Bright-er Side: Getting to experience the Burnaby Campus for the first time since remote learning

The Burnaby Campus is a peaceful oasis

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someone walking in front of SFU's academic quadrangle
A fresh perspective on the design of the Burnaby campus. PHOTO: Gudrun Wai-Gunnarsson / The Peak

By: eveluchka, SFU Student

Thanks to COVID-19, I’m a third year student and this semester is the first time I’ve had a class at the Burnaby campus. It’s not been what I expected. For two years, I was told I wasn’t missing much by having Zoom classes. They told me I was better off because it was cold on the mountain, the campus was like a prison, and it’s hard to get to. But the first thing that struck me about the campus wasn’t any of those negative things; it was the sense of tranquillity. The Burnaby campus is an oasis of peace for stressed-out students.

Going to class in Gastown means I get to see the chaotic urban workings of the city every day, which offers a fascinating, but mostly over-stimulating experience. After years of social distancing, it’s strange to be forced into the thick of it all. The Burnaby campus is all at once a part and apart from city living. It’s a way to remove yourself from the hectic nature of a big city like Vancouver, while still being able to meet pretty much any need you have.

The tranquility is only enhanced by the campus’ position in the middle of the conservation zone. You can walk out of Spanish class after a demoralizing quiz and relax while looking at the ocean stretching out to the horizon, or you can just take a few steps out the front door of any of the campus’ buildings and feel like you’re in the middle of any BC forest. It’s incredibly calming.

I’m still new to the Burnaby campus, and I really appreciate it when I’m there. I don’t think I will ever fully lose that sense of wonder. After years of isolation throughout COVID-19, the Burnaby campus has become the most positive type of retreat a way to maintain a sense of calm while still being surrounded by people.