A York University student studies Mars — from his living room

Research student forced to work from home during COVID-19 outbreak

Ivan Mishev doing research in his at-home office.
Ivan Mishev studies Mars in his home office.  Isabella Scarpone/Toronto Observer

With the COIVD-19 outbreak, many people have had to start working from home.

For Ivan Mishev, a fourth year under-grad student studying earth and atmospheric science, that meant bringing his research home.

For the past year, Mishev has been working alongside his York University professor, Dr. Isaac Smith, on his Mars research.

“I was really interested in his research, so I e-mailed him a bunch of times until he finally had an opening and asked me to do a research course with him,” Mishev said.

Once the pandemic hit, Prof. Smith told Mishev to bring home one of the iMac computers from their lab, at York University, so he could continue to do his research from home.

Ivan Mishev works on his research in his at-home office. Isabella Scarpone/Toronto Observer

Mishev is able to access the software and hard drives he needs to do this research by remotely accessing the computer at York University through the one he is using at home.

Throughout the summer months, Mishev will be continuing to work with Prof. Smith thanks to the Lassonde Undergraduate Research Award he received for the second year in a row.

Still, Mishev hopes the school will be opened back up soon so he can get back to his normal work routine and be away from the everyday distractions of his home.

Ivan Mishev works from home on his research for York University Prof. Isaac Smith. Isabella Scarpone/Toronto Observer

“When you’re at home you have that relaxing mind set. Everything shuts down, and you now have to rewire your brain to have that work frame of mind,” Mishev said. “It’s difficult because there’s TV, the couch, there’s your bed, there’s your significant other there, chores you need to do. It makes it difficult to have that same drive.”

Mishev said there is a benefit, however, to his working from home.

He doesn’t have to commute anymore.

With Mishev living in the Toronto Beaches area, his commute to York University is usually 40 to 50 minutes, either by car or by transit.

“Not having that commute is nice,” he said. “You get to sleep a little bit more in the morning. You wake up, you’re at work. You punch out, you’re at home.”

But the benefit of having no commute doesn’t out-weigh the other things Mishev misses about going to work on campus.

Being quarantined in a one-bedroom apartment with his partner doesn’t give Mishev him a lot of space to move around in.

“I miss being able to just move everyday. The campus is pretty huge so you’re walking constantly,” Mishev said. “Now I walk 15 feet from my bed to my computer, and I miss the moving around.”

Mishev said he is missing the nicest time of year to be at school.

He said once the weather starts getting nice they turn on the fountains at York University and the cherry blossoms around campus start to bloom.

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Mishev is also looking forward to being back in the lab setting with his fellow colleagues.

“We meet up via Zoom, and it’s kind of brutal because we can only meet up for say an hour or two a week,” Mishev said.

He said once they get back to working in the lab, having each other around constantly will allow them to bounce ideas off each other in the moment.

Having to wait for a Zoom meeting, if you don’t write down every thing that comes to mind as you’re working, when it comes time to discuss things during the meeting some things may get overlooked.

He said he is looking forward to being back in his normal work setting, and being able to talk to Prof. Smith without having to organize Zoom meetings or send e-mails.

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Posted: Apr 16 2020 1:48 pm
Filed under: COVID-19 News Science & Health