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lulu Liu

SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Co-op Work Term Number
My Co-op Journey

I am a fourth-year student at Simon Fraser University (SFU) studying health science. I've had the honor of participating in an 8-month co-op program, which has been both fulfilling and difficult but has helped me go beyond the limits of theoretical classroom learning while I navigate the last year of my academic path. 

I had an enriching experience at CARO Analytical Services, a Canadian-owned laboratory specializing in environmental testing, I have found a unique intersection between my academic knowledge and hands-on laboratory work. My focus lies in water and soil volatile organic compound testing, testing compounds like Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes, along with Volatile Hydrocarbons and Volatile Petroleum Hydrocarbons, were scrutinized with precision. where I contribute to the critical mission of upholding environmental safety and human well-being.

Navigating Challenges

In the beginning, the workload was more than I anticipated, leading to doubts about meeting job expectations. Realizing the need for support, I reached out to my co-op team teacher, lab supervisor, and colleagues. Conversations with my co-op team teacher provided insights into time management and the importance of self-adjustment to the work environment. Sharing my daily schedule with the supervisor led to valuable tips for optimizing extraction steps and adjusting working hours. 

As proficiency in sample extraction techniques grew, so did my confidence. The once-daunting workload became manageable.

Skills I Gained

Adaptability in a Fast-paced Environment
The laboratory environment at CARO is fast-paced, mirroring the intensity often found in real-world professional settings. Adapting to tight deadlines, managing a high volume of samples, and addressing unexpected challenges became integral to my daily routine. This adaptability is a crucial skill for any professional entering a dynamic field.

Balancing Precision and Efficiency
In a laboratory setting, precision is paramount. However, achieving precision while maintaining efficiency is a delicate balance. My work term provided insights into optimizing workflows without compromising the accuracy of results. This balance is critical in professional settings where both speed and precision are valued.

Cultivating Professional Connections
I made a lot of new friends here, and their support was invaluable, aiding not just in the work but also in navigating the co-op program successfully. Establishing meaningful connections in the professional realm is an indispensable lesson drawn from my work term at CARO Analytical Services. It opens doors to a myriad of professional development opportunities.