Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WIMTACH has continued its efforts to support its Student Researchers to gain experiential learning, job opportunities, employable skills and industry knowledge of digital health sectors. This series will highlight how students and faculty who work with WIMTACH are managing the ongoing changes to their daily lives.
Manisha is an international student who came to Canada in 2018, began studying Business in 2019, and aims to graduate in 2020. Like many students, she was looking to gain meaningful Canadian job experience before graduating.
So when she saw the call for a Business Analyst with WIMTACH on hire.centennial, she applied and was the successful candidate. She began in March, when, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “It was just two days into the job and then we had to shift to working from home,” she explained.
Despite it, Manisha was confident in her role as a Business Analyst with WIMTACH since she had a strong business background. She works with a Health IT company to meet its upcoming goals and objectives. A lot of her work includes attending online training, capturing user stories and coordinating with other teams to ensure quality assurance.
But it was her studies that were most impacted by the pandemic. The shift to working from home, taking classes and doing assignments online to prepare for exams was stressful. There was no longer a scheduled time to be in a class, which meant that studies were “collapsing” with her WIMTACH work.
“It was hard in the beginning because the WIMTACH position was a new job…I faced some difficulties…working from home sounds like an easy thing but it’s not because you have to do other work as well like household work, and we have studies also.”
What helped her through was the support of the WIMTACH senior staff and personnel. Manisha explained that she and her team were “treated like students, not workers.” In other words, the WIMTACH personnel acknowledged their students’ situations and didn’t “burden us during these times” with tasks and deadlines that interfered with studying.
“They helped me a lot, actually. They said to “give preference to your studies first because you have to complete your semester. This job is your second thing. If you have online classes let us know about the times and whenever you’re free check the training recordings”…later we check them and we work on it.”
The WIMTACH senior team also helped the students make more room for final exams.
“For final exams, they gave us one week so that we could focus on our studies and get good marks. I really appreciated this because [the pandemic] is a new situation for all of us and [the WIMTACH team] helped us. Now, we’re helping them because the summer semester has started and we have more time.”
These supportive practices gave Manisha and the other students on the project time to commit fully to the project. For Manisha, this grew her confidence. “With more confidence there was an excitement to learn new things as well.” It also meant that she could learn from her fellow students, the Principal Investigator and the WIMTACH Researchers and gain unique experience and insight into the industry and job at hand.
Her advice to students is the advice that the WIMTACH team gave to her: prioritize studies.
“Students should give priority to their studies and then comes the job. It won’t be a fun experience if they’re failing the program while working at the job. Also, create a timetable for each day – what time they’ll be studying, working, eating and resting – even the weekends. And they have to follow up. It’s really easy to create the timetable but it’s not easy to follow through.”
Manisha says that even though there were challenges with working from home, the best part is being relaxed.
“The work becomes easier when you feel relaxed.”
For more #WIMTACHatHome stories, please visit: https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/news/
For updates on WIMTACH’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://mailchi.mp/d9a20aac07f0/covid-19-update
WIMTACH proudly recognizes funding to support this work from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).