Jill McArthur isn’t looking forward to online learning at university, but she has no intention of putting her plans for a Bachelor of Science on hold.
Despite the uncertainty, and stress and anxiety related to COVID-19, the Grade 12 Peter Skene Ogden Secondary student said she plans to attend Thompson Rivers University this fall.
“It will be different and uncertain, but it will still be a new experience for me which is exciting,” McArthur said, adding that online learning “wouldn’t be ideal, but it is better than not having anything.”
The ongoing pandemic has grads looking at all their options this summer. With grads being given little to no advice, many are facing a lot of stress and anxiety, especially with the pandemic. Some like McArthur, are following their career paths, while many students have thought about taking a gap year either due to the pandemic or to make money for the next year.
Student John Jordaan said he didn’t consider a gap year because of COVID, but “I have considered taking a gap year to get some money before going to university.”
Jordaan said he plans to take a summer job and make money for university or college. He hopes to attend the University of British Columbia in the fall in order to “learn many new skills and meet new, interesting people.”
However, both he and McArthur are still hesitant about having to learn from home or online. “I don’t object to temporary online education, but I’m not sure whether it will work long term,” said Jordaan. “It would be challenging to do hands-on learning such as labs.”
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McArthur said she would also prefer to do in-person learning. “I find learning to be more engaging when in a classroom setting,” she said.
Halle Guimond, a PSO graduate now at Douglas College, said college “was definitely a struggle at the beginning.”
She said there were many new challenges, including, “trying to figure out time management, staying motivated, making sure that I still got out of the house often enough and just trying to figure out how everything works.”
Guimond is now in her second semester, which she says feels a lot easier than the first.
“It’s very different communicating with people through Zoom, and I definitely wish I could socialize with my peers in-person because trying to work in groups online can pose a bit of a challenge at times,” she said.
Overall, though, as Guimond takes the prerequisites for a Baccalaureate of Psychiatric Nursing, she says it has been getting easier to adapt to the changes over time. After becoming more organized online and getting out and doing activities with people in her social circle, Guimond says, “school feels much easier to handle and much less overwhelming, and I’m enjoying my classes a lot more.”
With university only about half a year away, McArthur can’t wait. “It’s exciting and nerve-wracking to think about.”
Lauren Keller is a Grade 12 Peter Skene Ogden student. She is doing her Capstone project with the Free Press.