What's Possible? You'll Never Know Until You Try

What's Possible? You'll Never Know Until You Try

By: Chao Han
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To begin with, let me introduce myself to you. I’m a Career Peer Educator at SFU Career Services, and in this role I provide one-to-one assistance to students on their resumes, cover letters, interviews, and job search strategies.

It may not seem that special to you that I’m doing this, but I never pictured myself as a student advisor. I have been majoring in computing science for 8 years: 4 years for my undergraduate degree, 2 years for my Masters, and now I’m a Ph.D. student. To me, communicating with computers is much easier than communicating with people. The reason is quite simple: when I write code, I can run the same code 100 times and get the same result. When I talk to people, for the same opening, there are 100 different endings!

For me, talking to people is like the outside world to the main character (named 1900) from the movie The Legend of 1900, who spends his entire life on a cruise ship, refusing to leave even as it is sunk. Like 1900, the infinity of the outside world makes me feel a little terrified. But I know I’m not 1900. I have to come out of my “ship” and start interacting with people. I ask myself: “What can I lose?” If I start to actively talk to people, they may not like me, or they might think I’m boring. But the reality is, no matter how perfect I am, I cannot make everybody like me – even Superman cannot make that happen! What’s more, if I’m lucky, I’ll end up with more friends. I decided this was a trade I wanted to make.

After I made up my mind I began to try to come out of my comfort zone. I applied to the career peer program and was happy to be accepted. As a peer educator I got extremely useful training and practice, and soon I started helping students.

It is amazing. I meet strangers for every one of my sessions. I have realized I’m not afraid at all of talking to them. In contrast, I’m excited about every session! Most of the time, conversation goes very smoothly. Even when there were unexpected incidents, I found I was able to deal with them and became more and more confident. Especially later, after being transferred to the computing science co-op office, because I started to help students do mock interviews. Thanks to my background knowledge, I’m the only peer there who could help students in this way. I feel so proud when my students succeed to the final round of interviews with companies like Microsoft.

In conclusion, please don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Yes, the outside world is sometimes dangerous, but it is also fun and filled with treasure. The truth is, without trying, you’ll never know what you can do. Infinite possibility is good; unpredictable is good. Life would be boring if you could foresee everything! If that were the case, there would be no surprise, no challenge, no happiness when you find something sparkle in yourself that you would otherwise never see, like I did.

If that sounds good to you, there are lots of opportunities out there. By the way, all peer programs are recruiting now! You’re welcome to join us to help fellow students, discover your potential, and share your stories!

Chao Han, Career Peer EducatorChao Han is a Career Peer Educator with SFU Career Services, and a Ph.D. student in computing science. Given her abilities with logic and numbers, she thought for a while of becoming a pro hacker - but instead wants to use her skills for good. She aspires to work in the security industry, and loves programming, comic books, and table tennis.


Posted on March 20, 2013