By Karlie Mickanuik

women is seen walking out of building

Photo by Erica Cawagas

I am debating deferring my classes to a future semester to better my education, but I don’t want to. If my classes at NAIT are to be completely online I am unsure my education will set me up for success when I graduate.

Everything can change in a moment. The last time I walked outside the doors of NAIT, I had no idea that it would be the last time I ever saw those brick walls and tile floors.

When school went fully online at the end of March I was crushed. I am a radio and television student and I love my program. I love the classes, even the ones I don’t, I love my classmates with my whole heart, and I love the instructors; I really loved school. Then, all of a sudden, everything changed.

My program has more lab classes than lecture classes, and there really wasn’t much more theory we had left to learn when NAIT closed. There was nearly an entire curriculum shift for some of my classes. It was a big change, but I honestly learned a lot.

It was weird filming short films and assignments on my phone or personal camera compared to the thousand-dollar cameras I was used to. It was weird not being able to practice my on-air skills on the campus radio station, NR92. It was weird seeing my teachers in a tiny box on my laptop instead of face-to-face. But I figured it out, and learnt how to adapt my skills during this difficult time.
Yes, it was a learning experience, but I’m over it.

My quality of education will suffer if the entirety of my classes will be delivered online. I will be entering my third semester of RATV and I need at least some of my classes to be in person. I need access to industry standard equipment that NAIT offers to feel prepared in my field of work. I need to work with my fellow students to produce a weekly news show in our studio. I need to spend time live on NR92. How am I going to build a radio announcer demo-reel without having actually spent time live on the radio?

I need to learn how to operate cameras so that I can be useful on a film set. I need to understand how a news station works if I want to work in one. I need practice on-air before applying to radio stations. This is affecting my career and my future.

These are things I cannot accomplish outside of NAIT and I do not know how a semester of online courses will prepare me for industry. I know I am not alone in my feelings.

If I am to defer, I will be walking away from so many of the reasons I love NAIT. My classmates of RATV have become like a family to me and I have made lifelong friends within this program. I won’t be able to graduate with the people who have shaped me into the person I am today.

If I chose to defer, this also severely affects my ability to work. I will also not be able to be an editor at The NAIT Nugget. It breaks my heart not to be able to work for the paper. Not only is The Nugget a source of income, but it also holds friends and mentors in my preferred industry.

If I defer my classes to another semester I can rejoin the Nugget and make friends in a new semester but, am I prepared for that change? Am I prepared to say goodbye to the current team as they move on? Am I prepared to watch my friends graduate without me?

I do not know what my future at NAIT looks like and I can’t say how the world will change in the coming months. I don’t have a better solution for NAIT on how to offer the best education. I just know I am struggling with my education and I cannot be the only one feeling the same way.