Post-secondary students adapting to life working from home one year later

How students and instructors are making working from home work for them


By Christi Walter

Since the pandemic began almost a year ago, many people have transformed their makeshift home classrooms into a productive space.

Post-secondary students are navigating a new normal this year while learning online, often from their bedrooms. To help them focus, they are finding methods to adapt in these environments to help them focus

Like many businesses, post-secondary institutions in B.C. are running their programs remotely as the pandemic continues. Due to public health orders, courses are being offered online, meaning many students are experiencing school remotely for the first time.

Be more productive

Leisl Brewster, a master’s student in zoology at the University of British Columbia, does think school from home can be more productive.

“If you’re in university, the whole big part of the experience is going to university sitting in lecture and chatting to the person next to you, or just having small interactions every day. That’s kind of completely gone.” Brewster said.

Students are finding ways to make their home spaces work for them. Karly McMullen, who’s in the masters of oceans and fisheries program at UBC, has decorated her bedroom office with maps and other ocean-themed things.

“It was to remind myself of why I’m doing this work,” said McMullen, who also likes to keep an ample supply of dark chocolate and water nearby. “And to feel a little bit more connected with the ocean, which is what I’m trying to study.”

Dan Slessor, a librarian at Langara College at and adjunct professor at UBC, says it allows him more time with his children, ages two and four. He’s currently working out of his son’s bedroom in North Vancouver.

“You can’t put a price on more time with your children and things like that,”said Slessor.

Julia Adelsheim, a UBC master’s student under the marine mammals unit, turned her guest room into an office space. Adelsheim has completed two bachelor degrees, and has just started her masters. She is very set in her study methods.

“I really rely on that physical division of, here is where I relax, and here is where I do work.”

She’s organized her new space, and decorated her desk with little things that make her happy, such as a tiny brain cactus and gold-toned cheetah desk lamp.

Having a designated space to work from home allows her to focus.

“I really rely on that physical division of, here is where I relax, and here is where I do work,” said Adelsheim.

Ana Pozas, a marine life master’s student at UBC, first started trying to tackle her program from home and found it to be a logistical nightmare. She needed to buy a monitor and printer, whereas before COVID-19, she would go to the library to use their computer services.

However, Pozas has introduced some personal touches too. She hung a hummingbird feeder outside the window facing her desk.

“I do a lot of photography,” she said. “So, I’m [used to having] my camera facing the hummingbird feeder at all times and would just run and press record when everyone came.”

Some people find the switch to working from home seamless, and even meaningful.


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