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  • Austin Au

Studying Criminology From The North

My first term of university was vastly different from what I expected it to be. I think we can all agree that the global pandemic has changed our perception of learning, especially in a remote environment, forcing us to make new study habits. I would have never imagined that I would be living and studying from my hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon far north of SFU Burnaby. Furthermore, I would never have predicted some of the challenges I would go on to face that are not strictly academic. For example, Wi-Fi can be unreliable at times in my city, which can be extremely frustrating, especially during an essential zoom regarding exam material. Another issue I ran into frequently was dealing with the time change. Halfway through the semester, B.C. decided to turn their clocks back an hour on November 1, 2020, while the Yukon chose to implement permanent daylight savings time. This meant that the time in Whitehorse would be an hour ahead of B.C. until March 1, 2020. So, I had to adjust to a completely new class schedule that I had just familiarized myself with by doing mental math.

Aside from these difficulties, I would say my first term went incredibly well. My criminology classes were exceptionally engaging, and I knew that criminology was what I wanted after taking Law 12 in high school. Being able to motivate and challenge myself mentally after taking an extended summer break due to COVID (a short senior high school year) was rewarding, to say the least. Studying from home does have its benefits, such as working part-time and seeing friends and family. I was also fortunate enough to receive a USES scholarship (with distinction) from SFU coming out of high school, so I am ready to prove myself this upcoming term and the following year! After managing a full-time course-load, performing well, and adapting to this new learning style, I am excited to eventually move down to SFU to experience in-person classes and interact with people face to face!

In the new year, I look to become more involved in extracurriculars, particularly the CSA. I think it is fantastic that I can join an association regardless of where I am currently situated. I am eager for more criminology classes and philosophy classes. Something that surprised me was how much I enjoyed the philosophy class I took as a criminology major requirement. I am considering pursuing a philosophy minor: a concentration in law. Dr. Dai Heide from the philosophy department ensured that my transition to SFU was smooth. Even though I am currently living far away from school, I still feel that I am a part of the SFU community. It just goes to show that no matter where you are, you can always find community anywhere, even if it is online through making friends and connections over zoom!

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