A new start in the middle of a pandemic

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A cross-country move, a switch to a more laid-back rural lifestyle, and a new career path…all in the midst of a global pandemic.

Elizabeth Herd is an adventurer who has travelled the world, with jobs in South Korea and the United Kingdom before moving to Edmonton, Alta. with her British partner. When the COVID-19 virus put an end to her jet-setting ways, she decided to embark on a whole new adventure – returning to school. But she still had enough of the travel bug in her that she wanted to do it somewhere new. She and her partner settled on New Brunswick.

“I’m originally from the Toronto region, and he’s from London, so we both wanted to get away from the noise and busy-ness of big cities,” she explained. “I had visited the east coast in my teens and remembered the people being so lovely…New Brunswick sounded a like a good place to call home!”

Once the destination had been chosen, Herd decided to see what was available in New Brunswick for career training. An internet search quickly led her to NBCC, and she enrolled in the Heavy Equipment Service Technician program at the Miramichi campus.

Knowing that the College would be using a blended academic delivery format, in which theory is taught virtually and practical training is done in-person, didn’t deter Herd.

“I was okay with the blended learning,” she said. “A lot of the theory was delivered lecture style, and I had been to university so I was used to that. And the instructors have done a very good job using diagrams, power points, photos, all kinds of different things to explain complicated systems.”

Under the blended delivery format, Herd and her classmates spent two ways a week doing hands-on learning at the Miramichi Field Training Centre to complement their virtual lectures, held over the other three days.

“With everything that’s going in the world and the public health measures we’re all working under, I think you always ask yourself, is it going to be worth it to go to school right now?” Herd noted. “But I think NBCC has done an amazing job. They’re always there to answer questions, and I never once felt like I had been left stranded.”

While the pandemic curtailed campus social life to a certain extent, Herd, who served as class rep with the Local Campus Union, didn’t let it spoil her college experience.

“There were a load of social events on Facebook…trivia nights, bingo, hikes….even during a pandemic, there’s always been something to do to make it feel as much like college life as it can.”

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