Skip to main content

Cynthia Lu

SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education

Position Title
Experience Faculty
My Co-op work experience was the most rewarding experience of all.
Experience Details
Reflection & Tips

Throughout my academic life, I was unsure of what I wanted to do in the future precisely or what path to take. I pretty much didn’t have a clear goal in mind. However, all I understood about myself was that I wanted to work in healthcare and help the community. I also wanted to experience what it would be like to work with a community and improve their health and wellness. But, more importantly, I wanted to learn more about myself and find a career I would be passionate about. So, I took the opportunity a become a Co-op student and immersed myself in this experience.

Once I was released as a seeking student, I encountered a slight problem. If I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future, then what kind of Co-op placement should I seek? That was my biggest realization when I began this journey. I started to look at the job posting to see what I would be interested in and what I would benefit from that job experience. I made lists of the ones I am interested in and ranked them from the most interesting to the least interesting. Making these lists made it obvious what job placement I wanted to do.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

While scouting and preparing these interviews for a Co-op placement, I was fortunate to get an 8-month job placement as a research assistant to assist a team of researchers. My Co-op work experience was the most rewarding experience of all. I learned a lot about the different roles that each research member does and how each one supports the research. It was quite fascinating to see how the different roles of research work together coherently. Also, seeing my contribution to the team is just as important, and I was happy to assist the team in many ways.

My position as a research assistant focused on collecting data that supports the research’s initiatives to help motivate and support seniors to live a healthier lifestyle. This work experience taught me much about research and how it is delivered and run in the community. I developed a great respect and a new perspective on the older adult community. Also, I got to take on different tasks to support other roles in research, like creating a Curriculum Vitae, putting together a clinical registry and reading more literature reviews. Most importantly, I enjoyed working with a passionate research team that valued and respected everyone.

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

The most appealing job placement that made it to the top of every list I made was research assistant. I thought the research field would be pretty interesting since I have been reading and analyzing those literature reviews throughout my academic life. It always amazed me how the data and results change the perspectives on things in our community. Also, the compelling results proving what works and what doesn’t in health have fascinated me during my learning. It was exciting to see how one study can prompt another.

In summary, seeing how research can significantly impact the community made me wonder what it looks like. I have only read about them but never personally seen a study conducted. Since the research assistant job posting ignited my curiosity about research, I made it a goal to become one. So that I can learn and experience working on a research team.

This whole experience has been on a positive note for me. Finally, I knew what I enjoyed about research and what I wanted to focus on career-wise. It was also an excellent opportunity to understand what I wish to look forward to and know what my next steps in life are. This has motivated me to reach higher and plan for my goals.

Advice for Future Students

The best advice for students who are lost, just like I was, is to explore and be adventurous. Exploring new experiences is a great way to learn about yourself and more about your interests in the field. There are some things that you may dislike about a job and some that you may like. Immersing yourself in the experience and learning on the job can be enlightening and fun. 


Cynthia Lu

SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education
visibility  278
Dec 5, 2022

Interested in other Research Assistant Positions?