Only a video call away

Presenting research virtually, taking online classes, and staying connected to SAF faculty – a student’s account of the last few weeks in the PhD Accounting program.

With a month left to go in the winter term of my first year in the PhD Accounting program, we were told to pack up our offices and prepare to not be back on campus for a while… little did I know that I was about to experience one of the most challenging yet reflective times of my life.

Over the following week, all my classes went online. I had never taken an online class before, so I had no idea what to expect – but it turns out it was a new experience for most of us, professors included. Together we learned how to use video conferencing software and made light of our bloopers. Some of us forgot to un-mute ourselves when talking, some of us had horrible internet so our video kept freezing, and my dog made a few surprise appearances!

Jillian Adams

I was also nervous about completing my summer research paper in an online environment. This is the first research paper I will complete on my own and getting feedback from my supervisor, fellow PhD students, and other SAF faculty is so crucial to my learning and success. So, even though SAF was required to cancel all research seminars, I decided to host a webinar where I presented my research ideas to SAF faculty and students. I was initially apprehensive about how it would go, but it was so encouraging to see the large turnout and support! I received lots of great feedback on my research and many SAF faculty members invited me to reach out if I wanted to discuss their feedback in more detail.

Overall, I’d say one of the hardest parts about this time for me is staying productive and motivated, but I have found a lot of success in staying connected and re-discovering what makes me happy. I’ve realized the importance of sticking to a routine that includes time for research and time for other things, and this balance makes my research time much more efficient. I’ve been taking my dog for long walks, having video chats with my fellow PhD students and my supervisor, and I’ve started painting.

I’ve also realized that some days are not going to be as productive as others, and last-minute things will come up that impact my plan for the day. But through this experience I’ve realized that’s okay. I feel confident about being able to persevere in times of uncertainty and successfully adapt to new situations, especially with the support system I have around me. Even though I may be physically alone, I don’t feel alone – my supervisor, classmates, and SAF faculty are only a video call away and it is comforting to know that we are all on the same team, doing our best to support each other and get through this together.

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