It has been some time since I managed to write anything here, and much have changed since my last writing. I am currently 11.237 km away from the capital city of Indonesia, leaving with 29 other housemates, in Groningen, The Netherlands. In a short period of time, I went from the girl who’s stuck in quarantine for months, to officially a university student!
Back in quarantine, I made a final decision with my family that I would still study abroad even though the pandemic is still going on and the teachings are mostly hybrid. This is such a privilege I know not many can afford, knowing some of my friends still have to stay back home and attend their classes fully online, adjusting to the big gap of timezone, I can already stay here, make friends, comfortably studying according to the ideal timing.
For the longest time, I know in the back of my mind I would go and study abroad for university. I have several majors I wanted to pursue over the years, ranging from Journalism, History, Politics, International Relations, to Communication, Psychology, Marketing, and Commerce. Reasonings behind these vary every year, depending on my hobby around that time, my friends, the comments from parents and other family members.
Growing up, I wanted to study subjects that sparks my interest the most. I like writing, therefore I’ll take journalism. Then I started becoming interested with politics, and I wanted to take International Relations and Politics. I then realised most of my friends come to me for advices, and that I like giving them, and I started thinking about taking psychology.
It’s simple, and I never thought much about anything else. But as soon as I got to high school, and learned how much money it needed for you to achieve comfortable life, and how much it actually matters. I begin making money as my main orientation, shifting more to what is considered as potential majors with wider job opportunities: communication, marketing, commerce. Then I begin choosing what I study now: International Business.
To a certain extend, I was thinking about it back and forth. I want to pursue subjects I actually like, but I at that time it felt like, with who I am (my race, my family background, how I was raised, etc) it would be hard for me to follow my idealism and studied what I studied. What am I going to be? What if I can’t work anywhere? What about support from families? What if I regret it?
And so I settled with the major I have know. I concluded the war in my head with the mantra: I’ll study IB, become rich, and then I’ll have more power to finally pursue what I love. I can always take Masters or crash courses. It will be fine. I then applied to numerous schools, wrote essays in between classes, went to my English teachers multiple times to get their revisions and letter of reference. Within months, I dived deep and focus more on the procedure of my application rather than really thinking about my major. Maybe when I don’t think about it too much, then I’ll see why its the best choice for me.
And I did not think about it. For the last months of high school, I was just focusing on getting accepted and graduating.
But the pandemic, the months of just staying in your room doing almost nothing, made a drastic change in me. There were moments I doubt my major, thinking whether I should just take a gap year and apply for other major. But I realised its not the time to doubt everything I’ve worked hard for, and it’s not the time to bail. So I took the chance, pack my baggages, and left.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Business. I am enjoying all my classes.
But the pandemic, the time I spent reading on politics, history, sociology, on community development, empowerment, humanities, journalism, made me learned that deep inside I’ll always have my calling for it. I think: this is my calling. This is what I would want to fight for.
But do I regret taking International Business (and further help spin the wheel of capitalism lol)?? No. I do like it. I found numerous ways to connect it to the subjects I like, to the subjects I am passionate about. I learned to see every readings, essay, assignments, as an opportunity for me to see International Business from different perspectives: on labor welfare, on the environmental impact, on the protection of human rights, on sustainable development.
I learned about development and the importance of it: building network, making businesses and profit, providing the right infrastructure, creating a sustainable work place.
But I also learned how equally important empowerment is, which most of us often forget: training labors and low skilled workers to motivates them to create their own businesses, promoting and embracing local wisdom, ensure the wellbeing of women and kids, the importance of adapting to customs and culture (not appropriating them).
And I realised how much we have been always told to be successful and that we have to work hard for it to be deserving of it, but we don’t talk enough about how the power you then have should also be utilise to empower others. I was guilty for how much I used to think that I am naturally born smart, when I was just lucky that I am born to the right family, have the privilege to get the best education, and to potentially work at the best companies. Through this major, I found what I want to do in life: I want to empower. I want to help reduce the inequality that is caused by this very system we are living in.
And I know this might sound like a huge hypocrisy and pretend, but I genuinely feel that my life would be meaningless if I was only focused on my own goals: my prestige, my wealth, my bright future. On the other hand, I felt indescribable happiness whenever I though about all the potentials I could bring back home as soon as I graduated.
That’s how much a pandemic and a whole mess of studying abroad and living alone for the past (almost) 2 months got me: thinking about my purpose, my life actions, and what I would want to contribute to in life. From barely having time to think about what I actually want and not what people expect from me because of high school, to finally having all the time in the world to decide, for and with myself:
This is my life, and whatever other have comments on, this is my life. I am the one in control.
IDK how to end this and in what way, but here’s what I have in mind now. It might be a small, nearly impossible dream right now, but to see myself go from someone who spent their times fulfilling others’ expectations and dreams on me, it’s nice to finally have the answer to: what do you ACTUALLY want to do in life?
To make impact. To empower people.
I hope you find yours soon.