Me: Graduating to Bigger Things!
Updated: Sep 5
Source: Personal photo
I spent 4 years in college. I learned a lot. I learned about depreciation methods, accounting theories, some PSAK, how bad I was at sports (futsal), a few things about auditing, and took some certifications. For me, the classroom teachings prepared me for exams. On reflection, though, I don't feel I learned much about life and how to make the most of it. I wasn't taught how to set goals, manage my emotions, or how to handle conflicts. I earned those soft skills outside the classroom, so I want to thank the following organizations for teaching me about goal-setting, time management, resolving conflicts, public speaking, making new friends, seeing the world from diverse perspectives, and above all, having self-confidence in me: @bemekuitas , UKM Taekwondo, @ekuitasenglish , ELCC, @himasiekuitas , DPM STIE Ekuitas, and to all Keluarga Mahasiswa (KM) STIE Ekuitas.
Source: Personal photo
Looking back, studying at STIE EKUITAS now seems like a whirlwind. My four years in Bandung were a mixture of valuable experiences; late nights knee-deep in books, mind-blowing conversations, and a love-hate relationship with rainy-windy Bandung weather. More importantly, it was a time where I gained a multitude of life lessons that have shaped me into the individual I am today. Among the mindsets I adopted from the experience, there were two that I never saw coming – yet they fundamentally changed the way I see the world and live my life.
“Independence” is a word one often hears from tales of studying in college. I used to understand it as mere self-sufficiency; having to do everything on your own – a survival reliant on your own skills and resources. Unsurprisingly, living as a student in Bandung compelled and pushed me to do just that. Among other experiences, I remembered falling exceptionally ill after coming back from Malaysia for a two-week student exchange program at the International College Selangor, and having to walk out to get food and medicine when I really should have been in bed. In my second year, I started enjoying doing extracurricular activities in various clubs and campus organizations: Himpunan Mahasiswa Akuntansi S1 (HIMASI) or Accounting Students Association, Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa (BEM) or Student Executive Board, and Dewan Perwakilan Mahasiswa (DPM) or Student Council. Joining those organizations added a whole new set of responsibilities that I hadn’t been exposed to. Other than the new skill sets I gained from everyday life, I found that I had to be self-sufficient in academics too. At STIE EKUITAS, most of the learning was to be done independently (some lecturers did not even show up in class, probably they were too lazy to teach us, hehe). Other than the centralized learning process, like I used to have in high school; in college, students received guidelines/reading lists every term and were left to do the studying on their own. When we had mid-term and final semester exams, the preparation and learning for most topics had to be a self-imposed and self-disciplined process. It was very easy to fall out of rhythm because you were the only person that can keep yourself on track.
But from the reading assignments, 'killer lecturers', 'laid-back lecturers', constantly looming deadlines, new survival habits, and extra responsibilities as 'campus activist', I realized that it wasn’t all about self-sufficiency. I did learn to survive on my own, but it was so much more than that. I also developed a stronger sense of self-ownership. It was more than having to do things on your own, but having to make decisions and having the consequences of your own actions directly accountable to you. It was about acknowledging the power of your own preferences and decisions. This might sound obvious for some people; but it was a revolutionary feeling for me, as my life before going to college was admittedly sheltered. Subang was a small comfortable nest where I was pampered with a close-knit community and strong familial support. The interconnectedness of my family and community made it a safe haven, but it sometimes meant that decision-making can end up a collective process instead of your own. Therefore, this new sense of accountability and familiarity with my own self was exhilarating and helped me tune out the noise and listen to the voice in my head.
Another thing I didn’t quite expect to gain was an overwhelmingly grounded mindset. I started my first year in Bandung knowing that I would have to struggle and adapt - I was just a student from a small city called Subang
(I think most of you do not even know where Subang is or whether it exists). I understood that the subject I had enrolled for, Accounting would be challenging because I took sciences in high school. So I thought I was not mentally and emotionally prepared for what was to come. As it turned out, the hurdle was not just in the difficulty of the subject, but in adjusting to an environment where everybody else is as (or even more) keen, intelligent, diligent, and resourceful as you are. I found out that mine was a learning environment where it was a struggle on its own to try and perform averagely. At first, I thought it would be a piece of cake to be 'the-best-of-the-best' - because I thought STIE EKUITAS students were not as smart as the other 'Big Names; UNPAD, Maranatha, Parahyangan, and so on and so on'. Stress and pressure were the norms for me. Spectacular academic performances were rare for most – because the standard was simply set at a whole new level. It quickly overwhelmed me, and fear crept into my mind that maybe I didn’t belong in a place with such vigorous minds. It troubled me for a while until I learned that at some point, most of my peers have felt the same way. Eventually, everyone simply adapted and learned to thrive in their own way. Through this process, I was reminded that success is a personal journey and you do not have to outshine anybody or compare yourself to anyone to achieve it. It made me feel lucky to have had the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with great minds, but humbled by the sheer fact that there are countless individuals that are always in some aspect, more. I was also struck by the realization that our world is unimaginably great. There are so many experiences and individuals that a person might never come across in his/her lifetime, thus there is never a justification for self-righteousness and arrogance. This is a mindset that now resonates deeply within me. That's why I feel blessed to have been part of HIMASI and DPM where I took on some great responsibilities as HIMASI's Vice President and DPM's President. Please refer to the tab "Leadership" for more.
Now that I have graduated, I look back at my memories with immense fondness. I will miss every bit of my life there, and just like I did in this blog – I will definitely reflect back on it from time to time. I hope that what I have shared here can inspire others to spread their wings and pursue experiences in college – not just from the knowledge that you may hope to absorb – but from the valuable mindsets that the journey has to offer.
Source: Personal photo
P.S. I graduated in July 2016, but my commencement was in October 2016.
Happy reading everyone!