What made me think that I was able to do this? I am a shy introverted engineering student that knows nothing about living on my own. Growing up I could not even keep a Tamagotchi alive, so how can I expect myself to be on my own and survive? 

Obviously doing something new and unknown scares me – I like knowing the outcomes and how to prepare for any situation. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that this is exactly why I accepted this co-op. Life has uncertainties, and you can never be fully prepared, and living with that knowledge became an essential part of my learning experience. And as I fit the Jenga tower of boxes and miscellaneous trinkets that reminded me of home in the back of my car, I headed east and realized that I was not so alone in this adventure after all. 

While I may not have been in the same town or province, my friends and family were only a quick call (or flight) away when I needed them. Staying connected with loved ones became my lifeline, helping me combat homesickness and providing the emotional support necessary to navigate the challenges of a new city. In the end, I definitely took advantage of that. I learned that it is okay to ask for help sometimes - especially when it came to various car troubles, learning new recipes, and the ever-changing weather conditions of the prairie provinces. 

As the weeks turned into months, my journey of adapting to life in Edmonton unfolded with numerous lessons that extended beyond the workplace. Navigating a new city on my own became an adventure in itself, teaching me valuable skills in independence and self-reliance. And with the help of my (sometimes) reliable GPS and asking locals for directions, I was able to immerse myself in the local lifestyle, overcoming the initial disorientation and fostering a sense of connection to my new surroundings. This curiosity and questioning mindset also proved helpful in my co-op as well. Through asking questions, I delved into the intricacies of ongoing research, and engaged in various projects, all while gaining valuable insights from my fellow engineers. 

Upon returning from Edmonton, I am grateful for the opportunity in its entirety to push me out of my comfort zone. Despite the turbulence along the way, I've come to appreciate how experiences outside one's comfort zone foster invaluable learning, growth, and adaptability. The support of friends and family proved crucial in this journey, emphasizing the significance of staying connected and seeking assistance when needed. And as I sit here now reflecting on my aerospace journey so far, I think I am ready to say that I cannot wait to see what my next mission has in store for me.

Author

Christianna Sequeira

She/she/her/hers
SFU Student Undergraduate
Applied Sciences › Sustainable Energy Engineering | Arts + Social Sciences › International Studies
Co-operative Education › Out-of-Town Co-op, Student Ambassador, Peer Mentorship › FASS Connections, Other

Christianna Sequeira is a 4th year undergraduate student at SFU majoring in Sustainable Energy Engineering with a minor in International Studies. With an interest in aerospace and sustainability from a young age, she has developed a passion for sustainable innovation and has taken on various leadership roles in her community to educate others on the intersection of environmental responsibility and aerospace technology. Aspiring to become a space systems engineer once she graduates, she hopes to contribute to the advancement of space exploration while continuing to advocate for sustainable practices. 

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Feb 27, 2024

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