An academic look at an abbreviated school year - The UA&P Experience
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Kyla Uy and Eisenhower Carlo, II
Last August 2020, the University of Asia & the Pacific has officially started their school year. As a student of that institution, we were given online Canvas accounts in order to submit assignments and activities as well as connect with our professors. The professors would give us assignments and lectures through Canvas, Google Meets, and Zoom. Everything is online.
Admittedly it was difficult at first, however, the University implemented a policy that made it easier for students to properly acclimate to the new normal. The university divided the semester into two terms in order to ease the workload of the students. In my opinion, this set up pretty much works. I cannot imagine having to take all 26 units all at the same time, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I enlisted 26 units for this semester, but right now I am only taking half of it since the other half will start in October.
I am actually very lucky because my professors are very considerate, they acknowledge how difficult it is for the students to adapt to the new normal that is why they try their best to reach out to us via emails, short ice breakers before class starts, etc. They would also give chances to students to submit their work even if it's beyond the deadline, of course with a valid reason such as internet connection problems, illness, etc. However I cannot speak on behalf of the students of UA&P since we have different experiences.
I do admit that the system of the university might not be perfect, but I believe that the management of the University along with the University Student Government and Student Interest Groups have been working together to polish the blended learning system for the betterment of everyone.
Extracurricular activities and other additional school programs
University events such as school fairs, concerts, plays by the school’s premier theatre organizations, general assemblies, and many more are the beating heart of most educational institutions. About 6 months ago, we in the University of Asia and the Pacific, had a jam packed line up of student-led initiatives and events that all had to be postponed due to the unexpected halt in the University’s everyday operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a student involved in various Student Interest Groups (SIG), varsity, and other extracurricular activities, one of the resounding questions that I had was “how will the UA&P student organizations continue to boost the students’ morale, and be the breath of university life?”.
Over the course of our summer break that began last May 2020 all throughout July 2020, the SIGs began their annual strategic planning that’s specifically catered to the needs of a virtual setting. The school’s Center for Student Affairs - Office of Student Development (OSD) took the effort to conduct their annual Unitas Leaders Assembly, a leadership training for all core members of student organizations, fully online. The OSD also held a general meeting for the primary heads of all student organizations to introduce a fully online system on submitting their project proposals.
When classes officially began last August 2020, the University held its yearly Freshstart, a 3-day welcoming event for the freshmen students through facebook live and synchronous Zoom calls. The first entirely virtual event led by the students of UA&P culminated successfully. This event was then followed by the Pep Rally, Virtual Plays from Dulaang ROC and ViARE, Unitas Awards, and many more. What’s astounding in all of this is the continuous disposition of the student organizations to turn these seemingly physically-aligned events into something that is celebrated in the homes of every UA&P student, faculty, and staff. I think it’s safe to say that constraints logistically, financially, and materially did not stop the student leaders to revive the university life that UA&P is used to.
As the first term comes to an end, students of the prestige University along Pearl Drive remain enthusiastic about their upcoming events. Solidarity has become a practice, and not just a common principle, exercised by the student organizations and Office of Student Development in order to deliver the spirit of oneness to the four corners of every home.
The content of the article is purely the opinion and observations of the writers and in no way did the Pasig Review impose any of its collective views. The article was printed with respect to the writers’ freedom of expression and in the best interest of the students. We are open to other opinions and perspectives that other writers would like to share. We are also open to a response from the institution so all sides may be presented.