By Laura Gervais
It’s not breaking news that life as we know it has come to a screeching halt due to the ongoing pandemic. The music and film industries are on hold, businesses went bankrupt, and families and friends are unable to gather. One part of our lives as students that has deeply been affected is, obviously, our academic careers. All CÉGEP and University programs have had to undergo dramatic transformation, what with the transition to online classes, and Sciences students especially feel its impacts. Imagine doing chemistry labs in your kitchen, except with zero equipment and no lab partner for guidance — only a simulation on your computer screen. The Electricity & Magnetism course now requires pupils to purchase an electricity kit in order to perform experiments and build circuits at home.
Learning in a school environment, with peers, can be challenging in itself. Doing all assignments alone at home brings a whole new set of obstacles. For instance, how will we acquire certain skills we need for our future studies? Pure and Applied second-year student Joshua Cohen comments, “Will I gain the same competencies? Probably not”. He does note, however, that there are plus sides to the situation: “Labs at home are a blessing in disguise because we still have the teacher’s assistance, but we don’t have as much of a time constraint”.
Certainly, the Science program has suffered due to the pandemic, as have all paths of study. Nonetheless, it is not all doom and gloom. Good things have arisen as a consequence of the cultural and social shift brought on by the infamous coronavirus. Studies show that the crisis has inspired people to appreciate science more. The article “Young people are more interested in a scientific career as a result of COVID-19” by the British Science Association demonstrates just that. Tabitha Salisbury, a young student, remarks in the interview: “I hadn't really considered studying science further at college or university, but during this time, I've been intrigued by how vaccines are developed as well as the trial process.” Everyone is experiencing the effects of this historic moment in time, and it seems that more and more people want to understand and to be a part of the solution. The BSA also conducted a survey, and it concluded that 37% of people between 14 and 18 years of age are more likely to pursue a career in a field of science.
A similar statistic applies to Dawson. In a poll on The Plant’s Instagram story (@theplantnews), almost 40% of the voters claimed to have a heightened interest in Science in general, and it’s understandable. Our collective way of life has changed. Only through science (and government regulations - keep on social distancing, people) will we prevent the spread of this virus and of any future viruses that will perhaps once more disrupt social equilibrium. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the world is not at its end. We just have to change our definition of “normal”.