Lab work during the pandemic
I had a mix of emotions after being accepted to Chalmers. Half worried and half excited about studying abroad during a pandemic. Luckily, Chalmers had it covered.
The photo is of me and my lab partner, Arthur when we designed, implemented and measured a cardiac signal in one of our classes.
I remember this time of the year back in 2020, with my expectations to the sky, submitting applications and gathering my documents for applying to a master’s programme. I was so full of excitement and enthusiasm.
Then February came and it was time to apply for scholarships as well. Again, full of enthusiasm and a bit nervous, filled with adrenaline when pressing the “submit” button. And well, we all know what happened after March. I wasn’t expecting it to last so long, a part of me didn’t want to realize how big this outbreak was. Then I got my acceptance letter, what an exciting moment! But we still lived uncertain times because of not knowing what would happen in the next months.
In Ecuador, where I come from, the borders closed on March 16th and it was uncertain when they would be opened again. I remember not telling anyone about my Swedish institute scholarship
acceptance for the master’s programme in Biomedical Engineering at Chalmers
. I was too afraid about not being able to travel. I wasn’t sure if the classes were going to be held online or not, at that moment, so it terrified me to think about not being here in Sweden to live my dream of studying abroad. I imagined that the classes would all be on Zoom, having to wake up in the middle of the night (because of the time difference). Since my programme has labs experiments on campus I was also concerned about not being able to attend. Luckily, everything went well and, I was able to arrive to Gothenburg in August! What an amazing experience because it was my first time in Europe, so I wasn’t used to the long trip.
Once I got here it was so different from what I expected! Starting from the fact that they treat you as a responsible adult here, and you are free to make your own choices. That means taking care of yourself when it comes to handling the pandemic. So, I took all the considerations of social distancing and keeping my hands clean to start my new life here, in Gothenburg. My theoretical classes indeed were held from Zoom, but it was amazing how well-organized everything was! Even when we needed to go to campus to do exercise sessions or lab experiments. They really thought of everything to be able to develop the same activities if it were in person 100%.
In one class, Biomedical Instrumentation, they gave us a development electronics kit so we could work from home in our lab assignment. It was amazing to see that the instructions were clear and the tests for determining if the circuit was built correctly were so precise. When we went to the lab, we had our circuits working, we only needed to connect it to the equipment and voilà! For the health security, we were divided into different groups in order to work only two people per row, quite a lot of social distance! They also handed us some face masks and shields and gave us hand sanitizer, so we were even safer! I was quite impressed over all their effort and organization!
I also had another course in which we were asked to form groups of two people. We could meet on Zoom or on campus. You would choose your partner and stick with him or her the entire study period. If one of us felt any symptoms, both had to remain home. It was a good strategy because you limited social interactions and you always had the alternative of attending, to the meetings or to class, online. We managed to work it out pretty well and I am happy with the work we have done in my team this semester.