Even as a first-year student, Daniel Deza always knew he was going to have friends in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering – starting with his older brothers Arnaud Deza and Gabriel Deza, who are in their third and fourth years of engineering science respectively.
What he didn’t anticipate is just how close the three of them were going to become this semester.
All three Deza brothers are currently living – and studying – together at their parents’ house in Hamilton, Ont. Their older sister Anna Deza graduated from U of T Engineering last spring and is now pursuing a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, while younger brother Emmanuel is also living at home while attending high school.
“My siblings told me lots of stories about what first year would be like, but nothing prepared me for this,” says Daniel.
Like all U of T Engineering students this semester, Daniel and his brothers have had to adapt to a challenging and unusual fall term. In doing so, he and others have discovered new strategies to manage their studying and remote learning.
“Online learning is demanding and rather stressful, but having siblings in the same program is certainly a very fortunate situation to be in,” says Gabriel, who also mentors other first- and second-year students in engineering science online through the NSight Program.
“My brothers ask me about course content and course delivery, and we discuss funny stories about the teachers we have in common.”
Gabriel says he finds online learning easier than in-person classes, as they provide more flexibility in terms of when to watch the pre-recorded lectures.
But Arnaud takes a different view.
“Compared to other semesters, I feel very tired after a full day of Zoom lectures at my desk staring at my laptop screen for long periods of time,” he says. “One way to cope is to go on walks almost every day – either alone or with my family. I think this is essential, even on the busy days, just to clear my mind and get some fresh air.”