While the U of T campus is closed to the public, in-person classes and non-essential lab work, an attempt is being made to connect with individuals continuing to work from home. This is part of a regular series to help bring us together as we remain apart during this public health crisis.
Luis Ardila Bothia, CivE PhD candidate
Luis Ardila Bothia is a civil engineering PhD candidate, working on viscoelastic dampers for tall building structures under supervisor Professor Constantin Christopoulos.
He shares his perspective as a graduate student now working from home.
Prior to working from home, I was completing some experiments in the Structures Lab for my research. During this time away from the University, I have been focusing on analyzing my experimental data, as well as writing my thesis.
Working from home with my wife and our four-year-old twin daughters has been challenging; however, it has also been very meaningful to my family. This has been the time I’ve felt the closest to my daughters, and my break times from work have become a space to play and build memories with them. It has also been great to have hugs as a distraction from my work.
Since the pandemic, we have had to be more strategic in our family meal planning, ensuring that we have the necessary ingredients on hand. We only shop about once a week, but there is a convenience store in our building, which comes in handy. Our daughters were attending preschool where breakfast and lunch were provided, so we’ve had to become more creative in our menu. We cook most of our meals at home, but by the time the weekend hits, we often order delivery to help support local restaurants and give ourselves a break.
Between my thesis and parenting, there isn’t a lot of time for new hobbies. One thing I have tried to keep up with is my fitness routine, which helps clear my mind and keeps me focused. With Goldring Centre closed, I was fortunate to be able to borrow some dumbbells from my building’s gym and I have done my best with other materials from around the house. My daughters often get involved in the workout action and act as moving weights. A small space and limited equipment have made this challenging, but doable and it helps me keep a sense of normalcy.
The routine, and support of my loved ones, has been fundamental in keeping a positive outlook during this challenging time. While I very much miss seeing my colleagues and working in the Structures Lab, this time has allowed me to focus on new goals for my thesis and spend time with my family more often.
By Luis Ardila Bothia