200 Weeks in Slipicon Valley

Life has kept me busy with its long kept-secret agenda. I’ve been meaning to write more but I’m a hardcore slacker so sue me. 

I am now inches away from finally getting divorced with formal education. I know I said that I was 95% done with it 15 months ago (why I started my nonprofit, Runcing, and a foodtruck, Rise and RIce) but I still owed the school a thesis and retake two classes I failed because taking many unexpected trips didn’t allow me to take exams. Blame it on nature for sending snowstorms my way and traffic for real 🙂

 

Prelude. And chronicles. 

 

I came to Batavia quite empty handed. My idea of the future was to study abroad in emuriccah or europe right out of high school for a foolish reason that they don’t have what I want to pursue academically here in this beautiful country. I did everything an ambitious high school student would to get in to the best schools in the world (you know which hehe) from prepping myself for standardised test, making money for application fees, getting selected to some international conferences, writing a hundred essays, yada yada yada. I just tried to fit in that profile they’re looking for. I failed due to some inevitable circumstances I’d rather not disclose here. However, a few nice offers from schools in the US and UK came to me. But with the void of full financial support, I wouldn’t have made it to survive as an international student in foreign lands for god knows hoe long. And I was also terrified with the incredible amount of debt waiting for me at the end had I proceeded with these partial scholarship offers. 

Long story short, I settled with a full ride offer from a decent college in Jakarta (for a semester only hehe) while still aiming at giving a better shot at the next admission term (coz I’m a virgo right?). Anyway, with the amount of money and energy I had to put through every admission process, let alone the fact I was coming from local public school, I got sick of even trying to compete with kids from places with better access to e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and it felt nearly impossible for me to nail a few things with whatever resources I had. So yea, after a while, I cancelled my dream of going west. 

Entering 2014, while waiting it out in Jakarta. In such vacuum phase, I put my focus into building a social enterprise, Buku Kami, and a reliable team of driven individuals. I had been able to keep myself busy and breathe with little money. At that time, I was literally on my knees (whatever you hear about not having a degree, I strongly advise against that 🙂 trust this veteran). These were the months I was a painful mess, and nearly parasitic. Didn’t have a clear idea of what might come next. To put in comparison, 90% of my friends departed, ascending into these high-paying jobs or getting masters. Out of nowhere. Someone sent me an email that I have submitted an application to some private schools. I took one of the offers taking a major that even surprised myself. 

So, back to school now. 

 

In the first months of school, my pent up energy had found its release in this Slipicon Valley. This new world of computer science. Classes I never knew existed and its complicated bunch. I just got excited again. I basically had everything planned out for how my four years were going to be. And when I heard a chance to study abroad (again) in different parts of the world, of course I’d fall for the trap. This time was different. I would have been studying in two countries within two consecutive semesters, in which I’d be exposed to two different languages and cultures. God at first it felt like I found a cure to heal this old wound. But blah blah…I had to cancel this plan again. Even after I got accepted. Forgot why, but I remember about risking another year of college if I had to retake all classes I would have taken in these two countries. I knew I’d fail because all classes would be delivered in German and Spanish (haha and I was thinking of a small town in North Germany and somewhere in South America). So hell no to injecting more money into the institution and putting myself through the nightmares of having to sit in classes ever again. Don’t get me wrong. I love learning new things, but people who fail to inspire you, should not teach anything in this world. 

While being stuck in the city I hate more than I love, found myself some ways to get my hands dirty outside my classroom walls, like being heavily involved in early-stage fintech startups before all the fuzz about a thousand new fintech names in the past two years. Then I wanted to start a new venture, not tech-focused, but somewhat supporting the ecosystem of it. Found myself partners. To the extent I wasn’t sure I could continue doing it. It got insanely exhausting while trying to divide my prime attention to making sure I was present at my classes on time. The fun I’d found outside my classes had to wait. Everytime an amazing opportunity came up, I had to pass. Just the way the school system functions did not work for someone like me and it had gotten in the way of many things I wanted to accomplish. And with it all, my appetite for going west faded away. This life full of fun challenges feels more than what I’d ever bargained for. 

What I seem to have obtained from schooling now at least knowing one or two things about coding and training machine to do things we want. I can relate to software-related conversations and sound like an insider (how cool is dat). But this journey draws into a close, I still have no idea what life has figured out about me. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to continue everything I’ve worked so very hard for from Tiang Space to Runcing Foundation with my undivided attention.

Thank you from the deepest part of my heart for each of you who took part along the process. Whatever you’ve brought to the table, even a dime of attention to my every rescue request 😉 

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