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Writer: Stella Budiman, Reinardus Darren | Illustrator: Safira Marini | Photo: Christoforus Reynaldo | Editor: Christoforus Reynaldo

A buzz of excitement and waves of fresh new faces typically filled APU at around this time of the year. However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic still lingering dangerously, we are forced to resort to welcoming our new batch of students - batch 42 - virtually. Roaming around the campus, adjusting to the new environment, and getting acquainted with other students coming from different cultural backgrounds - these are the rites of passage our fellow batch 42 were supposed to be taking right now. So when the on-going pandemic forces them to stay at home and puts their university life on hold, we are curious as to what they have been up to and how they have been occupying their time lately. Here are the responses we have received from two of our new students from batch 42!

Q: Would you mind sharing your online learning experience as a college freshman? What do you love and hate about taking online courses?

Rayhan Jasin -

"As a freshman entering the world of college for the first time, I didn't have many expectations. I did have some image of what my life would be like on campus but due to this pandemic, those images have somehow shattered to pieces. During the orientation, I found out that APU's orientation agenda is much more laid back and less restrictive when compared to that of most Indonesian Universities. Overall, the orientation was quite informative. My first day of university officially started on the 5th of October, and thankfully, I haven't experienced any major issues regarding the online system so far. Personally, I think that the ZOOM functions are quite easy to utilize as I have been used to this system since last year. Perhaps, one of the struggles I encountered during the online class was the complexity of getting to know my classmates. Most people were shy at first, which was why they turned off their camera and stayed dead silent especially during breakout meetings. However, after a month of online learning, I noticed how most students have adapted to the current online learning and everyone has been doing great so far.

There are several advantages to learning online. I get to learn how to conduct presentations online and I also get to rewatch recordings of lectures as they are mostly posted for those who are not able to be present in class. I also believe that this online learning system helps us to discipline ourselves. Since no one is keeping us all in check, we can do literally anything we wanted to do - even sleeping in class. However, responsibility keeps us on track and helps us choose to do the right thing. Oh, I do have one problem with this online learning system. Due to the time differences in Indonesia and Japan, I cannot attend Friday Prayer as it coincides with my Japanese lessons. But this problem is mainly because I am not in Japan and honestly, it's not a big deal as long as it doesn't interfere with my online classes."

Inge Ardila -

"It is such a shame that I can't attend my classes at university for my 1st year. I believe that classes such as MCW, SSAW, and Peer Leader Training would be much more effective if it is conducted offline. It is because in these classes face-to-face interactions are crucial and may help me get to know other people from different backgrounds even better. However, despite the lack of face-to-face interactions, I realized that online courses have actually helped increase my focus during lectures. I can say that I thoroughly enjoy this online learning system as I have been able to adapt to taking classes online."

Q: What have you been doing to stay occupied while staying at home?

Rayhan Jasin -

"My daily activities while learning online are quite simple. I haven't joined any clubs, circles, or participated in many events, so I'm all focused on my academic routines. My mornings are filled with English-based lectures, while my afternoons are packed with Japanese classes. I don't really have anything to do other than busying myself with homeworks."

Inge Ardila -

"There hasn't been much change to my daily routines ever since the day the Coronavirus pandemic started. My days usually consist of me trying to work my way through the piles of homework I have received, spend hours of my day by watching YouTube videos, and go visit my friend's house so that we can bake something together. Oh, I also make sure to still attend the online church every week!"

Q: What are your hopes for this unfortunate situation?

Rayhan Jasin -

"Hopefully, I will be able to fly to Japan by the end of this month; I have waited a lifetime to go there. Receiving my acceptance in December last year, and having to wait for a whole year is exhausting enough. So yeah, I am looking forward to flying to Japan and waking up to a new daily routine. I hope that I can befriend everybody - especially international students and professors. I can't wait to get a *baito somewhere within Beppu, join new organizations, participate in social works, and perhaps apply for scholarships. I also want to try and seize every opportunity I can get by keeping myself updated at APU Campus Terminal. I hope to be able to become a friend to everyone. Fingers crossed for a better future ahead!"

*baito is a part-time job!

Inge Ardila -

"I honestly can't wait for the day that I can fly to Japan and step my foot in APU. Additionally, just like everyone else, I sincerely hope that more and more people abide by the safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and staying at home. I also hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon come to an end so that I can finally experience the ultimate APU life."

We understand that this unfortunate circumstance is getting in the way of our batch 42 from getting the full experience of being a college freshman. However, we hope that these online classes are giving you glimpses of what it is like to learn as an APU student. In all, we are thrilled to be having you all as a part of the APUINA community and as a student of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University as a whole. Remember, APUINA is here to support you every step of the way. Do continue to stay safe and healthy by practicing the safety protocols!

As a closing note, we would like to welcome you to Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and we can't wait to see you on campus!

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