Enjoying a present and serene life is like finding a needle in a haystack these days, when my activities reaches its peak during the second year of college. Never had I imagined myself being so active in the uni’s organization while maintaining my GPA. In the past, it had been Korean dramas, coffee latte, and occasional bustle. Now it’s switched to work, thinking, worrying, meeting people (online) and occasional Korean dramas. As I type this late-night reflection note, I realize how many things has changed around me that changed so many things in me.
Just to give you a quick warning sign, this post would be that unstructured writing mess you’d definitely find in your essay assignments during your early freshman year haha, so let me apologize in advance. (But to think of it, it’s funny that I made a better structured writing back in the post about my freshman experience).
So let’s start with my academic life. Previously I wrote that during the freshman year, I had a lofty expectation, or some sort of fantasy, of what university’s like. So when reality hits, it was easy to find flaws in every little thing around which often left me dissapointed. So does this perception change in the second year? No. It gets worse, honestly. In the third semester we got assigned to a lecturer who once just left the online class with no explanation whatsoever. I was in disbelief cause it felt like he did’nt care about his students and it happened again a couple of times later. I remember we were just left confused and had no idea what the *** he’s been teaching us till finals came. In the end of the day, me and my classmates can only laugh it off because we got an A for that spesific subject anyway (yes to free scores and being empty-headed!).
Speaking of college life update, you can’t leave out this Rona crazy mess that has changed the way we live. I visited Unpad a couple of days ago and it was as quite as desert. All classes moved online, students sent back to their home, and the businesses around uni collapsed cause they got costumers no more. This depressing episode of mankind history is something I’m still processing in my head till now. It feels like witnessing and surviving the second world war.
Nevertheless, this situation has been a huge challenge for both students and lecturers, especially when it comes to digital learning and technological disparity. I have a friend whose hometown is in the remote part of the country and don’t have the access to internet (and unfortunately, she dropped out of college not long ago). I also have a professor who don’t even know how to use Google Classroom, and barely present her Power Point on Zoom’s screen. When things get hectic, I can’t help but feeling nauseous from looking at screen all day long. All in all, it’s been a mixture of madness, confusion, irony and a little bit of ludicrousness in one bowl. Simply speaking, I’m pondering on how us, human beings are pushed to the limit and all we can do is to adapt and survive in these hard times.
Let’s stop talking about Rona cause it’s too much of a bad thing (I’m sure you’re so done with the news of how the cases are surging domestically and worldwide).
Anyway, the second year of college has set a new milestone for me in terms of being a leader in organizations. The first: I‘ve offered to lead a department that’s responsible for the orchestra’s musical development (the department itself is called ‘Music Development’) through managing all the practice routine and arrangement production. The second; I’ve chosen to be the general manager of the faculty’s international office’s intern; though it has less amount of workload than the former. Back then, this kind of responsibility was like a nightmare I would’ve run away from, intuitively. After all, leading people seemed scary, especially when you don’t really feel like a social person.
Strangely enough, I’m fine and healthy now. It turns out that being a leader is not rocket science, it’s just about thinking in a long-term and being used to multitask. The funny thing is that, being an INFJ, I have the ability to alter my personalities to match every occassion. So whenever I need to lead a department meeting, or to give a presentation, I’d act like a social butterfly, somewhat confident, and goofy person. And that sometimes scares some of my friends who only know my quiet and calm-self (honestly speaking, it scares me too).
The downsides: switching personalities is very draining, that’s why I love to take a long hibernation after doing an online meeting. Multitasking is also stressing me out because I have to make sure every single task is wrapped up as it’s supposed to be, in a spesific time. More often than not, I don’t know whether I make the right decisions; it’s always a constant doubt and being in two minds.
But speaking of uncertainity, studying political science is another level of not-knowing-what-you-know. If you ask me what exactly is political science, or simply, what is politics? I swear I can’t give you a clear-cut answer. The primary definition must be from that of Harold Lasswell, who defined politics as a competition about who gets what, when, and how (see, it’s a very broad and abstract explanation). Other scholars, Bernard Crick, offered a slighly different definition: Politics is a wide dispersal of power, an activity by which differing interests are conciliated to their importance to the welfare. Marxists, in a more radical approach, sees politics as ‘merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another’.
See? There’s soooo many alternative definitions of politics that shape different schools of political analysis. Imagine studying an academic subject that the most basic term itself is still in the middle of intellectual and ideological disagreement. It sounds cool, you know? But it’s confusing as heck.
This is apparently the issue that many of my classmates has been dealing with. We’re like “yeah, I know it, but I don’t know.” Finally I can understand what my seniors told me when I was a freshman: “One of the hardest things in studying political science is that it’s ngawang-ngawang.”
Finally to recap, this long post can be narrowed down to this notion: we have to enjoy the process of figuring out things, because that’s how life works. Eventually, no matter how long you live, you probably will never solve the riddle of whatever you’re dealing with. There’s always lessons to learn, things to keep or let go. I think what matter is to always curious and heedful to whatever life throws your way.