SENS graduate makes the most of distance learning opportunities – News
“I want to be careful before I say this,” said Orellano, “because I know the pandemic has been difficult for so many people, and I don’t want to take it away. But for me, it has changed my life in the common sense.
During the first months of the pandemic, the retail sector was particularly hard hit and despite his managerial role, Orellano saw limited opportunities for future growth.
“I think because of my background in biology, I have a personal philosophy that you have to adapt to the situation in front of you if you are to thrive and be successful – so this is the attitude I have taken. at the start of COVID, that I needed to adjust and find something new to do, ”said the new graduate from the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) . “It was the push I needed to change my life so I started looking at graduate programs and tried to figure out what I wanted to do besides retail. “
Pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions made moving somewhere to begin study in person an unlikely option, and he began looking for an online degree program that would help him move into a new career. After choosing the Masters in Water Safety program at USask, Orellano was a little concerned about the transition from work to full-time study in an online environment.
“I finished my undergraduate studies seven years ago, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The first two weeks were quite intense and it was difficult to go back to school, ”he said. “There were times at the beginning when I wondered if I had made the right choice, or if I should withdraw from the program. But I approached my studies as a job; I set myself hours to keep up to date with everything, and after the first few weeks, I got it. I think it helped with COVID, you have less of a social life so I didn’t have as many distractions. “
As for the rest of the program, Orellano was surprised at the engagement and community he found in an online program.
“I felt an immediate sense of community, despite his remoteness, which was shocking to me. There was a lot of WhatsApp chats and groups with classmates, so it was easy to collaborate on homework and feel like you were part of the group, ”he said.
“I felt like my instructors really cared that we understood the content and interacted with ourselves as people, not as a student ID number. Dr. (Andrew) Ireson (PhD), the program director, was very accessible, kind and very present throughout the program, not just during its class. He was always available for support and advice despite his many responsibilities and even offered to check my resume when I applied for jobs. He really cares about his students and their success in his program.
After completing the program at the end of August, Orellano was able to move from his studies to a contract position as a research technician at Ryerson University, working on COVID-19 wastewater research.
“Retail has given me a lot of skills that have come in handy in my new role here,” said Orellano, whose graduation officially marks USask’s online convocation celebration on the 10th. November. “I always think of the end user, which helps me on a technical and programming side. The foresight to anticipate people’s needs was something that I was always supposed to do in retail, but I enjoy my new career a thousand times more.I am happy to be somewhere where I can do something useful for society and the world.
Orellano was a welcome addition to SENS’s master’s program, according to the program director.
“It was a real pleasure teaching and supervising Diego in the MWS program,” said Ireson, associate professor at SENS. “I was impressed with his engagement in the courses and the online discussions. His enthusiasm and his abilities will take him far. He quickly found a great job in hydrologic data analysis after completing the program, and I’m sure he has a promising and exciting career ahead of him.
This fall, 926 students are expected to graduate from USask with 939 degrees, diplomas and certificates. These graduates join a century-old community of nearly 165,000 alumni around the world whose contributions help shape our world. Due to the pandemic, no in-person ceremony will take place. Instead, there are a variety of occasions to celebrate. Learn more about the celebrations at students.usask.ca / usaskclassof2021.