School of Communication Graduand Discusses how to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

June 13, 2024

When she joined SFU, School of Communication graduand Seleena Thandi would have described herself as “introverted” and “shy”. Now finished her undergraduate degree and crossing the stage this June, those words no longer seem to fit.

Her first step out of her comfort zone was joining the Active Bystander Network at SFU. This group works to educate the SFU community on sexual violence support and prevention. Thandi says that her time in this group helped her work up the courage to join Co-op.

She spent her first two co-op terms working with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association as a Communication and Marketing Intern and Area Enhancement Intern. In these roles, Thandi got hands on experience where she was able to apply the communications skills that she learnt in her classes. This included work in areas such as marketing, writing and editing.

Her last Co-op term was for the School of Communication as the Digital Communications Assistant. In this role she was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the School’s operations while continuing to gain valuable communications experience. This work included developing communications materials for the School’s website and channels, using web analytics services to assess digital metrics, and much more.

One particular highlight for Thandi from this experience was collaborating with faculty members to produce a series of faculty videos that showcased their research expertise. Through this, she was able to connect with the School’s faculty in a much more personal manner, rather than just in the classroom as a student.

“After being able to meet the School’s staff and faculty outside of the classroom, I realized how tight-knit of a community the School is at its core,” she says. 

Academically, Thandi took a lot away from the last course she completed for her degree; a course on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms taught by School of Communication professor Stephanie Dick. At a time when there is such much excitement about AI and what it can do, Thandi believes that it’s important to take a step back and critically think about what relying on AI might mean for our society.

When asked what advice she would give to other students entering the program, she suggests stepping out of your comfort zone like she did. Whether this is joining a club, Co-op, or just talking to the person next to you in class, Thandi encourages others to do something that scares them, because that is the best way to grow.

“Do things outside of your comfort zone because that’s the only way you can learn new skills, learn more about yourself and get to know new people. Learning to be uncomfortable is a huge skill that you can apply to any area in your life.”