In the wake of the second wave of COVID-19, the government has implemented level 2.5 social distancing rules from Aug. 30 to Sept. 13, which involve specific restriction. For this regulation, only take-outs are being allowed at franchise cafes and there are limitations to the use of facilities where many people gather, such as private academies and indoor fitness centers. Similarly, prior to the beginning of the semester, the school announced that all classes would be held online for the first two weeks of the semester.
This unavoidable measure has left students with little hope for on-campus activities this term. In response, certification exams, volunteer work, and club activities are facing delays and moving online. Nevertheless, a number of activities have made a successful transition due to the implementation of ‘untact’ formats.
Truewha, Ewha’s education mentoring volunteer club, is being restrained from having regular mentoring sessions, which are usually held in ECC every Saturday. Additionally, the club could not take part in the program Story of Creativity, Story of Camp, held by Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity (KOFAC) this vacation, as it was cancelled.
Nonetheless, the club found a different way to continue their volunteer work. They are currently holding an online mentoring program during the semester, utilizing a format which is normally only conducted during vacation periods. The mentors use KakaoTalk for remote conferences, and the mentees, mostly high school students, are being taught via KakaoTalk and e-mail.
The demand for online mentoring has increased dramatically this year, making the program a huge success. Many students who have trouble studying alone at home due to the pandemic and wish to stay focused on their studies have applied for the mentoring program.
Kim Na-hyun, the representative of Truewha, shared her opinion regarding the continuous postponement and cancellation of extracurricular activites.
Kim elaborated that they have faced many setbacks due to the continuous cancellation of programs, and were even times when a competition was postponed without any possible alternatives while they were awaiting the announcement of the results.
“It was very frustrating because the requirement for the competition was to be an undergraduate student and some of the team members are graduating next semester. This means that we cannot participate in the competition if it is postponed. I believe that such organizations should take into consideration the hard work of students who have prepared for the activities when they are announcing postponements and cancellations.”
Kim Won-bin, a junior majoring in the Department of Communication and Media, shared her experience of the disruption to extracurricular activities.
Kim shared her experiences of joining the American Center Youth Coordinators program held by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in July.
“It is unfortunate because not only was I unable to meet my teammates in person, but I was also worried about the communication between teammates since all conferences were conducted through ZOOM and KakaoTalk,” she shared.
Kim also mentioned that students should remain calm and patient while trying to focus on their studies even though it is certain that many of them are going through a difficult time due to the pandemic. She commented that students who have been doing their best can utilize this time to look back at their former achievements and upgrade their portfolios.
“Moreover, I believe that the school should prepare alternatives for students,” Kim said. “For instance, some schools in the United States arrange school contests and give intern positions as a prize for the winners. Also, some courses cooperate with companies and give students opportunities to participate in the companies’ workshops. I wish that our school would adopt these kinds of programs and courses since it would immensely aid students in the future.