4 Fundamental Tips for Workplace Survival

4 Fundamental Tips for Workplace Survival

By: Sonya Hall
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Pictured above, SFU Co-op students on a work-term with the Vancouver Canucks. Left to right: Alyssa Wiens (Community Partnerships), Kayla Phillips (Media Relations), Sonya Hall (Community Partnerships).

Whether you have previous work experience or not, transitioning from full-time student to full-time career professional can be a challenge. As I approach the halfway mark of my Co-op with the Vancouver Canucks, I’ve had a chance to reflect on all the things I've learned so far. My role as a Community Partnership Student Associate is filled with a variety of responsibilities and exciting opportunities that require excellent organization and time management. Having a few strategies in place has really helped me to succeed in these areas, so here are a few of my top tips for surviving your new Co-op role:


1.      Look after yourself

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat full meals, and, if you can, go for a walk at lunch. When you're a full time student it can be easy to let these areas of life get away from you, but eating poorly and feeling tired can really affect your performance. Making these small lifestyle improvements instead will go a long way to helping you succeed in your new professional role. Eating and sleeping well will help you think clearly and work more efficiently, and getting some fresh air mid-day can really help you to focus throughout the last half of the day.

2.     Use your study skills

Most positions require some degree of organization and time-management, and as a full-time student you have most likely already developed some effective strategies in these areas. In my role as Student Associate, I use the skills I developed in my studies to help organize myself at work. I'm responsible for several projects at a time, some short term, some ongoing, as well as a multitude of daily and weekly tasks. Keeping a calendar and to-do lists help me to stay on top of my responsibilities, and ensure tasks are completed well and on time. Also, keeping emails tidy within folders and categories helps keep communication efficient and professional. These are a few of many ways that your study strategies can help you succeed professionally.

3.      Join in

At the Vancouver Canucks, I'm very lucky to have many great opportunities to participate in bonus activities. I feel strongly that it's in my best interest to say “yes” to most every opportunity that presents itself. After all, I'm here to learn, to create positive work experiences, and to network with potential future employers. Thanks to Co-op, I've been a hole-spotter at a charity golf tournament, spent a morning running around downtown with Canucks mascot Fin in support of literacy programs, looked after dogs with the BCSPCA on Live 2 Give day, and was the script supervisor for the Vancouver Canucks Coaching Day in BC event, and that’s just to name a few of the experiences I've had so far! As a result of participating in these extra events, I've made great connections with dozens of professionals in my desired career field. I'm so excited to see what other cool experiences lay ahead.

4.      Be confident 

Transitioning into a new role can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you lack confidence in yourself. Nobody expects you to know exactly what to do at all times, and asking questions is encouraged, but it's also important to have confidence in yourself and trust your own judgment. Try to remember that your employers chose you for a reason. If I ever feel unsure that I can accomplish something, I remind myself that my managers believe I can do it, and that helps me to feel more confident. I believe that confidence is an important skill to develop in the journey to becoming a professional.


These tips may seem simple, but be sure to give them a try! They continue to help me make the most out of my Co-op experience, and I hope they will do the same for you.


Beyond the Article:

  • Connect with Sonya on LinkedIn!
  • Hear more from students who have done a Co-op with Vancouver's beloved hockey team! Nicole goes into detail about all she learned and accomplished working for the Vancouver Canucks.
  • Still looking for tips on how to transition into your new Co-op position successfully? Miranda's got you covered on the ABC's of not sucking during your work term.


Posted on January 19, 2015