Enthusiastically awaiting a safe return to campus

August 30, 2021

By Adriana González Braniff

Tijil Garg, Simon Fraser University School of Criminology undergraduate transfer student, eagerly awaits this fall’s safe, equitable and supportive return to campus. With carefully developed guidance documents, safety plans, mental health tools, and other important resources, SFU is ready to welcome students back.

Garg, who is excited for September’s return, enjoys involvement within the community and is an active participant in various volunteering opportunities.  Currently, as a HIVE leader, he helps new students get familiarized with SFU, and he also works as a Wayfinding Champion, providing campus tours. As someone who values involvement in the community, he expressed that he believes “in-person learning makes students feel more connected and motivated, creating a feeling of belonging and a positively challenging environment.”

Even though Garg acknowledges online learning has many benefits such as reduced commute time, course flexibility, lower costs, a comfortable learning setup, and no geographic limitations, he says it has been strange for him. As something completely new to his experience, and after several months of giving it his best effort, he can confidently say he prefers in-person learning. Nevertheless, like many others, he adjusted to the challenge and made the best of it. “I think I have made a lot of progress from how things were initially,” he says. 

When asked what he misses the most about learning in person, Garg says that “simply being in a class with other students provided a better environment for his learning.” He believes that for him, being at home creates a comfort zone with distractions, making it harder to focus. This view differs among students, as some others find the opposite: learning from home allows them to learn better, highlighting the importance of acknowledging each person’s uniqueness and differences in learning styles. 

Garg is excited to return to many aspects of in-person learning, such as exploring the beautiful campus, grabbing a bite to eat from the different cafés, sharing a class with other students, and talking to new friends. 

While Garg has not yet had a chance to be an in-person student at SFU, this has not stopped him from recently familiarizing himself with everything SFU’s Burnaby campus has to offer. He believes there are countless opportunities for students, and he is looking forward to these new experiences. Garg frequently enjoys the "amazing mountain views from the fourth floor of the Academic Quadrangle", and recently discovered the Student Union Building, which he noted will likely be “one of his favourite study spots.” 

“The pandemic has not been an easy battle for anyone but we have made it this far, and we will make it to the end together,” he says. Let’s continue to be kind and understanding as we all move at our own pace. The next few months will be the biggest change we’ve faced since the start of the pandemic, so it is important to talk to others about comfort levels and give everyone, including ourselves, time to adjust.

Visit this page for information on the return to campus process as well as trusted resources on COVID-19, vaccinations, mental health, and well-being.