STPM Students Get Attuned to The New Norm
Author: Keziah Shamma Mahendran
Editor: Kishan Selvaraju
BANGI, 8 June- STPM students once again go back to virtual learning as Malaysia implements a "total lockdown” throughout the country where the first phase of the lockdown will last from Jun 1 to Jun 14.
For most of 2020 and the past few months of 2021, students sitting for major examinations like the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) have not attended school on a regular basis. Instead, classes were held online via Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. For students without wifi or computers, the teachers would send the homework or the recording of lessons via email or through WhatsApp so students will be able to catch on to weekly classes they have missed.
These students have been alternating between online and physical classes throughout the pandemic in order to make sure they get in-depth lessons. Therefore, although it has been physically and mentally draining making sure they don't miss out on lessons as well as follow the current SOP that helps curb the spread of the virus, these students have been adjusting themselves to the new norm that includes unprecedented disruptions and massive changes to their education.
“Online classes are easy to follow because I have all the supplies I need with me and I'm comfortable sitting anywhere at home while learning. However, it gets boring after some time watching the screen for long hours, making it easy for us students that have been glued to our seats in front of our gadget all day to lose focus on the lesson” said Nahviineyaah Ganesan, 19, 2020/2021 STPM candidate when asked her opinion on the sudden change back to virtual learning after the total lockdown was announced a few weeks ago. “It isn't as effective as face to face classes though, when I need to clarify any doubts that I have with my teachers,” added the art stream student.
“I feel more comfortable and safer at home although it sometimes gets tough as you have to fully depend on a strong internet connection to make sure you don't get cut off during lessons” said Felicia Marie Aloysius, 19, another STPM candidate. In an attempt to stay positive on the current situation, she added “This whole experience though, is just an opportunity for us to brush up on our basic technical skills that’ll be needed for when we’re in university”
Though some may have already got in tune with the new norm, there are students that are deeply affected with the new measures taken in order to make sure students are equipped and prepared for the major exams. Some students do not have the luxury of having a conducive environment at home as well as a stable internet connection and suitable gadgets to sit for classes or get their assignments done in time.
According to Siti Nor Afifah bt Muhammad Zaki, 19, that will also be sitting for the major exam this year, its often hard to understand the lessons when its thought via the screen as one cant directly ask for clarification when they find themselves lost on a certain topic. “It's easy to get distracted when you’re surrounded by your family members at home; it gets really difficult to stay focussed on the lesson” She then added that the slow internet connection at home often makes it easier for her to miss out on certain parts of a lesson.
With no clear indication as to when these students will be able to get back to having physical classes that will help them prepare for the upcoming exams, these students, though frustrated at first, are thus making commendable effort to get accustomed to the whole online learning experience.