By Deborah Idogun, Master of Business Administration student
It’s been almost a year of virtual learning. I remember spending the Christmas holidays in Manchester, UK (remember travel?) before returning to Canada, anticipating a new semester.
I remember vividly how those anticipations were cut short when I got an email from TRU informing us that classes were to be attended virtually.
I felt dissatisfied, as I only got to spend two weeks attending classes and volunteering in person at school, guiding new students. Months went by and there were no signs of schools reopening soon, and the consecutive endless lockdowns did not offer much hope of a reopening. It was official: we were stuck with virtual learning in the pandemic!
Nevertheless, I decided I was going to redeem my anticipations that had almost been dashed at that point by getting the best out of the year academically and socially despite the pandemic. I did the following to ensure a well-rounded learning experience throughout the year:
1. Developed an intentional attitude
Virtual classes required me to build a level of discipline whereby I had to make intentional efforts to stay focused during every class session because it was easy to get distracted attending classes from home. Distractions included texting or grabbing a bite every now and then, because, oh well, the fridge and pantry are closer now than ever!
2. Limited physical contact where necessary
If I was not getting groceries, going to the pharmacy or taking a walk to the park, I stayed home. I did this because it was the responsible thing to do and to protect myself and everyone around me.
3. Protected my mental health and remained physically active
I took a lot of walks, did what exercise I could from the comfort of home and tried to follow a healthy meal plan. These helped regulate my moods and made me feel better through all occurrences associated with the pandemic.
4. Safe social interactions and virtual volunteering
When announcements for a limited social gathering of 10 people were made last summer, I had a picnic with my housemate and three friends. We played games, ate homemade food, took pictures and vlogged about the picnic.
I went on a drive with a friend to a beach I had never been to, and while I did not get close to the water, I enjoyed the view!
I also tried to continue volunteering in marketing and communications by making videos.
This was my experience. I miss travelling, getting together with friends and being on campus, but we have to adapt and keep going. I hope other students will try these things to enjoy a well-rounded learning experience in these times.