Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

the author's portrait
There will inevitably be days where you munch down on a sad, sad bagel while simultaneously typing up your report for tomorrow, but don’t make that day every day.

I’m about halfway through an 8-month co-op, and man do I love working 9 to 5 (I actually work from 9 to 4:30, but Dolly didn’t write a song about that workday). A Monday to Friday set up isn’t for everyone, however, and it takes time to adjust from student life to ~pseudo adulthood~ while keeping stress in check.  Hopefully my insider knowledge will help you make the most of it:

Go. To. Bed.

The hardest adjustment when making the switch from full-time student to full-time worker is your sleep schedule, so the most important advice I could give you is to go to bed early and sleep as much as possible. I don’t care if you pulled all-nighters for school, or partied on a Tuesday night and still made it through your midterm Wednesday; I can guarantee that you won’t be making it through an 8 hour day on just a few hours of sleep.

Pack Lunch Like You’re in Grade School

Do you remember PB and J sandwiches? Celery sticks with peanut butter? Get nostalgic and bring those staples back into your life ASAP. You may feel like your rolling in dough from working full time, but that won’t be the case when you buy lunch at every occasion. Eating out adds up quickly, and you won’t notice how much you lose when you’re spending in such tiny increments. For me, the big one was tea: I drink upwards of three cups throughout the day, so bringing my tea bags and using the kettle at work saves me major $$$. 

Actually Take Your Lunch Break

There will inevitably be days where you munch down on a sad, sad bagel while simultaneously typing up your report for tomorrow, but don’t make that day every day. You’d be surprised how much you can do with a lunch break: a small walk, errand run, or workout will help you feel like a real person when you are swamped at work.  

Plan out Your Weekends

Before starting my co-op, I couldn’t fathom not having to work on the weekends. Whether or not you’ve always worked on the weekends like me, everyone can appreciate a newfound sense of relaxation knowing that there’s no test or assignment eating up your free time on Sundays. After a few weeks of slothing about your house in your pyjamas every Saturday and Sunday, I greatly recommend taking the time to plan small trips or outings on your weekends. Who knows when you’ll have two days off in a row once you’re back at school!

Take up a Hobby

All that free time is both a blessing and a curse, as it turns out. To keep from bingeing Netflix every night of the week, take up a new hobby, volunteer, or commit to something outside of work. Not only will it be fun, but it will also help you focus on yourself when work becomes stressful. If you need help looking for volunteer opportunities, take a meander through SFU Volunteer Services’ Newsletter.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. It’s only been four months after all. Just remember, co-op is not only a fantastic way to gain new skills, but it’s also a great time to try new things and figure out a life balance that works for you as an employee.

Beyond the Blog

  • To learn more about Co-op opporturnities, visit the Co-op homepage. 
SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn
visibility  174
Apr 19, 2018

You Might Like These... Your Next Co-op, International, Personal Development, Culture

Three women posing in front of a building called 'Hospice Pre-School'
Life in Botswana: Jumping in With Both Feet

For four months Jessica Kehler traveled across the world to Botswana, working with Holy Cross Hospice, a non-profit organization that uses a holistic approach to treating terminal HIV/AIDS patients. Upon her return, the OLC sat down to learn about a country known for its diamond mining, tourism, and sadly, HIV/AIDS. Read to find out more about her journey!

View of the city and temple from a height in Japan
Co-op Japan: The Experience of a Lifetime

The Co-op Japan program is more than a way to add an international job to your resume; it can also be a trip of self-discovery.  Two co-op students share their memorable experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Serena in the snow
Serena's Winter Co-op Adventure: Working at Iron Ore Company in Newfoundland

Wondering what it's like to work in HR and in Newfoundland? Read on to learn more about Serena's winter adventure and experience adapting to a new culture, environment and life away from home!

You Might Like These... Your Next Co-op

A skateboarder ramping off an incline to do a trick
5 Keys to “Ramping Up” and Quickly Adjusting to a New Co-op

Noah did his co-op at PMC-Sierra. In this article he introduces the engineering term “ramp up” and identifies five ways to get up to speed when you start a co-op.

Seven co-workers smiling and posing for the camera while wearing matching blue t-shirts and blue caps.
My ‘Future Friendly’ Experience at TELUS

Read on to learn about Jacky's valuable co-op experience that transformed his self-doubt into professional development at Telus!

Erik Bainbridge Smiling
International Co-op: An Interview with Erik Bainbridge

Erik Bainbridge, a Political Science student, shares his international experience doing four work terms in three different positions in China and Hong Kong. He worked as an English teacher in Shandong, an Event Manager at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CamChamHK) in Hong Kong, and a Trade Intern for the Consulate General of Canada in China.