Entry: 20200717 – About College Q&A Series

Sragen. 17.07.2020.

15:05. Listening to ONE OK ROCK’s I was King.

I finished a piece of short story today and a realization came to mind. The energy I’ve been putting in the story making and my (supposed) daily College Q&A series was not comparable to each other. I clearly put much more effort in the story, because I really like it and want to see it through. On the other hand, College Q&A series is something I create out of unreasonable duty. I force myself to write a college-related blog series because I want to fill in the Yellow Scholar section of my blog. I also want to show that I am a Japanese Studies major, even though, thinking back, that’s not the reason I begin this blog (or any of my blogs at all). To be honest, this blog is something I create to escape from the academic part of my life.

Writing College Q&A series doesn’t make me happy at all. It feels like burden. Even when I finished a post and uploaded, all I could feel was dread because I had to post another one next day. From the beginning until the end, I didn’t feel any relief or joy at all.

So I decide to drop the series and focus on my story writing projects. I have finished one piece and am currently contemplating how to upload it (do I want to reveal part by part or drop one whole piece at once?). I also want to post more daily entries like this and 49 Days Journaling Challenge. I like that I can share a bit of my day-to-day life and feelings here. So this kind of daily entry won’t be something set in schedule–when I need to let out something, I will post it.

For the meanwhile, please look forward to my upcoming short stories. I work on them bit by bit, so some might take a long time to finish. I’m excited to work on them though. There are still my already-scheduled posts too, up every Thursday. So enjoy it and have a good day!

College Q&A Series: What are my school’s strength?

INTRO: Two thoughts came to mind.

First, I don’t want to sound like I’m promoting my own school.

Second, isn’t this basically the same content as the previous post?

I feel myself hesitating to share my own school’s strengths because I don’t want to sound too proud about it. At the same time, I also don’t want to sound ungrateful for being able to enter this school. My current university is not one of the best in the world, but it is certainly one of the best in my country. Many of my friends often express discomfort about saying what college they’re attending. Just like me, they don’t want to sound arrogant. Pursuing a bachelor or higher degree is, after all, a privilege. But again, we have done our best–studying, taking test, convincing our parents–to get into this school. Shouldn’t we have the right to be proud of it?

Despite telling myself that, I was tempted just a minute ago to delete the entire draft of this post and change the prompt. I was even tempted to just delete my previous post too and start all over again.

Fortunately (maybe unfortunately, who knows?), I didn’t do that. Let’s just keep writing no matter what, shall we?

My university, objectively and subjectively speaking, has many strengths. It is located in Depok–near enough to the capital city of Indonesia, but not quite crowded enough to be a very hustling city. For me personally, it’s just right. Transportations are easy to access (taxi, online transportation service, train, angkutan umum/angkot/share taxi). There are many public facilities–hospitals, malls, cafes, traditional markets. But unlike Jakarta, Depok is still a city that sleeps at night. From eleven p.m. to 5 a.m., traffic is really light. It has its moments of rush hour, of course, but typically it’s still quite bearable.

I can’t stop talking about it, but my campus has pretty nice view. I have talked about lakes, forests, and parks. I suppose it should be enough. We have campus bus, bicycles, and scooters–all free for students and employees. The campus is quite big, but it’s easy to get around from one faculty to another (takes time, but at least it’s still in one big area).

The main library’s building is so pretty. It is shaped like a junk of crystal with greenery on the surface. Hence the official name: Crystal of Knowledge. The campus WiFi is on 24/7 and it’s got quite the speed too. The online library service is good too. To be honest, I do most of my research online instead of going to the library, unless I really need to find a specific or rare textbook.

Each faculty in my university has its own characteristics and colours. Mine is Faculty of Humanities and its colour is white. My professor once said that my faculty area was built in the concept of openness–hence the multiple entrance way, the open classes near the lake, and the art installations scattered everywhere.

Anything else I should mention? Hmm, ATMs are very accessible. We’ve got a lot of space for hanging out and studying outside the class. Guilty as charged, sometimes I skip class only to hang out around the campus. Living accommodations are varied, depending on your wallet. You just need to be smart and intentional about it. You can splurge or you can save money–the difference is more about your lifestyle instead of the environment (but maybe be intentional about social circles too. You don’t want to spend money out of feeling obligated to fit in).

For now, those are the things I particularly recommend about my current university. When I read it from the start, I just realize that I talk only about the physical (material) side of things. I don’t talk at all about teaching style or student unions or clubs. Please keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that they’re bad–I am (maybe) just more inclined to talk about the buildings and things around it. Tomorrow I will talk about things I don’t like about my university, and I think I will spend all-night trying to form the right words. See you tomorrow!

College Q&A Series: Why did I choose my current school?

INTRO: I have talked a bit about this before.

For those who don’t know, I am currently a college student majoring in Japanese Studies. I am pursuing a bachelor degree in Universitas Indonesia. On my other blog, I have talked about how I chose my major and the rough detail of why I chose my current university. The blog post was (as my other posts on that blog) written in Indonesian. This entry, on the other hand, is written in English and more focused on my college choices instead of my major.

While Universitas Indonesia was my first choice, I did apply to several different colleges (some even with different majors) after I finished my final high school exam. I applied for Universitas Airlangga and Universitas Gadjah Mada. But to be honest, I was kind of desperate to enter Universitas Indonesia. Not that those two other colleges aren’t good, but mostly because I wanted to experience being a student in Universitas Indonesia.

The first reason being the environment–the landscape. Universitas Indonesia has amazing green environment. It has lakes, forest, parks. The thought of being a student there was just amazing for me. Imagine spending the afternoon after class beside the lake, or taking a walk on Sunday morning through the forest and parks.

The second reason being it’s in the different province from my hometown. I spent my childhood and teenager years in Central Java, always being in the majorities because I am Muslim and speaks Javanese. Universitas Indonesia is in West Java, in the outskirts of the capital city of Jakarta (Indonesia’s capital city). I wanted to know how it felt to be one of the minorities, but in a more friendly environment.

One of my professor actually said that if I wanted a more diverse environment, Universitas Gadjah Mada would be a more logical option. Despite this, though, I found that what she meant by “diversity” was not exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t want people who came from different ancestors and spoke different language, but people who were truly “diverse” in terms of personalities and the way they perceived the world. They are who they are because they create their own personas and quirks. Most of my friends are all “weird”, in a good way. They’re exceptional and unique. I want an environment brimming with different colours and energies.

How did I know that Universitas Indonesia would be the right choice for me? How would I know if my friends were as quirky as I hoped them to be?

The answer was I didn’t know. It’s just a gut feeling. My high school friends chose to go east, abroad, or stay in the same province. I went west. I just knew that I’d find my people there. And I did. My college friends are my people. They are nothing like me, but they are, somehow, my people.

The third reason I chose Universitas Indonesia was I thought of it as a bridge to a new world I aspired to be. I have three dream schools and Universitas Indonesia is one of them. I thought that I’d get used to a different world, bit by bit, by getting to know Depok and other cities around it.

If you sum up everything I’ve written on this entry, I guess you could say that the reasons I chose my current school are more intuitive than logical. Maybe I just can simply say that I like my college and I want to be a part of it. And a part of me, it has become too. I don’t regret my choice. I feel I belong there.

16.25. Listening to Halsey’s 929.

Sragen. 14.07.2020.

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 46

Sragen. 09.07.2020.

17:10. Listening to DAY6’s Time of Our Life.

I’m 21 years old and youth is mine. I’m at the right age of freedom, both emotionally and physically. It is the age of one person knowing that every action (s)he takes has a price, but also that s(he) he has a choice to take it. I feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices I can take, so many ways of life I can try. I also feel empowered because I’m at the top of my game–I have less to lose and more to gain.

I’m 21 years old and life no longer consists of three parts: past, present, future. They blends into one, making me who I am in this exact moment. It constantly transforms, never stays in the same place for long. Past is present and present is future and future can’t be separated from the past.

I’m 21 years old and next year I’ll be 22. Youth will still be mine. Life will still be three parts combined in one. I have a long journey ahead, and the scariest and most thrilling parts haven’t even arrived yet.

Next year I’ll be 22 years old.

Youth is mine to enjoy. And life is mine to create.

But most importantly, I won’t be the only 22-year-olds out there. Youth is theirs too. Life is theirs too.

The world is ours. It’s not a competition. It’s a world to be shared, to build together.

Don’t you feel most powerful when you realize that you’re not alone in this world?

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 44

Sragen. 07.07.2020.

17:02. Listening to Wanna One’s Hide And Seek.

I took a nap. Well, I basically passed out for almost three hours. I just remembered playing songs from my July 2019 favourite playlist and then fell asleep somewhere along the way. Thankfully, I’d done my tasks of the day so when I woke up, I at least didn’t feel bad for losing the afternoon.

I purchased an e-book of The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan yesterday. And now I basically have no money left for any splurge. I have to pay for internet billing (which still hasn’t been terminated that it gives me serious headache. I plan to bombard the contact center with e-mails, tweets, and phone calls in the next few days. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing I can do at the moment. If this continues for another month, I am considering filing a public report–though I am not sure I have the courage to do that.)

For the record, I didn’t regret purchasing The Tyrant’s Tomb. I have read the beginning of the book and it’s got good premise. On the other hand, I don’t like paying for a service I no longer use (who does?). It’s a waste of money, don’t you think? Like paying for a monthly magazine subscriptions you no longer read or paying for electricity in the house you no longer live in. The second case is technically what’s happening to me–I have moved out from the house and have another rent I have to pay.

I know my previous housemates will help sharing the bill (it’s part of their responsibilities) but I also feel bad because the matter was supposed to be resolved months before. I have talked to one of them about this matter and they said it’s the internet provider’s fault, but I keep wondering that maybe I miss something and that’s why they still hasn’t terminated the subscription.

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 42

Sragen. 05.07.2020.

15:04. Listening to Troye Sivan’s WILD.

In three years I’ve been a college student, there were several paths I’d taken to get home from classes. For the record, I moved pretty often. The farthest I’d been from campus was 5 kilometres. The shortest was 2 kilometres. I’ve used public transportation, online ride, my friend’s ride, bicycle, and walking. With public transportation and getting free ride from my friend, the routes I used didn’t vary much. With online ride, bicycle, and walking though, I often use the opportunity to look for new routes and enjoy new views.

When I was in a good mood, I walked. My faculty was one of the greenest area in our campus. It was near lake (though it seemed more like river to me) and full of trees. Two of the routes I’d used the most were through the woods and under the bridge across the lake. Especially for the path under the bridge, I also used it often as my weekend exercise’s route. Sometimes in the afternoon, students from faculty of engineering could be found there working on their projects–experiments that involved water or sun. People didn’t usually use that route because there were other options to get around like campus, like campus bus or campus bicycles. Other reason that made the route unappealing was that during rain, some trees near the lake had high possibility of falling down and obscured the path. I’d encountered that problem before–the branches fell down and I had to climb over it to continue walking.

One day, though, I found another reason people didn’t use that path.

It was the day when I had only one class in the morning and unexpectedly we got to finish earlier. I deliberately chose the route under the bridge to get home, knowing that no one wouldn’t use the path that early in the morning. I encountered some surprises. Well, it was true that people didn’t use that path in the morning, but I hadn’t known that animals did. Near the end of the path, just about ten metres from the campus’s main road, I discovered a group of monitor lizards near the lake. Sensing my presence, they scrambled away quickly into the woods. But I was just as surprised as they were.

I had known from the very first day in college that there were monitor lizards in the campus. What I hadn’t known was the fact that they lived in the woods. Even though it’s silly, I used to think that they lived in the lake or at least somewhere farther from the faculty buildings. I also had never seen monitor lizard that big. I could mistake them for crocodile. They were at least one metre and a half long!

After seeing them, I became quite wary to use that route under the bridge again–or any route that was near the woods. One or two of them in small size wouldn’t deter me, but more than four with size that big… It was such a pity though, since those routes were my favourite parts from the campus environment.

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 41

Sragen. 04.07.2020.

15:45. Listening to Halsey’s Colors.

There was this one day after a class when I just burst into tears. Out of nowhere. So instead of going to the college canteen to meet my friends for lunch, I ran to the back of our campus’s main library. It was my favourite place because of the lake. When I wanted to be alone, that was the place I went to. The spot was actually a popular place in my college–people went there to have a lunch together, to have big group meeting, or just to enjoy the morning after a weekend running exercise. But most afternoons, people preferred to stay inside the air-conditioned buildings.

That particular day, there weren’t many people. I took an empty seat nearest to the lake, under a tree. My bag was heavy–I had three classes that day, each with at least two textbooks I had to bring. I put the bag on the ground, next to my right leg. From there I pulled out my phone and opened a note-taking app. I hadn’t known what to write. It’s just when I looked up at the clear November sky, I felt that I had lost someone. I was longing, almost aching for someone. Now that I saw down and reminisced about that day again, I realized that the heaving feeling had been loneliness.

And maybe the person I had missed so strongly that day was me from years before. One who could look up and be grateful for nice weather. One who didn’t wish for rain and sadness. One who managed to bravely show her tears instead of hiding them underneath an uncaring mask.

It was November. When I reached the lake, my tears had dried. People passed me by without batting an eye. I was a lone girl with a big bag, typing furiously on her phone and occasionally looking afar beyond the lake and the sky. By the time I was done writing a poem, my emotions had calmed down a bit. I sent a message to my best friend who wondered where I was and why I hadn’t met her for lunch like usual.

I am at the lake, I said. I was not feeling well a while ago.

She replied, Do you need a hug?

And just like that, the heavy feeling dissipated completely. I almost laughed. There was a poem stored on my phone–one day I would publish it. And there was a friend waiting for me back at my faculty’s canteen, available for a hug.

It was November. And it is now July, almost two years later.

Today I once again burst into tears out of nowhere. Now the lake is ten hours away by train from where I am. And my friend is also ten hours away by train from where I currently am. I have grown up though and I am closer to my family now.

So I pull out my phone and call my mother.

And when she comes home, the question might not be Do you need a hug?

But I’ll still hug her all the same.

49 Days Journal Challenge – Day 36

Sragen. 29.06.2020.

15:22. Listening to BTS’s Make It Right.

I’ve met many people throughout schools. I rarely kept in touch with them after I graduated from each school, but I treasured memories I had of them. In each level of my education, I found best friends, people I was awkward with, and people I barely tolerated. I know that many people are easily intimidated or put off by my seemingly cold and passive demeanour, so I am always grateful for the people I actually make friends with. What I take for granted is the fact that because I had been student in class with at least twenty people, it’s easier to connect to people who are my age. In each class, I would have at least one friend who would want to sit next to me. Never more than three, but there was always at least one.

Once I graduated though, as I implied, it became more difficult to keep in touch. My friends suddenly aren’t on the same social media I use or my best friends suddenly aren’t on the same wavelength of thinking and interest as me. People once I’ve known became stranger, living a very different life than mine. My elementary school friends have married and started a family. My junior high school friends have begun their job. My high school friends are spread out throughout the country, busy with their own lives. But mostly, I am also busy with my own life.

When I think about my current college friends, I wonder whether I’ll be able to stay in touch with them in the future. Most of them are from different cities from mine. While we might choose similar jobs in similar fields, I doubt I would stay in the same place as them. We are all Japanese Studies student and I believe that at least half of us will find our way to Japan some way and sometime, but Japan itself is a rather big country.

I know that it is also a matter of effort as well as fate. We have to put in the work to stay in touch if we want to be always connected. I’m sure there will be people among my batch that never lose contact with each other. I’m also sure that there will be people like me, who takes months or even years to finally reach out to my friends again.

I write this entry as something like a reminder. I’m grateful for the people that have blessed me with their presences in my life. I’m grateful that God gives me many precious people throughout my entire life. I’m grateful that some of them will always be my best friends, people I could always rely on. But I also need to remember that friendship–or any type of relationships–needs effort. We have to always maintain communication. I have to remember that I can’t take people around me for granted–they’re not always gonna be the ones who reach out to me. At some point, I would have to be the one who reaches out to them too. At some point, I just need to be the one who sends the first message or places the first call. So be courageous. Be kind.

They need you as much as you need them.

They treasure you as much as you treasure them.

There would always be people who are worth the efforts.