CapU’s graduating students recall the hardships, lessons and memories that came from going to university during the pandemic
Taylor Colby (she/her) // Contributor
Sol Yoon // Illustrator
Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world into isolation, this year’s graduating class of 2023 can truly say they’ve been through it all. The CapU graduates began their university journeys only months before the start of the pandemic, and they have been faced with numerous challenges and obstacles along the way. Choosing courses, meeting new people and planning one’s life can be difficult, but the pandemic added a whole new set of challenges. Now, as this year’s graduating students look back on their journeys, they are able to reflect on both the difficult times and the lessons they’ve learnt.
“I will never take working in groups or in-person settings for granted”, says CapU graduating student Alanah Dulong as she reflects on her time during university. In the online world in which we are living, students were fortunate enough to still be able to attend classes over Zoom. The virtual learning environment “provided more flexibility through the opportunity to take mixed mode and online synchronous courses.” However, staring at a screen all day also has its drawbacks. “I found it more challenging to stay engaged during 3-hour online lectures, and, as a result, I usually had to work extra hard to teach myself the course material,” said Dulong.
Lesson plans are often structured to be taught in an in-person environment, but suddenly, many professors were forced to change their curriculum, as well as the way in which they delivered it. However, in her final month as a university student, Dulong still feels that she is “equipped to take on real-world work experiences”.
Adrianna Babinski, former captain of the Capilano University varsity women’s soccer team, claims that “as a student athlete during the pandemic, it felt as though one of the two worlds were taken away from me. As an athlete you’re constantly surrounded by teammates and trainers, and with that taken away, it was just added isolation.” While school was still operating online, there was no way for sports to take place virtually, resulting in so many student athletes having yet another major part of their life and university experience taken away.
Some students feel that the pandemic has helped them to better appreciate the connections and friendships that are made during university as well as the work that goes into planning and teaching classes. In speaking with students, they convey that it has opened up a whole new world of opportunities when it comes to online and mixed mode classes, which have allowed students to attend their classes from different areas and has provided a way to still stay caught up when in-person attendance was impossible.
This April, as the graduating students write their final finals, many will reflect upon their time at university. Despite all the hardships that Babinski had to endure, she feels that she has come out stronger and is filled with gratitude. “The ultimate lesson for myself is to live as genuinely as I can,” she claims. As the old saying goes, life is short, and we should seize every moment.