Mini journal entry for January

A day before New Year’s Eve:

2017,

the most overwhelming year I have yet to endure, after a very painfully disheartening set of years, is about the end tomorrow. Let’s hope Zee can live through 2018 with all the people she loves, through all the things that will happen: events heavy in knowledge and experience, events exciting and hopeful, and events full of love and kindness.

2018, please be kind, but more importantly, be exciting and rich of knowledge.


This morning I woke up early and decided to sleep in. After what felt like minutes of wonderful dreams, I woke up, realised that it was almost 10a.m., then finally, gathered enough courage to shove my blanket away so that I could go on about with my day. It’s been a few days already since I turned down a hang out offer this week, or to put it in better words, slept through a hang out offer, and I’m feeling more accomplished than ever. Accomplished that I had decided to stay in my room to give my mind and body time to rest and unwind, just before the storm comes.

tumblr_o4r8znjdL51sjodmuo1_r9_1280.gif

Credits to the wonderful, punziella.tumblr.com

Now it’s the noon of Saturday the 13th and I wanted to write. Mainly because I have successfully convinced my dad to continue my domain’s annual subscription, but also because I have things to write about that I would like you to know. And one of them has to be the silly accident I got in while I was on my way to campus.

It was Tuesday, and our first Business Statistics auditorium session starts at 8:00, which was in favour for all of us SBM students because we always had lessons start at 7:00 back then. Anyhow, I was walking down the stairs when my ordered driver (Gojek) called me, telling me that he’s arrived to pick me up. When I walked outside of my boarding house, I saw two drivers waiting. I approached the one nearest to me and asked if he was picking up a “Zee”. He uttered a name that sounded muffled, but he nodded when I asked if it was for me, “Zee”, so I got on the seat and we were off.

Just after about two minutes of riding this Go-ride, I received a call from an anonymous number which I, out of habit, declined. But then I saw two texts from my supposed driver telling me that he’s arrived since forever and has been waiting for quiet some time now… When I read that, I had a mini panic shudder and told the driver I was with that he got the wrong customer. Upon hearing this, he immediately made a u-turn and rushed back to my place to fetch his actual customer.

I could already tell by the speed that he was driving in that he was anxious of being late to pick whoever-it-was up, and I felt like I was in the wrong for carelessly getting on his motorbike when it was “clearly” not my ride. You see, the road in my particular neighbourhood *cough* Dago Asri 3 *cough* is pretty much in ruins and so it was nervewrecking that this driver intensely drove through all that without much attention. Even when a speed bump emerged (well not literally, it’s been there all the time) right in front of us, he sped through that!

Consequently, we both jumped off our seats, but the driver was in safe hands because he had his weight back to the motorbike as he was holding onto it. I, on the other hand, didn’t. And so I was bounced off the seat, thrown into the air, and tossed onto the asphalt road where my body scraped the ground and my helmet was snapped away from my head. For a few seconds it took awhile for me to absorb what just happened, my sight was spinning beyond control. I looked at my bag that was now on the ground a few feet away from me and the first thing that I immediately worried about was my laptop inside.

Funnily enough, this happened just two/three houses away from my place, and there were several passerby staring at the incident. When the driver looked at what just happened, he dropped his motorbike and helped me stand up. I grabbed my bag, stroked my head, and thought of Bagas (my dearest friend who passed away from a motorbike accident more than a year ago).

This is the conversation that follows as he grabbed my arm, supporting me to stand up (shortened and translated):

Panicked Driver: “My goodness, I am terribly sorry. Are you okay miss?”

Lunatic who thinks she’s perfectly fine: “Yeah I’m fine haha, don’t worry.”

Worried Driver: “Are you sure? Let me bring you to a clinic right now to get that checked.”

Lunatic who still thinks she’s perfectly fine: “What? No, I’m fine.”

Puzzled Driver: “I can’t let you do that, I have to bring you to a clinic.”

Lunatic who still, even though the driver has pointed out the stain left on her jeans, thinks she’s perfectly fine: “I can’t go, I have a class to attend.”

And that was it. I was too stubborn to attend this class, so I assured the driver that it was fine, that I was left unharmed, and that I have to go.

When I was finally on my way to campus with my actual driver though, was when the pain started kicking in. I felt a sore wound on my left arm and on the lower part of my back, along with an incredibly throbbing set of headaches that forced me to endure it with a helmet on as I gritted my teeth. Apart from that, I worried about how I had looked. I honestly thought I looked great before the accident, but after being thrown like that, I was sure that I looked messed up to some degree. And I was probably right.

This is the part that somewhat broke my heart.

When the realisation of how much my body was in pain finally dawned on me, I arrived in campus wanting to hug someone and just cry because of how much it had hurt. But I can’t do that because there was a crowd by the auditorium and… I didn’t really have anyone I could hug. Besides, I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself so I rushed to the toilet to have a look at wounds instead.

Indeed, it was true. I had a bleeding, scratched, wound on my left arm by the elbow, some scratches that was also bleeding on the lower part of my back, and several bruises on my legs: one mighty on the centre of my left thigh. I frowned at them, and simply kept them hidden beneath my clothes because I didn’t know what else to do. I then walked into the auditorium and sat next to my classmates.

When I announced to my group of friends of what just happened through chat, they made it clear that my current condition was in no way that worrisome and that I should just go get myself checked right then and there. Of course, I didn’t want to go alone. I mean, I was still shaking and my heart was still pounding relentlessly from the accident. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that I needed someone to accompany me to go there. Naturally, I would expect at least one of them to volunteer to help. But none of that came even as the lecture passed by. They acted as if falling off a motorbike and getting wounds were the most natural thing for someone to do before going to campus. But, I’ll admit, it was partially my fault. I didn’t fall a little harder & I didn’t have wounds that were a little more visible. Maybe if I did, they would actually start to care. But that is a very childish way of thinking. The truth is I just have to deal with the reality that this is college here that I’m attending, that I cannot expect anything towards other people who essentially do not care about me. It’s a shame that things are like this but there’s nothing I could do about it.

So in the end, I had to ask a friend to assist me in finding my way to Bumi Medika Ganesha, which is a campus owned clinic. Along the way, I told her about this and she had conceded to me that it was true. What my dad told me after I informed him about this too, was that this incident showed me who amongst my friends were true to me in good nature. Although I was left feeling a slight disgust with the reality of what I experienced, and although it had an effect on me that I shall now be more careful with who I choose to entrust my vulnerabilities to, it encouraged me to appreciate my friends more and accompany them, and help them, when they are in need without having them ask me first (because I surely would have appreciated that). This is simply a way for me to see if they are right for me, that if I finally become a better friend, would they become a better friend too? And once I learn that they are not, I would at least then know who to leave.

It’s funny how I’m so outspoken about such an emotional tragedy. I suppose this could be justified by allowing you to understand that I rarely feel raw and strong emotions anymore that the moment that I do, I find them as intriguing materials to write about and give to you. Besides, writing like this in itself is a form of catharsis for me. So I hope you have found this mini journal entry to be profoundly worthwhile, the way I have, as I was writing it down for you.

Here’s a playlist for this month:

Ketika Badai Sudah Reda

Please play this song as you read along. I promise you, you will fall in love with it.

Now that an entire semester has passed, where should I begin?

Before:

Mungkin sudah saatnya kamu melupakan apa yang memang tidak pernah diartikan untukmu. Mungkin sudah saatnya untuk akhirnya membuka diri kepada kemana ini akan membawamu. Walaupun masih sakit, aku yakin suatu hari kamu akan pulih; dan aku yakin kamu akan menerima lebih dari apa yang kamu inginkan. 

Jangan putus asa sekarang- 

You are more than just a fallen dream.

-Jakarta, 28 July 2017

After:

Tidak disangka sudah hampir satu semester aku lewati disini, di Institut Terbaik Bangsa*. Ya, aku sadar bahdwa ini semua hanya akan berjalan untuk dua tahun, dan setelah itu aku harus berpisah dengan mereka ke negara asing. Maka dari itu, aku ingin mencoba lari sejauh mungkin diwaktu 2 tahun ini. Aku telah membuka diri ke hal-hal yang dulunya aku anggap “taboo” dan aku sedang mencoba untuk tidak terikat kepada sesuatu yang dari awalnya memang bukan untuk mengikatku. Dunia ini, dan kepercayaanku atasnya, lebih dari hanya sebuah tulisan. Aku sadar bahdwa aku harus lebih terbuka & lebih menerima.

Bersama dengan itu, aku yakin Tuhan ingin aku mencoba untuk lari sejauh mungkin. Sebelum akhirnya waktuku disini habis. Ini hanyalah awal dari penjelajahanku. Dan aku berharap, pada akhirnya, aku bisa berlari lebih jauh dari apa yang awalnya aku bayangkan.

-Bandung, 28 November 2017


Yes,

I am well aware that 5 months is an awfully long time to not appear in writing. That I’ve gone beyond people’s remembrance of my blog’s existence to even write here anymore. Within that time, however, I found myself experiencing an abundance of things that I would often bookmark as something I’d write about. But I could never find the right words to illustrate them correctly. To tell you the truth, I have made several attempts to write again but they always end up as unfinished drafts that would leave me unsatisfied with how lacking I am in my flow of words. In fact, writing this now, I have absolutely no expectations of delivering these words to you knowing just how terrible I have been with my blog. Regardless, I am still here writing.

Anyhow, remember when I wrote about crying two days in a row out of ‘plain fear’ when I learned that ITB had accepted me (that plain fear being the realisation that I would not pursue my undergraduate degree in America)? Well, I think those two days have changed me incredibly, in a way that I am now numb towards whatever life proffers to me. Between those two days, I felt something inside of me poured empty. There is nothing left there, and that nothingness had morphed me, almost immediately. I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing: that I no longer expect a lot of things from life, but I realise that that has helped me experience things in a more pleasantly surprising way.

When I first introduced myself to Bandung, say, I was pleasantly surprised at how brisk the atmosphere was; especially around the boarding house I lived in for three months before moving to a more commodious space. The tiny room I had occupied was equipped with two very broad windows which allowed natural light and wind to enter very easily so I would always open them as far as they could go. In the morning when I wake up all groggy, the room would be filled with an unbearable chill piercing into my body: I had to first close the windows to sleep in.

I shared the same experience when it comes to meeting the friends that I have now. To tell you the truth, I walked into ITB with absolutely no intensions of making friends. I wanted to graduate as soon as possible, with no strings attached to any human being. And I had my faculty’s benefit for that: in the School of Business and Management, it only takes us three years to complete our degree. But that all changed when I decided to meet the other new students of the international class who transferred from Abu Dhabi over breakfast, right before re-registration hour, and when someone courageously gathered all the *noisy people into one, (anti-)depressing, group, that of which consisted of people I would have never imagined to be friends with.

Because I don’t yet want to introduce these wonderful human beings to you and end up writing a novel about how things unravelled from there on, I thought it would be better to keep quiet about this first, especially noting how terrible I am at procedural writings. But yes, life happened to want me friends. And truthfully, I don’t hate it.

It’s interesting to say that people from my past have said that I have gotten a lot happier. Which is true, because I am a lot happier than who I used to be. At the same time, however, I find myself breaking down emotionally, most of the times physically, because of how overwhelming the changes that I have had to endure have been.

What sort of changes?

Well, first of all, there’s this almost inevitable trend amongst college students (note: not applicable to everyone on certain conditions) called “living alone” that subsequently carries “individualism” along with it too. As someone who’s never done a difficult day of work, who has the memory of a goldfish and the carelessness of a Zahra Thania towards money, deadlines, times of eating, and time in general, and who constantly has a personal driver who would take her as her heart pleases which consequently fails her at navigations, it’s plausible to say that I was not terrific at taking care of myself. In fact, I can not take care of myself as mannerly as other people. Which I suppose could explain why the only reason I ever really contact my parents is when I fall sick, or basically when my gastropathy and headaches come running to me like a train.

And then there’s also the academics that I have to keep up with. Although the studies in SBM aren’t tremendously challenging or at all difficult when compared to other faculties, since they are mostly comprised of exhibitions and group projects, managing the time and mind to actually sit down and study the core understanding of it, is. I’m sure that if I had the same ambitious drive back in high school, I wouldn’t be as disappointed with the results of this first semester. Regardless, I am not regretful.

All in all, now that the storm is over, I think it’s fair to say that although things didn’t work out as I have planned it to, I am wholeheartedly pleasant with how things turned out to be. It’s true. If God has decreed something for you, irrespective of your plans, desires, and sufferings, what will occur and how it will unravel is entirely up to God. Whether or not they seem to be in your favour, in the end, you will learn to understand that what God has decreed for you is what is most suited for you. You may not see it now, since your existence in His plans is not necessarily strictly until death, but you will come to see it some day.

In my case, I just happened to see it now after a long time hurting myself.


“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

-Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore

The Last of College Dilemma


So I finally sent a withdrawal letter to UMass Lowell on June 30th, which I double checked with my friend who I trust for these matters and since then, I’ve never dared to look back. Strangely, I’m also not looking forward to anything at all in the institution that I will be attending by next month. If anything, the most I’ve done -apart from doing what most incoming students are- is praying to God that everything works out for me in the end. In the meantime, I haven’t really been doing anything worthwhile due to my “becoming numb” towards my interests so forgive me for not writing to you at all for the past several weeks.

lost without you


I think it’s funny now because half a year ago I was still constantly refreshing my email awaiting for a letter or announcement from all four universities that I applied to, and now I barely even do so because I know I wouldn’t receive anything like that anymore.

It’s funny now because I used to get excited of imagining how different things would be by July and the months after “knowing” that I wouldn’t be here in this country anymore, and now I don’t imagine anything at all.

It’s funny now because all the effort that I have given in seems like a dream instead of a memory.


Below is the withdrawal letter for you to read in case you were curious of how I overcame my college heartbreak:

Dear University of Massachusetts Lowell,

My name is Zahra Thania and my student ID is: ——— and I am a registered incoming freshman at your university.

I’ve gathered enough courage to write this email to let you know that I am unable to attend your university as my family and I are not yet financially prepared to pay for the tuition fee and therefore would like to withdraw my admission from the Manning School of Business.

I apologize for not informing you anytime soon. I’ve only recently decided to stay in my home country, Indonesia, and attend the Institute of Technology Bandung after thoughtful consideration.

Thank you for taking your time to review and accept my application. Please let me know if I need to fill in any form for my withdrawal.

Sincerely,

Zahra Thania Atmoko.

This will be my last post for my College Dilemma series as I have finally made a decision to attend a certain university (note: it’s ITB). Once I begin my college days, I will be sure to let you know and write a new series of stories and I hope that you will keep being here.

Goodbye now! I hope to write to you soon x

College Dilemma pt.3 / On Being Accepted to ITB International Class


It’s been awhile hasn’t it?

Tonight I wanted to write to you about what’s been happening to me lately. I’ve been wanting to write about something a bit more frustrating and personal, but I’ve never been upset enough to pour it all into a post. I am now however, so let’s begin shall we?

May 1st has passed. Which means that I have made a decision to commit to a university in the US. And this might come as a surprise, but I chose University of Massachusetts Lowell instead. After quiet awhile seeking for more information from the two universities that I have been admitted to, I decided to settle for UMass Lowell and sort of became a part of Umass Lowell’s Class of 2021.

Funnily, I did not realize that May 1st was also the deadline for housing applications for those who wants to live on campus. I only learned that it was when I finally (after two months of receiving the letter of acceptance online) received the admittance package in the mail. I apparently had to apply for housing sooner that I had anticipated to. And so I rushed to have it finished and applied a week overdue.

Long story short, I emailed the administration about this issue and received an incredibly brief explanation: I will still be accepted for housing but not for the Living-Learning Community “because you are late“. Nonetheless, I made a friend from the roommate matching profiles, which to me sounds a lot like finding a savior because at least now I get to know more about the housing process at UMass Lowell.

But in all honesty, I find that accepting an invitation to a university is a lot more difficult than receiving an invitation. What I mean by that is that finishing the requirements to apply and being admitted to a university is nowhere near the struggle of preparing yourself to attend the university. Unless of course you have no trouble with the cost and distance of said choice. Which in that case…why the hell did I make this decision?


Peachy

It’s been awhile hasn’t it?

The first several paragraphs I wrote above dates back to before I discovered I had been admitted to the Institute of Technology Bandung. I had applied there as a backup university in Indonesia in case America didn’t work out for me, and without a surprise, they accepted me.

I say that because I know that it’s easier to get admitted to their international undergraduate program, or at least that’s what my friend who attends their regular undergrad program says. And I know this might sound pathetic, or at least funny, but I actually cried two days in a row out of plain fear when I learned that ITB accepted me.

All in all, it’s still hard for me to get over my dreamy fantasy of wanting to pursue my undergrad in UML (even though I saw it coming from the look of my parents’ eyes). And I still don’t really know how it’s going to work out in the end. I’m currently simply carrying on with whatever life has in store for me. Be it not going to America yet, be it staying in Indonesia for a couple more years.

So yeah, that’s that. I could have written this post a little bit better, but I decided it would be nice to go a bit more candid.

See you around!

Letters from those who are heartbroken no.2

I was thinking about you in the afternoon of the last day of the national examination. But along the way, I realized something odd about my thinking of you. So I wrote a letter for you that day, intending to make it my last for you.

13 February 2017

For someone who I once knew to be thoughtful,

bloody stupid

Photographed by Jerry Hsu: A Love Like Mine is Hard to Find

You know —now that my memory is growing ever so distant and you seem to be clearer in my mind, you were nowhere near special. You owned no distinctive features and you liked all sorts of different things that didn’t have a place in my heart. You also had a depressingly bad taste in music, which I hate and which I couldn’t do anything about. I also doubt you even read books. Now that I’m thinking of you after everything has passed, I wonder what the importance of our encounter was. There seemed to be no shared meaning, and it passed so easily. It was simply the type of encounter that you become hopeful of at first, and slowly notice how painfully deluded you were for ever thinking that way. And writing this today, at this moment that I’m listening to a playlist I made under your *name, I almost wish we had never met. It could have been easier on me, and I could have spared a few more space for other people in my heart. So if you asked me whether or not I “remember” you, I will tell you that I don’t. Because I have chosen not to, the same way you had chosen to.

—ztap.

On Being Accepted to UMass Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell was the first university I sent my application to. I learned about this university through a cousin who graduated from the school earlier and thought it would be a suitable idea for me to apply there too. I first attempted to apply through early decision but had it transferred to regular decision because I haven’t sent all of the required documents yet. *surprise!* After awhile, I had been emailed again to send some additional materials for further evaluation. So I sent them my IGCSE’s and the first semester of my senior year grades. After they promised me 5-7 business days to complete the evaluation, they sent me an email on the 6th of April.

Because of the time difference, it was nearing midnight when I received the email. I had attempted to read the whole email before my droopy eyes went back to sleep. And I did! And it read:

Dear Zahra,

Congratulations!

It is my pleasure to accept you to the University of Massachusetts Lowell for the fall of 2017 semester with the major of Business Administration. The admission committee was impressed by the academic ability and personal qualities you demonstrated in your application materials. We believe you will make the most of the abundant opportunities available to you here and look forward to welcoming you to campus. (…)”

Similar to Bryant University, I chose the major Business with a concentration in Management Information Systems which I will write about in the future, Inshallah. But unlike Bryant University, I didn’t receive any awards that would help cut the tuition fee. I also didn’t really put enough effort in applying for scholarships due to the overwhelming amount of other things I had to do at the time. The funny thing is, UMass Lowell’s tuition for out-of-state students almost equals to Bryant University’s tuition with the awards they’ve given me. So basically, UMass Lowell seems to be a lot friendlier in terms of tuition and costs.

The campus is also not so far away from my uncle’s home. My cousin who previously attended the school told me that it was legitimately only “20 minutes away”, which is great because that means I’m closer to family. But still, regardless of which university suits my heart better, I am still waiting for an epiphany about this decision. Because as I have mentioned many times before, this isn’t something that should be taken upon lightly. At least not for me, because college is very important, especially noting how my choice of destination is across the world with an entirely different atmosphere. If say, my choice was to stay in Indonesia, it wouldn’t be as overwhelming.

So that’s all I had to talk about. There’s not much I can tell you right now, because obviously I haven’t made a decision and I feel like it’s much more comfortable for me to keep these sort of things discreet until they’re sorted out.

Thank you for reading my post! If you have any questions regarding anything related to what I put in this blog, please feel free to comment or email me something. I hope you’ll have a lovely night. May peace be upon you.

…to be continued.

Letters from those who are heartbroken no.1

I’ve been thinking about how I can tell you how much you actually mean to me. I have a feeling I can’t do that now though. Because all the while I know you, I’ve only known you from afar. So here’s a letter I wrote for you three weeks ago. A couple of days after I last saw you.

23 February 2017

For someone who I once knew to be thoughtful,

HER

I hope you’re no longer upset about the world, or about anything you were upset with in the beginning. If anything all I want for you is genuine love and care, and most importantly faith in God. I worry about you the same way I worry about my close friends, despite never meeting you as often. Though our encounter may no longer share a meaning, I will continue to hope that my small existence in the corner of your mind (or heart: whichever you like) allows you to remember that I was once there, and that you’re probably still in mine, right here: *pokes into my own heart*, along with many others.

—ztap.

On Being Accepted to Bryant University

I first discovered about Bryant University through an education fair in Jakarta. My mother had told me to approach *that* university’s stand  we didn’t really notice at first after having looked around the assembly hall and was unable to find a university that I was interested in. To my surprise, Bryant University had the major I was looking for at the time (actuarial mathematics). I met with Claire Dunning there who was the Senior Assistant Director of International Admission and was educated about Bryant University. I took a generous amount of new information that I was unable to find easily across the web along with some BU flyers and her business card, finishing off with a thank you and a new school to apply to.

Bryant University was the second school I finished my application with around the beginning of November (I think) through the Common Application. I applied for the International Business -Computer Information Systems instead of Actuarial Mathematics after having second thoughts about what I expect myself to be studying for the next four or so years. Afterwards, I was given the link to my Applicant Status Page where I’m able to monitor my application status and see which required documents are still missing.

On December 11th, I sent my SAT scores without knowing how much I received after having taken it in the 3rd of December. I only learned afterwards that my SAT scores, though were above what I initially hoped for, seemed like “I could’ve done better”, but left it at that. Later, with the help of my English teacher who acted as my counselor, we sent all of the school reports, as well as some recommendation letters from my English and Math teachers. I also asked a friend of mine to write a recommendation letter and you can read it here at the end of this post.

I didn’t get to send my English Language Proficiency result, because when I was about to, I received an email from Claire on January 27th that my application has been marked complete and that my English Language Proficiency result was waived, meaning they probably didn’t need it.

I wasn’t aware of the admission decisions date, I only knew that it will be available by mid-March, hence I didn’t really worry about it, thinking it’s still a long way to go.

Long story short,  I realized that Bryant had emailed me to let me know that a decision upon my application had been posted in the morning of the 3rd of March. And without hesitating, I immediately opened my application status and through looking at the confetti falling from the top of the page, I learned that…I have been admitted to Bryant University’s class of 2021. 

It read:

Dear Zahra,
On behalf of the Admission Committee, it is my pleasure to congratulate you on your admission to Bryant University. We are very pleased to invite you to become a member of the Class of 2021. The Bryant community joins me in commending you for your accomplishments and your promise for future success.

I am also excited to share with you that you have been awarded a Bryant University Award in the amount of $13,000 for the 2017-2018 academic year. This award recognizes your academic performance, your extracurricular involvement, and your demonstrated leadership. The award is renewable for four consecutive years, a $52,000 value, provided you maintain a 2.7 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) as a full-time undergraduate student.

(…)

At that moment, unlike many others, I didn’t instantly react positively. In fact, it took me quiet some time to process this celebratory news. I was more confused than I were excited at first. I think it’s because I wasn’t certain what to do with this information now, and because I was already having quiet an upsetting morning.

The same reaction, I received from my parents. None of them really congratulated me…which was okay because I tried to understand that it may be because they too needed time. Therefore, in unraveling my emotions, I sought to others and tried to hear their responses. Some were genuinely happy for me and really wanted me to attend Bryant, one hopped around like a bunny (hint: it’s the friend who wrote the recommendation letter) and some were more persevered in their reaction and simply congratulated me like a birthday wish. I absorbed all of their responses and slowly understood that I should be more grateful in hearing about this news.

Though I’m still unsure whether or not I will attend Bryant University, due to the distance and cost of attending, I’m certain that I’d like to go there. In the meantime, I will continue to observe where this will lead to. And for all I know I wouldn’t want to do, is not saying yes to an opportunity I had struggled for and settle for less.


To Whom It May Concern,

With great gratification, I recommend Zahra Thania for admission in your university’s economics course. Zahra demonstrates tremendous effort and growth throughout her studies. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her make profound contributions both in and out of the classroom. I am confident that she will continue to display the same commitment and diligence in everything she does. I highly recommend her for admission to your institution.

Zahra is a perceptive, sharp and analytical individual. Driven with her demand of understanding the world, she developed a passion for economics. She did, in fact, struggle to comprehend the material at the beginning of the year, but her response to her difficulty reflected her determination. Zahra speaks clearly and eloquently about her conclusions and responded to questions in a thoughtful way. She is an active participant in class and is happy to voice her own viewpoints during class discussions, and often asks for further clarification of points covered in class. Her work consistently reflects a level of insightfulness and attention to detail that is unique to her demand for quality.

I am certain that her intellect is capable of handling even the most demanding courses available. Zahra refuses to be daunted by challenging coursework; rather, when confronted with complex issues, she simply devotes herself and seeks further clarification until she has a firm understanding.

Aside from her academic qualities, Zahra engages herself with competitions such as speech and more outstandingly has frequent wins of ‘best speaker’ in debates. Her natural talent to conclude and fiddle with words to form great arguments bring her unique viewpoint, combined with her awareness and familiarity of content alive. She offers all the qualities of a good leader, and all of the characteristics desirable in an ideal team member.

Based on my observation of her abilities, I strongly believe she has the potential to be an outstanding student at your university. Her intellect is such that it demands further study. I highly recommend Zahra Thania for admission to your undergraduate program. If you need any further information, please feel free to contact me –

Sincerely, Karuna Shivani Rocco Rinck

(School Peer)

This has taken me a full week to write. I hope this might help your curios minds about being accepted to a university overseas as a young, Indonesian and Muslim woman. If you have any questions, you can do so by commenting below or emailing me through zeet19@icloud.com

That’s all for tonight. Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll have a wonderful evening.

to be continued…

College Dilemma pt.2

This is the part where I get conflicted.

(…) continued.

The three factors that I mentioned previously that hinder me from attending universities abroad cannot be altered unless God decides to give me way from a source nearly impossible for my own capability to reach. But on the other hand, the effort I have given myself into aren’t necessarily washable or easily ignored: an analogy would be someone having second thoughts a week before their wedding after preparing the ceremony.

And I was that person.

Even though I’m completely aware of this, I somehow managed to convince myself that whatever happens, whichever university I attend, I will (with Allah’s permission) remain grateful and thankful. As someone who’s quiet stubborn and hopeful of her dreams, it’s not an easy thing to do. Heck, back then I would even say things such as, “Oh I don’t know what I would do if I had to stay behind in Indonesia for college. I think I might be depressed. Mental, even.” But now, none of those things really matter and I doubt I would feel the same as I did in the past.

You might be wondering how? Well, I think I mostly owe my sincerest gratitude to my friend Bagasrafi who passed away last month for being a great reminder to me. A reminder that life is truly brief and that we shouldn’t ponder too hard on these worldly matters; that at the end of the day, putting our trust in Allah and being concerned over the Hereafter is what truly matters.

dsc00992

A cute photo as a tribute to Bagas for reminding me. He would’ve hated me if he knew I did this! 

(My statement above does not mean you shouldn’t be concerned about the exams and university admissions though! You should. Because it’s tough. And hopefully that serves as a reminder for you to continue studying and praying hard!)

After having a new perspective of this dilemma, at first I wanted to completely ignore the idea that I still have documents to submit to those six foreign schools. I wanted to simply forget that I ever wasted so many dedications in making it to submitting my application. But I decided that it was wiser to continue the admission process until a letter of acceptance (or not…) is given to me.

So what now, Zee? Well…what other choices do I have? Apply here, in Indonesia.

Where will you be going? Hopefully either one from these three: UI, ITB, UGM. And if you were wondering which class I’ll be taking, I’ll most probably be taking FEB (Fakultas Ekonomi Bisnis) international class.

By the way, which universities abroad have you sent your applications to? Tons! Here they are:

  1. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  2. Bryant University
  3. Northeastern University
  4. Boston University
  5. University of Calgary
  6. University of Alberta

And yes, I did all of the application procedure myself, along with some help from my English teacher as I needed a counselor to sort out the transcript. Anyway let me know in the comments below if you want to read any more posts that’s related to this topic. It would be a delight to know your requests!

Therefore, I hereby declare another beginning of tackling university admissions in which I will try to document them in words right here, in this blog.

(…) to be continued.

College Dilemma pt.1

Today I want to write to you about a topic that many of my relatives and friends ask me the moment they realize I’m a senior in high school. It is never a simple topic to begin with considering how much of a dilemma it has given me, but I have always wanted to write about it sort of as a way to get it out of my chest. And as you can tell from the title of this blog post, it’s about: where I am going to for college.

If you don’t know me in real life, then you wouldn’t know that I personally really want to study in America ever since I was a child for many reasons not a lot of people can understand, apart from the general knowledge that America is the heart of numerous of leading campuses in the world. Now that I’m a senior (12th grader), I decided to begin searching for universities that placed a seat in my heart, and ended up applying to four schools in America and two in Canada.

college-post

BU was among the schools I wanted to attend the most.

The application procedure isn’t at all difficult in my opinion -it is stressful, yes I understand, but because these universities have very informative websites, I didn’t find any trouble in finishing my applications. And in case any of my readers are interested in applying to America, I advice you begin your research as soon as possible and take the exams that are required such as the SAT (if you’re not under the American curriculum) and IELTS. Then, open the Common Application for more information on applying to universities. You can also find helpful articles there such as how to pay for college, exploring different schools and even virtual tours around the campuses! So do plan ahead, because college is something that you cannot take lightly. Besides, it is always good to be prepared in a journey than not.

That being said, I reckon you might now be wondering why it’s a dilemma for me if it wasn’t at all difficult. Well, here comes the tricky part.

Firstly, I am a Muslim, and a young female one at that. Therefore, travelling to a faraway country cannot be done without a Mahram according to Islam. Even though I have relatives there and I have spoken to them about this topic, they too seem to advice me to stay for now. Secondly, the financial place my family is at isn’t amazing enough to handle purchasing this long term commitment despite the fact that it could with a few determinations. I suppose it’s the same for everyone who wants to study in America where most schools cost an average of $33,215 (or Rp 444,000,000) annually, unless you come from a family where a string of five-digit numbers for a school year is a piece of cake. Thirdly, and controversially one of the reasons I chose this particular country, it is very far away from Indonesia.

Though I’ve known these factors long before sending in my applications, I was reluctant to accept them and always tried to reason to my parents about it as if they weren’t clear enough. It took many months of delusion for me to finish my requirements to apply to those 6 foreign universities. I took the SAT, IELTS and several of Cambridge IGCSE’s that truthfully took a lot of hard work and money. Plus, if I were to calculate the total amount of money my father had spent in paying for the application fees for all 6 schools, he’s spent around $490. It may not seem much until you convert it to Indonesian Rupiah whilst adding the payment fee.

This is the part where I get conflicted.

(…) to be continued.