A Co-op Experience: A New Journey

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A Co-op Experience: A New Journey

By: Mona Jalili | SFU BPK Co-op Student
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I may have a clear understanding of my philosophy in life revolving around 3 main principles: God, family and career; however, it wasn’t until my journey through co-op that this solid foundation has inspired me to direct my energy and future aspirations to becoming a pharmacist.

Although I always knew that I wanted to hold a career within the health field, I wasn’t sure where I would fit in. After years of thought, volunteer work, and self-investigation into this matter, the questions “What do I want to do with my life? What do I want to become?” still remained unanswered. I am sure there are many of you out there who may or may not have declared a major, but still don’t have a clear vision of what you enjoy and where you see yourself 5, 10 years from now. That’s because it’s not until you’ve had first-hand experience that you’ll start putting the pieces of the puzzle together!

Darleen Bemister (BPK co-op coordinator) used to come in to lectures and enthusiastically give her presentations about the benefits of co-op, but like others I ignored her message! Until my third year.

I am a Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology major and the past three semesters I have been lucky to be part of an amazing group of researchers at SFU. I owe my thanks for being given this opportunity to Darleen, my co-op coordinator,  Cheri Fielder, the co-op program assistant, and of course my supervisor, Dr. Stephen Robinovitch.

Co-op made me realize the importance of research. I became quick-witted, efficient, orderly, and prolific. I was able to effectively multi-task without lethargy or difficulty. My research made me feel empowered because I knew this was the kind of research that not only saves lives – but improves them. During my hours of research and experiments I have learned the importance of finding cures, education, and training clinicians.

I was part of an extraordinary research team; the only ones in the world having observed 200 videos of seniors in care facilities who had fallen in order to better understand ways in which to prevent such injuries. This also led me to desire to understand the effect of drugs more thoroughly, aside from my background as a kinesiologist.

Our research team was also the only team to have tested padded undergarments called hip protectors, which are worn by seniors in care facilities to help prevent the risk of hip fractures and forced impact. I actually won Best Undergraduate Research Award for my research with these hip protectors. I am now on my way to publishing my first manuscript/journal.

If it wasn’t for co-op I would have never had the opportunity to work side by side with the top researchers, clinicians and residents in Long Term Care Facilities in the Fraser Valley. I have also worked with top researchers: Dr. Stephen Robinovitch and Dr. Fabio Feldman. I have already successfully created networks and would like to continue to do so.

Co-op made me feel the passion and the personality that it takes to be a successful part of the industry. In many ways, I feel with the patient and understand them on an emotional level. I believe this is the key to being a successful health care worker and it is a quality that is highly needed and sought after.

I had originally set to complete only two semesters in the lab but it has become an addiction. I enjoy what I do. The skills I have gained will be of benefit to my future career as a pharmacist.

It would be a great privilege to be able to further my education with a PhD degree. I would expand on previous research centered on falls, to understand the possible causes and cognitive impairments due to pharmaceutical products. I would be honouring my family, accomplishing my life’s goals, and aiding the increasing efforts made by health care professionals both in the community and globally. I believe that I have the dedication, talent, skills and motivation to make a difference.

So here I am walking you down my co-op path.  I don’t know what your background is, what your career goals are, but what I do know is that you should give co-op a chance and explore. You will never know the many opportunities that lay along your undergraduate journey that can be unraveled with a peak into co-op. It’s not too late to enroll in co-op, I wish I had another colleague tell me this!


Beyond the Article

  • Want to find out more about Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at SFU? Find out more, here.
Posted on October 24, 2010