The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shifted our activities by a huge margin, from having to attend school and work physically, workers, faculty members and students alike now have to opt for virtual meetings and remote activities to minimize physical interaction as much as possible in order to slow down the spreading of the virus.
On-site activities are limited, unless absolutely necessary and must follow the health protocol set by the government. Of course, this applies to almost every activity in every field, including education, and Student Study Service or better known as Kuliah Kerja Nyata (KKN) in Indonesian, is no exception to it. Due to the protocols, 7th semester students must accomplish their Student Study Service virtually as required by law.
It is no new knowledge by this point that virtual class has its own series of challenges and problems, whether it be technicality related problems that commonly occur such as connection instability, hardware or software problems, and even psychological related problems. Virtual class induced a significant amount of stress toward students in various grades, from schools to varsity. Despite those problems, students still have to go on with their studies and projects.
Today, we are diving into Virtual Student Study Service through the eyes of none other than a 7th semester student themselves, Jonathan Suara Patty. He is a student majoring in Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Science who is currently conducting his Student Study Program virtually, in collaboration with SMPN 28 Bandung.
He explained that despite what it might seem on the surface to people, Virtual Student Study Service is not so much different than a conventional one. The glaring difference is that the events and programs must be conducted through online platforms, such as ZOOM Meetings, Google Meet, and other similar platforms. The Virtual Student Study Service held by UPI starts from August 26th and lasts until September 26th, 2021; however, he explained that the duration of the service is not counted using the days and dates, but rather hours spent on the activities and programs made, and each student must spend at least 120 hours contributing to the activities and programs.
Upon asked what kind of projects he and his team are doing, he explained that projects usually vary and is adapted towards the goal, or the vision taught by the campus and faculty members. As for himself, his team was given the theme ‘literacy’ as the vision of their project, with the goal of improving the intensity of literacy in general public. The project later gets divided into six assignments, in which three of them are mandatory, and the other three being optional. All students must participate in mandatory assignment. The three mandatory assignments are numeracy literacy, science, reading and writing which can only be conducted in and achieved through teaching schools.
“The main obstacle we faced was allocating assignments for school students in order to fill the minimum hour required for Student Study Service, due to the fact that there were not many hours allocated to literacy class in school these days,” he mentioned. The class is usually held once or twice on a weekly basis. To solve this type of problem, he mentioned that the college students who are conducting Student Service Study try to allocate assignments through the student’s homework or student’s class activities in their respective schools in order to meet the 120-hour requirement.
Despite the obstacles and hardships, Jonathan believes that there are plenty of advantageous benefits that can be received through virtual Student Study Service, for one is that college students learn how to be flexible, adapt and communicate. In order to conduct Student Study Service, there had to be communication regarding the activity between the college students and the related school, which also applies when collaborating with the general public. College students learns how to properly negotiate and communicate with school headmasters and community groups regarding their activities and how their programs will benefit schools and general public. College students will learn about themselves, particularly their strengths, making plans, and communicate their strengths towards people.
Jonathan mentioned that there seem to be a lot of tasks given and that students are being encouraged to learn more about their own strengths when asked about what his impression of the Virtual Student Study Service was, he also added that students gained a lot of experience that will undoubtedly come in handy later on in the future such as experiences of communicating with groups or people outside of the university environment.
He advised that students who are about to or are currently conducting Virtual Student Study Service, should learn how to communicate actively, because the ability and the courage to actively communicate with various parties regarding their activities and programs will be beneficial for students when conducting Student Study Service. (Intan Annisya Puspa Jelita, Mahasiswa Bahasa dan Sastra Inggris, FPBS UPI)