Merefleksikan Pendidikan

Yup, saya baru menyelesaikan quarter pertama saya sebagai mahasiswi Stanford University! Tiga bulan ini sangat berarti buat saya – saya melihat kultur yang berbeda, mengadaptasi cara pandang yang berbeda, merasakan gaya pendidikan yang berbeda. Dalam post ini saya ingin berbagi aspek-aspek pendidikan Stanford yang mengesankan saya, refleksi saya terhadap pendidikan yang saya dapat di Indonesia sebelumnya dan apa yang saya harap bisa diterapkan di Indonesia.

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“Nothing happens unless first we dream.”

~Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer-winning writer.

Saya suka daydreaming, mostly tentang apa yang akan saya lakukan di masa depan. Dulu di saat saya belum pernah menang, saya daydream tentang apa rasanya berdiri di depan sana, dengan medali di leher saya dan orang bertepuk tangan. Saya membayangkan akan bisa berkata kepada orang yang meremehkan saya, “See? I told you so.” Daydreams inilah yang terus me-recharge semangat saya, mengingatkan saya bahwa ada sesuatu di depan sana.

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2009 : A Year of Blessings

As I recall my life in the last twelve months, I am still amazed how I saw green light in every move I made. thanks God!

I am thankful that I fulfilled every target I’ve set for myself. I started 2009 with a blast – winning silver at International Zhautykov Olympiad in Informatics 2009. Then, I went on topping all three national selection phase (this, this and this) to make the IOI team, winning bronze at Asia Pacific Informatics Olympiad and silver at International Olympiad in Informatics. I closed the year with a win @ BNPCHS 2009. Some of these contests meant a lot more than a medal for me; I was told as a kid that I won’t make it to the IOI team because I’m female. I almost couldn’t solve a thing in BNPCHS 2007, and I was a kiddie in TOKI 2008… so everything is so strange. I met people I admired over the net, in person, and tried hard to keep my face straight when talking to some of them :p

I am most thankful, however, that I didn’t moanfully regret anything that I typed. Made some stupid errors during the selection, yet my lead was enough to cover them… I was dissatisfied by my embarrassing performance at Day 2 of IOI (Mecho ><) but a best-case scenario wouldn’t put me in the gold range anyway. I certainly didn’t lose sleep because of them 😀

I am proud to deliver my peers into the top and prepare them to continue the success of BPK Penabur. In the same week as my winning in the IOI, one of them became the Absolute Winner first gold of the National Olympiad, and another won a respectable silver. Two competitors from other Penabur schools that I happened to teach won gold and bronze. They are getting better than me 😀

I spent the second half of the year doing college application. Revising my essays over and over again, probably annoying some of my readers with my abundant emails 😀 I enjoy the whole process at times, though, writing those essays made me very retrospective about things in life. Tiring, yet the efforts were paid off in December 11st, when I got acceptance from two universities. Very surprised and ecstatic 🙂 Still waiting for some decisions to come though, as I decided to take my time to think…

On the other hand, I was parted with some Interians who went on continuing their studies somewhere else and the premature parting still left a hole in our class of some sort. In October, I was left shock by Mr. Arthur Laronde’s premature death. He had great role in shaping and revising my essays; he’s a very sharp and kind-hearted teacher whom I highly respected. In December, my oldest paternal cousin got married in Ungaran. She was very beautiful and her wedding vow was just so touching… Whoa.

Overall, a very busy year. Around June, I wrote “Six months from now, I’ll smile remembering the hardwork of today.” I do smile now! 😀 It feels like everything I’ve wished for in High School has come real this year. As I look back, I realize that the awful 2008 truly helped to shape the amazing 2009. So, I guess we should always be thankful whether it’s awful or amazing…

Losing with grace

I’ve lost bad so many times in my life. I’ve been disqualified because of someone else’s mistake and cut unfairly by regional quota; I’ve done the most careless mistakes someone at my level could have done (forget to compile before submitting?). When aspiring TOKIers failed at the early stages and talked to me about the various reasons they blamed the failure on, I can always say that I have been through worse.

I always find that the hardest part of losing is to acknowledge it. It’s hard not to say ‘Yeah, I lose, because ____’ or ‘I actually could win, but ____’ or to blame various different aspects of the competition especially if you have a valid reason to say so. It’s hard to look at the winner in the eye and say that he deserved it, and it’s even harder to look in the mirror and say that I did suck. By the time I managed to do that, I put my regret behind me and vowed to myself that I should, and would be good enough that no unfairness nor small mistakes could touch or question my lead. I did make it happen 🙂

Hence, I have an uttermost respect to Ms. Halle Berry, the second actor/actress to show up in person to accept Golden Raspberry / Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Catwoman). She delivered a mockery of her own Academy Award acceptance speech, while acknowledging her mistakes and her will to do better. Class act!

“When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there’s no way you could be a good winner.” ~Halle Berry