Day in the Life with Narissa Horning

October 3, 2021 |
Contributed by Narissa Horning, IBH Level III

Photo depicting Narissa Horning working at a laptop

From your perspective, what are the differences between online and in-person study life?

While we often think of online school in a negative light, I realized the value it has created for our education systems. Perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side, but we can at least utilize the perks of both online and in-person methods for our education system in the future to create more accessible spaces for students that we couldn’t have imagined before. For example, if students are sick and need to miss class, then the option to participate online during a lecture would create a much more valuable learning experience and would be much safer for protecting their classmates.

The pandemic forced our education system to be completely reimagined, but it has also pushed both our educators and students to develop new skills that can now make learning experiences much more valuable and accommodating to the needs of individuals in the academic space.

Going back to a hybrid environment this September, I realized the many perks that both online and in-person studying have to offer. As I walked to campus from my student house, I would think about what I would normally do before preparing for an online lecture. Would I be making my breakfast? Sleeping in half an hour more? Taking class in my pyjamas? Sitting beside my cats? In some ways I missed having classes online, but I was equally as eager to see campus buzzing with students—and to see people in 3D again.

Photo of Greensuits on football field

On campus I could feel how excited everyone was to be back and I was happy to see familiar faces for the first time in 18 months. It was definitely a new experience wearing a mask throughout an entire 3-hour lecture, and to actually hear sounds like clapping, laughing, students talking to one another, or even having to physically raise my hand. To finally have the experience of being in a classroom again was quite surreal, yet it surprisingly also made me miss the comforts of being home with my family. I feel like virtual  study life both allowed me to have more flexibility with where I could study and to have more study time since I didn’t need to worry about things such as commuting, moving between classes, or even making my meals. However, I feel that studying in-person allows students to feel more connected with one another and to build a sense of community.

What were you working on this summer? What did you learn from it?

This past summer, I worked for our wonderful Marketing and Community Engagement (MaCE) team at the DeGroote School of Business as a Communications Assistant! Through this position, I learned so much about what goes into the marketing of DeGroote’s events, emails, website, and social media platforms.

Photo depicting Narissa Horning working at a laptop

Not only did I gain hard skills that I can take with me into future positions, but I learned a lot about the importance of a positive workplace environment.

The culture that this team has built is unlike any I have ever seen, and I think what differentiates them from other teams is how authentic they are with one another. As an IBH student, many of our courses focus on the concept of emotional intelligence and building relationships with your teams. The MaCE team did this through holding daily touch bases each morning to check in on everyone, offer support when needed, and to even share about things happening in their everyday lives.

After months of doing these regular check-ins, I realized their importance because they made the team more comfortable with one another, the environment less intimidating, and made everyone feel like a valued member of the team. Working online, you can feel sort of disconnected from each other, but the MaCE team mitigated this by utilizing shared workspaces online such as Slack for communication or Asana for inputting tasks and keeping each other on track. From the MaCE team, I learned many valuable lessons that I can take into the future, and especially in team settings this year whether online or in-person!

This past summer, I was also on the Greensuits team, which has by far been one of my most valuable team experiences. We did a lot of creative collaboration with each other through making TikToks, faculty dances, and cheers to get first years and fellow Greensuits engaged, and I had the opportunity to get first year students engaged on their social media platforms. I also took photos throughout Welcome Week to help capture memories from our events as well as the relationships we made with first years. Through everything we did, it was always important to reflect on the purpose of what we were doing and the value that we were providing to first year students.

Collage of Greensuits on campus

What are you most looking forward to this school year?

This year I am looking forward to finally being on campus for a couple of my classes and hopefully having some in-person events for clubs that I’m involved in at DeGroote.

Group photo of the DeGroote Club "Insight Collective"

DeGroote Insight Collective

There is nothing like unexpectedly meeting new people, running into old friends, or even grabbing a hotdog from the iconic Willy Dog. I am also excited to apply my learning to DeGroote’s extracurricular space through being a part of the DeGroote Marketing Association and a new committee called InSight Collective that is bringing digital marketing experiences to DeGroote students. Whether at DeGroote, McMaster, or outside of university, I would highly recommend getting involved in something you are passionate about because you’ll meet so many great people, discover things about yourself that you might not have before, and build key skills for your portfolio!

What do you work towards in your free time?

Since 2017, I have been running a small photography business in the Greater Toronto Area taking photos for portraits, various events, food photography for @fennelandseed (on Instagram) and for occasions such as wedding engagements, maternities, and baby showers. The reason why I got into photography was because I fell in love with how creative I could get with various lighting, lenses, effects, and props. It completely puts me into another headspace that allows me to push my imagination and creative bounds! From my experiences with photography, I have also learned valuable entrepreneurship skills such as developing relationships with clients, executing their visions, planning, and effective communication which have paired really well with what I’m learning as a business student. I’m looking forward to taking more photos around campus this year as things start to open up again!

Narissa as a Greensuit posing for a photo

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