‘It’s peaceful’: N.S. student makes best of virtual learning with treetop study space

Kade Nilsson of Nova Scotia had planned to spend his freshman year of college studying from underneath the palm trees of Hawaii, but due to the pandemic, he has to make do with the trees a little closer to home.

Nilsson was slated to begin his university career studying psychology at the University of Hawaii this fall, but due to COVID-19, his classes were moved virtually and he’sstaying home for the foreseeable future.

So, Nilsson decided to make the best of the situation and create his own personal learning space in an old tree-top platform he built as a boy.

Above the platform, Nilsson attached a hammock to the tips of two trees, which gives him a view of the Nova Scotia countryside.

“I just wanted a cool place to hang out and study,” Nilsson told CTV News.

Each day, Nilsson downloads his study material, heads into the woods near his homeand climbs 15 metres up a tree, where he can study from a hammock he built on the platform. 

“It’s kind of an adrenaline rush to be up there,” he said. “I love it, I love being up high. I’ve never really been afraid of heights. It’s peaceful. It’s calm. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome.”

Nilsson said the view can sometimes be a distraction, buthe believes there’s no better way to learn.

“I love being outdoors,” he said. “I feel like being outside is way super healthier than being cooped up inside and I feel like we’ve all been cooped up inside for so long.”

Even though his dream of studying in Hawaii was put on pause, Nilsson said his new study space is an effort to make the best of the situation.

“That was kind of our idea: We can make not being in Hawaii still be fun,” he said.

According tothe latest data from the state’s website, Hawaii has seen 9,959 cases of COVID-19 and 86 deaths. That ranks it 17th among states per capita, and ahead of every Canadian province and territory.

In early August, and amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, University of Hawaii president David Lassner said all classes would move online for the fall semester, unless the course requires in-person presence, such as laboratories or studios.

Students were also encouraged to only enroll in online courses.

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