Halloween at TRP Halloween at TRP
Yasman Mohammadzadeh for the TRP | October 2020
At the beginning of the school year, one of our biggest concerns was going completely virtual. Losing the in-person element of the program, one that the Translational Research Program (TRP) enforced, was going to be a challenge. We kept brainstorming on “how do we re-create that feeling on Zoom?” and “how do we create a bond between them, when they’ve never met one another?”. We spent weeks looking into different solutions ranging from zoom add-ons, virtual backgrounds, and workshops. Eight weeks into the program, we no longer have that concern.
Over the last eight weeks, I have been able to join a few classes and engage with the 2020 cohort. Despite the new barriers, brought on by COVID, the students have found a way to come together and build a bond, build connections. They have created external group chats, a cohort-specific channel on Teams, and have utilized the discussion boards on Quercus. Instructors have also helped by opening up class zoom sessions 15 minutes earlier. This lets students join the session earlier and have casual conversations with the instructors and their classmates before class. Something you would see regularly if we were ‘in-person’.
I positively saw the change on October 28th, 2020. I was asked to moderate a class for TRP instructors Dr. Klinger and Dr. Mirza, co-instructors for the module ‘Knowledge Translation and the Community’. After coordinating and preparing for the lesson, they ended the session with “Halloween costume is optional”. I knew exactly what this meant! Even though the class was virtual, and despite the fact that Halloween was technically cancelled, and on a Saturday, Dr. Mirza and Dr. Klinger encouraged students to get festive and dress up.
Moderating their class was one of my favourite highlights for 2020! With dramatic reveals of costumes and taking ten minutes to appreciate everyone’s costumes and their efforts, Dr. Mirza and Dr. Klinger created a fun, inclusive, and memorable environment for the students and myself!
I can safely say, I am no longer concerned if our students are missing out on that in-person element of the program. With ‘Halloween Netflix Night’, classroom costume competitions, and monthly game nights, our students, instructors, and TRP Team can get together and have fun, outside of the classroom virtual walls.
Fun Fact: Serendipitously, Dr. Klinger and Dr. Mirza both defended their Ph.D.’s, separately, on Halloween day! Little did they know, 8 years later, they’d be celebrating this day together at the TRP. Congratulations!
Happy Halloween everyone!