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Becoming familiar with the unfamiliar

February 18, 2022

By Cierra Johal  

Food insecurity is something that I have been fortunate enough to never have to encounter in my life, and to be frank, was something that was never at the forefront of my mind. It was until I took this job, at the SFU Food Hub, where my perspective on many topics changed.

I got offered this job through the SFU Office of Community Engagement, where I was a Communications and Event Assistant for my first work term. I loved working with this office, but I would be lying if I did not think I was fit for this position. What would a student like me, who has never struggled with food security, be doing coordinating food security initiatives at SFU? I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone and take the job. Wow I am so glad I did.

Throughout this co-op position, I caught myself multiple times in the mindset of “do I know enough about this?” and “am I qualified enough for this?” It can be so incredibly easy to doubt yourself, so I made the effort to turn this way of thinking around.

Here are three tips that you can try to incorporate if you are feeling doubtful about your skills:

1)     Ask questions:

One way I felt more secure and confident was by asking questions about the past food hubs and about food security in general. It helped me understand the main goals for this project, and gain so much more knowledge on food security.

2)     Learn from everything:

I began turning the lack of confidence in myself into a mindset of taking everything as a learning experience. This is a learning environment! You are not expected to know how to do everything!

3)    Do research:

Reading about different food security initiatives across Canada was extremely beneficial, as I got a sense of what other programs were doing, and how they were helping others. It gave me a broader sense of food security and also helped me when trying to develop food programs.

Personally, this job has helped me recognize that I need to be more confident in myself. Just because I am not experienced in this field of work, doesn't mean I can’t learn and grow from it.

Professionally, I was able to strengthen my PR skills by reaching out to different organizations inside and outside of SFU for potential partnerships. I learned the importance of these partnerships and how they allow for your project to grow and develop into something bigger and better for the people who need it most. Working alongside a team of people so invested in helping students and families gain access to healthy and fresh food made this job so rewarding. Hearing about the number of people struggling with food security only made me want to work harder to see something be implemented on campus.

So if you ever think you aren't qualified enough for the job, think again. Learn from everything you do, ask questions and be confident in yourself. Take the job that pushes you out of your comfort zone, it is going to help you grow the most! Hopefully, with these tips, the unfamiliar will become familiar to you in no time.