Before I started my university career at SFU, I had many people tell me to go on exchange because it changed their lives. But there was also a handful of people saying that SFU’s co-op program is very good, and I should get work experience before I graduated. So I thought, “Why not do both?”
I decided to do the most I could possibly do in my undergraduate degree. In addition to staying on top of my courses, I wanted to get involved in extracurricular activities and meet other people who had the same drive and interests as me. Now that I am on the brink of graduating, I can say that the past four years of my life have been the happiest and most fulfilling. My top 3 ingredients are below:
- Flour: Stay on top of your courses.
Although grades do not make or break your career, maintaining a high GPA definitely has its perks and puts you on the fast-track to where you want to be. Don’t let your GPA prevent you from opportunities, such as applying for exchange, receiving scholarships, or getting past the resume stage for job applications.
- Grain of Salt: Don’t rely on other people’s experiences. Step out of your comfort zone to try it out yourself.
Go and see what being a student in Europe is really like. I did an academic exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark and I found out their school system and lifestyle is quite different! Don’t be complacent; when you’re in a position where you’re not learning anything new and you’re stuck with a routine, challenge yourself with a new experience at school or a hobby.
- Basket of Eggs: Enrich your degree by diversifying your experiences.
Sharpen your skill set through obtaining leadership skills from student clubs, analytical skills from case competitions, and real-life experiences through co-op. I gained problem-solving skills in a time-crunched environment in JDC West and APEX, and learned how to present myself in interviews for my co-ops.
No matter what you choose to do, you are choosing the ingredients for your own recipe. Every experience is a stepping stone to something greater. Don’t shy away from opportunities – if you don’t try, the answer will always be no.
Samantha is a fourth year Finance student at the Beedie School of Business. She has completed co-ops at Fidelity Investments and at RBC Capital Markets, was involved with the Finance Club as a Vice President, is a Beedie Ambassador and is currently a Portfolio Manager for the Beedie Endowment Asset Management (BEAM). Samantha completed an academic exchange to Copenhagen, Denmark, which included traveling to 15 other countries during her 6 months abroad.