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…

Holy Grail Hijab

Sorry for not showing up for awhile! I’ve been plenty busy. Anyway…

Today I want to briefly review this hijab that I’ve shamelessly worn for days on end because of how much I love it. I first discovered this hijab from watching countless of Gita Savitri’s YouTube videos in which she often remarks how Femme Outfit is her absolute favorite brand that sells hijab she genuinely wears. So, I decided I ought to have one from them for myself.

alexa

Instagram page featuring the Alexa shawl

Femme Outfit, along with many other Instagram hijab stores, are often in great demand —which makes their product always in limited stock. So when you decide to purchase something, it is advisory to do your research as soon as possible before the product launches and are booked by other eager customers.

Learning from experience, I quickly stalked the online shop’s account and settled to purchase the Alexa square Shawl in the color Dusty Taro, which is the one next to the black hijab. And the reason why I ended up with the color dusty taro is because the others I initially wanted was out of stock (proof to my “theory”), and it would be quiet a while if I had to wait for the restock: thus I just went ahead and chose one.

If you were wondering how much it costs, the Alexa square Shawl sells for Rp70,000 while the pashmina size sells for Rp60,000. It is the standard price of hijabs online, I believe. So it’s not too shabby.

Because I’m a generally lazy person who likes to get ready with little effort and time, I find the Alexa square Shawl to be the perfect hijab for me. Why? Because it doesn’t require you to iron it! I tried washing it once and even after it dried, ironing wasn’t necessary. However, it is in much better quality when it’s ironed! Tip: iron slowly while pressing down on to the hijab.

Oh by the way, the dusty taro color is basically a light-medium grey with a hint of lilac in it. But the taro color is such a sheer shade that this hijab is suitable for any clothes.

To me, this hijab is almost a revolutionary discovery. It takes less than two minutes to put on, doesn’t require you to iron it and is made from cotton, thus leaving it cool and comfortable around your head! If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like fussing around with your hijab too much, or if you’re looking for something newbie-friendly, this might be your match! Just like Gita said.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The Alexa square Shawl in Dusty Taro: original light

And guess what? I love this hijab so much I already have another ordered on the way! (A broken white colored one, for school) *cheeky smile* And you can get yours too! Visit: instagram.com/femmeoutfit and request for a follow if you haven’t already.

See you soon!

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.

Bonjour!

Hello there lovely fella

My name is Zahra Thania -or Zee on most occasions- and I started this blog on a midnight whim just three days after New Year’s. Why? I absolutely have no idea myself, considering I already have a blog of four years* that’s gained a probable amount of readers. But as an intuitive extrovert (according to the Myers Briggs test) it’s not unusual for me to stumble upon an idea and bring it to life at the spur of the moment.

If you are an experienced reader from my previous blog (which I highly suspect you are either a friend or a family member), I am truly sorry for restarting my blogging journey. There is a certain reason as to why I’m doing this and to mention it briefly it’s simply because I have grown out of my previous blog. If you perhaps noticed too, I did write very few blog posts last year for a reason I don’t really understand myself aside from being extremely lonely and uninspired.

I tried numerous attempts at creating useful contents but they always end up as unfinished drafts. Therefore, in feeding my will to deliver my writings more actively, I decided to make a new blog with an entirely new and novel platform.

And here it is! And here you are. I am happy that you are here, and I hope that you are too. Do subscribe to my blog so that you can keep up with my future contents. Also, thank you for visiting my little internet home! I wish I could offer you a matcha latte or something.

Love always, Zee

(the muggle writer in fluffy rose website)