Marika Happonen studies community education at Humak’s Kuopio campus. In addition to her studies, Marika is actively involved in tutoring. Right now, Marika is in the middle of completing her internship studies at Settlement Puijola in Kuopio, where she acts as a group instructor.
Marika wanted a profession where she could work closely with other people. Her cousin studied community education and that’s when she became interested in studying it herself. It seemed like the perfect fit for her personality.
“Community education felt right from the start. During our studies we’ve learned to interact with many different kinds of people, and to organise various events. The studies have matched my expectations, and in some respects even exceeded them. When I started my studies, I had no idea about all the different kinds of things community education can enable. I’ve gotten a lot out of my studies”, Marika says.
The corona pandemic has affected the life of many students. Studies have mostly been transferred online, and face-to-face interaction with other students has diminished significantly. Limitations put in place because of the pandemic have also affected tutoring activities, thus online tutoring has become more important than ever.
“The pandemic situation has made tutoring quite challenging. It’s a good thing there are various web services that allow us to continue tutoring activities online. We’ve been trying to reinvigorate online tutoring in various ways, because if you’re sitting on your computer for the whole day attending online lectures, you might not want to spend the rest of your day doing the same thing”, Marika ponders.
Various things have been tried to keep online tutoring interesting, including social media challenges like Instagram picture competitions. Last Easter an easter egg hunt was organised, in which pictures of the location where easter eggs were hidden were uploaded to Instagram. People who found the hidden easter eggs were awarded prizes. Other online activities such as viewing parties, remote meetings and online work sessions for studying have been also held. Tutors can also be reached via Discord, where students can come talk and ask for advice. Discords functions as a good platform for online interaction, where many people can be easily reached at the same time.
“The pandemic situation has made the day-to-day living of students more difficult, and I find it harder to concentrate during remote studying. Right now, I’m completing my internship studies at Settlement Puijola. The internship has made coping with the pandemic a bit easier because studies are on break, and in my work I get to interact with other people live. I feel like my studies have prepared me well for my internship. I work as a group instructor, and we’ve organised different types of events and activities. For example, we’ve held events like a body positivity event, women’s day celebrations and arts and craft sessions”, Marika says.
“A good tutor knows how to listen, I think that’s most important. You need to be interested in other people, and willing to help. Tutors help students with matters related to student life. If a tutor doesn’t know how to answer a question, we’ll find out the answer together with the student”, Marika says.
Marika got interested in tutoring based on her own tutoring experiences.
“My tutors made the activities seems so interesting, that I decided to be a tutor myself. During our tutor training we covered various aspects relating to tutoring, such as different ways of facing people and how to react in various situations.”
In Humak’s campuses all classes are assigned their own home room tutors, that are tasked with helping new students integrate themselves into student life. Events are held for new students for the purpose of familiarizing students with each other. Last fall the tutors at Kuopio campus organised a picnic event for new students before the start of the actual school year. Students got the chance to get to know their new classmates.
“Last year we got to meet new students. We showed them around the school and talk about what kind of studies they could expect. Facing new students and planning events has been easy. My own experiences as a new student are still fresh on my mind. Tutoring and being tutored has been very important for me, peer support makes day-to-day student life easier, and now as a tutor I can help other students as well”, Marika says.