For the month of November all of my classmates from the Maritime Provinces gathered together in Halifax for our first lab block. The last time we all got together in person was months ago in April for our face-to-face orientation meet up so I was very excited to see everyone again. The first day at lab we recognized that some students we met months back have since left the program with their own reasoning which I sadly did not recognize online because our class is fairly large. In the online environment you get use to seeing students names from their forum posts and in the weekly meetings but with a class size of nearly 50 students people get lost in the mix online. The portion of my online classmates that are from the east coast is 16 students including me which is almost 40% of my overall class that I have got to spend time with in the month of November.
In the online environment the most time we get to connect with each other personally is in our weekly online meetings before we get into our theory discussions. The problem is that each week we have multiple choices for our online meetings to accommodate with student schedules so I don’t always get to connect with everyone weekly. In our lab block however I have spend hours and hours with my classmates and have become so close with them that I now consider them friends. I actually look forward to lab each night because its not just great practical learning, it’s fun, we laugh, and we learn from one another.
The connections I have made in labs are going to benefit my learning for the rest of the program online because I feel comfortable contacting my classmates for help and support instead of just my teachers. I don’t want to come across that the online environment is not supportive because it absolutely is however making these closer connections has made it easier for me to start these conversations. I have learned which classmates are strong in different aspects of our program so if I am struggling in a particular area I know who I can contact for help, instead of spending hours struggling at home alone.
I think that making these connections will make our program a lot more fun as we can relate to one another more. The lab blocks have also given me an opportunity to spend time with familiar instructors and new instructors who are all registered cardiovascular techs here in Nova Scotia. These connections will surely benefit us down the line when we are searching for jobs or have questions about the Canadian Society for Cardiology Technology registration exam. I still have another week or so of labs left which will be sad to see everyone leave but I can say I am more excited now than I think it is ever was to work in the field of cardiology technology.