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Undergraduate Communication Student

Hazar Ayyash

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Embrace challenges as steps toward triumph. Never surrender to despair; it holds your greatest strength. Keep pushing forward; your breakthrough is near!
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

Embarking on my SFU co-op journey as a communication student was transformative, testing my perseverance. Despite meticulous planning, my efforts to secure a summer placement in 2023 faced unexpected challenges. Unable to secure a job, I shifted my academic focus to a work-study term, gaining 140 hours of valuable experience assisting professors. This detour, though not ideal, became a steppingstone and an opportunity for real-life expertise.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

Amidst the uncertainty, I received acceptance into the work-study term program. While my excitement was tempered, it was a step forward. Simultaneously, I continued to attend interviews for the co-op program, though my optimism wavered. Then, in a surprising turn of events, I received two emails on the same day that changed the course of my journey.

First, I received confirmation to work with a supervisor in the work-study term program. Though not my dream opportunity, it was a start. Later that day, a second email arrived from my co-op coordinator, bearing the news I had longed for: I had secured a position for my first co-op term in the coming fall. In that moment, joy and gratitude washed over me. I reflected on the challenging times that had broadened my perspective, enabling me to find the silver lining in every complex situation.

Day to Day

My daily routine throughout my co-op experience was meticulously planned and well-organized. I initiated each day by checking my email and messages on Microsoft Teams, ensuring that I stayed abreast of any new information or overnight changes. This practice is highly commendable as it enables you to stay informed and preempt any potential issues that might arise later.

Next, I start reviewing my daily meetings to maintain organization and attend each one punctually. Every Monday, I participated in a team meeting with my colleagues, which was dedicated to reflecting on the tasks from the previous week and discussing upcoming assignments. This meeting proved incredibly beneficial for understanding and delineating the tasks each team member would be handling.

Learning and Adaptation

Adapting to my new work environment was a crucial factor that allowed me to successfully transition into my new role. Beginning my journey at SFU was an inspiring experience for me, as I was already familiar with the university atmosphere. This familiarity made me eager to immerse myself further, knowing that SFU provided a comfortable and secure work environment. This assurance was essential, as it alleviated any concerns, I might have had in a different workplace setting.

The support and resources I received from my colleagues and supervisor were invaluable. However, what truly enhanced my learning experience was my ability to ask in-depth questions and learn from the experiences of others. From my very first day, I learned how to pose meaningful questions to the right people, enabling me to extract valuable insights and expand my knowledge. Additionally, being sociable and outgoing with my team members was immensely helpful in fostering connections. I built strong social relationships with all the co-op students, extending our interactions beyond university meetings to informal gatherings for lunch or coffee. These interactions not only enriched my professional network but also contributed to a positive and collaborative work environment.

Accomplishments and Challenges

During my initial three weeks on the job, many aspects were unclear. My original supervisor, who hired me, had to take some time off, leaving me without clear guidance. Additionally, other staff members were uncertain about the projects I would be handling and the specifics of my role. This ambiguous start presented a challenge for me as I attempted to find my footing and thrive in my first co-op position.

However, in the second week, I was temporarily assigned to work with another supervisor. Despite the short duration, I decided to dive in and start working. Surprisingly, this experience proved immensely beneficial, enabling me to adapt to my new environment and gain diverse work experiences by collaborating with two different supervisors.

On a positive note, two of my significant accomplishments in this role include honing my content writing skills and refining my ability to tailor my writing for various audiences, such as students, alumni, and the university community. Additionally, I gained valuable experience working with Adobe Experience Manager (AEM,) a Content Management System utilized by SFU for its websites. I successfully completed numerous tasks on AEM, showcasing my proficiency in utilizing the platform effectively. Throughout my co-op term, I have amassed a diverse range of experiences across various facets that will undoubtedly shape my future career. One significant takeaway has been the cultivation of effective teamwork and active participation in group projects. This has not only honed my ability to collaborate seamlessly with other members but has also instilled in me the understanding of the immense value of being a team player in any professional sector.

In addition to fostering teamwork, I have markedly enhanced my time management skills. Juggling multiple projects with stringent deadlines was a common occurrence, and I successfully met all deadlines which empowered my ability to do multitasking work, especially in navigating the challenges encountered during my inaugural co-op journey.

Furthermore, my experiences encompassed a wide array of tasks, including content writing, drafting, editing, and utilizing AEM. These skills align seamlessly with my career interests and aspirations. The exposure to AEM has been enlightening, providing me with a deeper understanding of its functionalities. I am confident that the skills acquired in this position.

Reflection & Tips

In conclusion, my co-op journey at SFU has been a transformative experience that tested my resilience, adaptability, and determination. Through the challenges, setbacks, and eventual triumphs, I have not only honed my professional skills but also gained valuable life lessons. Embracing setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning has been a recurring theme, reinforcing the significance of unwavering persistence.

I am immensely grateful for the support and resources provided by my colleagues, supervisor, and the co-op program at SFU.