When asked about their university life, a lot of pupils—with a certain amount of sadness and desperation in their tone—would answer how it is draining, rigorous, and serious when it comes to pursuing their degree. However, college is not always about achieving excellent results in the formal learning process. It is also about the experience gained from making friends, contributing to society (by volunteering, for example), and especially being a part of an organization/extracurricular club.
Everyone must have their particular perspective and reasons for participating in one, and Dine Hasya Dwifa, an Indonesian literature student of UPI, was no exception. “I believe taking part in activities outside the academic realm is important. Since I am fond of acquiring new things [knowledge and skills], I think joining a club can be favorable for me in maximizing my opportunities,” she described through an interview over text.
It is a well-known fact that Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) is the home of many student activity units involved in a vast area of interests, ranging from intellectual to recreational. In the art and literature field alone, there are approximately ten different communities. Some examples are KABUMI, Lakon Teater, and ASAS—respectively, specializing in traditional art, theatrical performance, and literature.
Arena Studi Apresiasi Sastra (ASAS) has been around for quite a long time. Sometime in the early 90s, a group of literary connoisseurs among students came up with the idea of founding this organization, hoping to accommodate and develop people’s interests and talents in creative writing. This idea was derived from their observation and concern about the sluggish passion for literature among students in IKIP (former name of UPI) and the public. The vision was later realized on December 12th, 1991, and they are still flourishing up to this day.
Their activities mainly revolve around reading, writing, and analyzing the characteristics and meaning behind written works from different media. Furthermore, they also offer multiple classes.
Nurul Azkya, a former prospective member of ASAS from batch 2020, stated that the writing class was the most exciting one. “All of the lessons [regarding poetry, short story, and essay] are beneficial for me in appreciating more about literary arts, and many of the theories helped me to understand some subjects in class,” she explained in an exchange via a messaging platform on September 27th.
Regarding the essential program, Azkya described that the members are expected to produce a piece of writing or two of their specialties, such as poem or prose. Later, the other members will appreciate the outcome through virtual meetings. Even though she could not continue her journey as ASAS’s official member due to personal reasons, Azkya is still delighted to have had a chance to be a part of the community for quite some time and received much knowledge about Indonesian and foreign literature.
There are also some student activity units engaged in the communication field. They are typically involved in all things related to the media and journalism, one of which is Suara Kampus Radio (eSKa). Earlier in September, eSKa posted an announcement of a recruitment program on its website and Instagram account. The information attracted many students, including Dine.
However, unlike Azkya, Dine has only decided to enroll in an organizational activity this semester. The reason is that she needed some time to adapt first. “When I got into college, it felt as if I needed some time to get used to the pretty hectic schedule and routines. I was also worried that I might be inconsistent [if I joined an extracurricular club early]. Since I am getting better at managing and enjoying my time, I am now determined to learn new things in the extracurricular that I am interested in.”
By pitching in, she hopes to give her best contribution and build a great relationship with new people she will meet in the future. From both experiences above, it can be deduced that joining an organization will always have its ups and downs. On the positive side, the members will have a better understanding of a particular subject. They will also have more experiences, friends, even achievements.
On the other hand, they can feel overwhelmed in managing and balancing their time if they do not think it through. Therefore, it can be concluded that it does not matter whether the student will take part in an activity outside of the normal curriculum right away (in the freshman year) or later in the following semesters. What matters is their readiness and steadiness in facing the incoming responsibilities. No need to rush things; when the time is right, it will happen naturally. (Prudence A., English Literature Study Program, FPBS, UPI)