Learning online: One student’s experience

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Image shows a man in firefighter clothing standing outside with the sun behind him.

When Kevin Petryshen decided to pursue his post-secondary education after 10 years away from school, he never could have anticipated how his first year would end. Keenly focused on his studies, and on securing a summer job as a wildland firefighter, he hadn’t fully realized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic until the College was forced to quickly transition all courses to alternative delivery methods.

Kevin, who switched his focus from Kinesiology to Pre-Education, adapted to being back in school by being a focused learner who found quiet spaces in the library and other corners of the College to study. With those options gone, he needed to regroup quickly.

“I live with three other roommates and two dogs and had no dedicated study space at home,” he said. “Working in the dining room meant too many distractions so, thankfully, my roommates offered me a room to use solely for studying. Being able to create a dedicated study space, organizing my days at the beginning of the week while remaining flexible, and finding good stress relief techniques are all tools that helped a lot. I plan to use them for the fall semester as well.”

With these tools in his pocket, Kevin found it easier to adapt to learning online. Thankfully, he didn’t feel like he was in it alone.

“I have to thank all of my instructors,” he said. “Every one of them found ways to make the semester still end on a strong and high note. They kept expectations high which was extremely rewarding in the end.”

As the fall 2020 semester gets underway, Kevin is confident that what he learned at the end of the winter semester, combined with his life experience, will help complete the semester online.

“As a mature student, I couldn’t be more grateful for the tools I have developed over the years to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, physical activity, and my love of nature,” he said. “As the pandemic grew, I knew my future was going to be affected by the choices I made. Having these stress-release tools helped me to finish out the winter semester strongly and will help me going forward into fall.”

Always positive, Kevin remains optimistic amidst the challenges of living and going to school through a pandemic.

“Hopefully when we overcome it, it is going to make us all stronger, adaptable, and more united.”

Kevin’s long-term goals are to earn a Bachelor of Education degree, teach in the Elk Valley, and eventually return to school to earn a master’s degree.

“Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even become an instructor at College of the Rockies,” he said.