Learning to adapt to unforeseeable circumstances

When I started my first co-op work term in January 2020, I imagined business casual outfits, to-go cup coffee, and cute School of Accounting and Finance stationary for our team meetings; and while I was able to fulfill most of these little daydreams, I never took into account it would be disrupted so swiftly by the COVID- 19 pandemic.Photo of Kiera CzCome March 2020 we began adapting to a work from home lifestyle - for what I thought would only be a couple weeks - which resulted in consistent Zoom meetings and baking lots of cookies to snack on through the workday. After a couple weeks, I started to accept that working from home was going to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. Despite how scary these “unprecedented times” are (words we would come to hear thrown around every few days), it definitely prepared me for not just the world at hand, but also the whole school term that was quickly approaching that was being delivered entirely online. So, I quickly adopted some habits that I still use to this day as I’ve returned to my work from home co-op term. 

I’ve learnt the hard way to get out of my bedroom when trying to work or study. I prefer working in the kitchen or living room area so I am not distracted by how comfy my bed looks. If this isn’t a viable option, I try to at least work at a desk in my room. I remember reading an article in my first year of university where if you do work in your bed, it’s harder to fall asleep at night as your brain is now conditioned to be active in bed. I’m not sure if there’s science to back that up, but it has stuck with me ever since. 

Working a full time job from home or being enrolled in online 4-5 courses takes up a lot of time - which left me stuck inside for most of the day. That’s why during my lunch hour I like to take walks through the nearest park - whether it's to grab something to eat or just for a leisurely stroll - to make sure I get some sunlight, fresh air, and move my body around after sitting at the kitchen table for the first 4 hours of my morning. 

Finally, and something I’ve practiced since high school, is having a planner and checking it daily. With working from home, I noticed the days of the week seem to blend together and any concept of time completely slips my mind, so having a planner really helps me keep my life together. I write down all important dates or meeting times, and check it at least every morning to make sure I am on track for the day ahead. 

All in all, learning to adapt to a completely virtual school year and work term hasn’t been the easiest of feats but it has definitely prepared me for the upcoming years of post-COVID normalcy, and how technology and professional settings may progress in order to keep students and employees safe.

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