I have made a life-changing decision when I was studying in the best university in Indonesia. Being accepted in this top rank university was not without a struggle. I was having hard times going to different study group after school ends, 5 days a week, until 7 pm. Not to mention the 3 hours drive from school to my home at that time, as we were living on the outskirt of Jakarta, so I got home at around 9 on daily basis. I remembered the day I “compete” with hundreds of thousand students, trying my best to achieve the highest score to be eligible for student admittance. I also remembered the day I was accepted by the university. Me and my parents were literally chasing the newspaper guy to get the earliest morning paper as the result was always been announced through newspaper. I was so happy, I cried and didn’t stop mumbling to God on how grateful I am.
My life as a student in a high rank university was pretty normal. I skipped classes once in a while, hang out in the canteen instead of library, I failed some classes thinking that I can retake them anytime. I had my ups and downs in term of credit score. I had my 3.8 out of 4 as my highest credit score in a semester but I also had my 2.2. In total, my average score was around 2.8 – 3.0. Not bad, normal, and average was what best describes my life as a university student.
Then, one day I got a job and it changed my life forever. I was pushing myself to do both study and work at the same time. It was really a struggle for me as my lesson ends at 2pm and at the same time my work starts at 2pm. I started to skip afternoon classes to arrive to work earlier and although I tried to keep up with studying at work, it was clear to me that I enjoyed working more than being a student. So I decided to resign from the university. It was a dumb decision, if I think about it now, but hey, the past is the past.
So right after I chose to be focused on working, I encountered a lot of unpleasant experience. People started to judge me as someone who’s not worth paying attention to, even at work, no one were willing to listen to me because I didn’t have a degree. At that time, I was shocked and frustrated by how the society can just simply hold a long label against me; drop-out girl – stupid – don’t listen – she knows nothing – stay away. I didn’t understand how could someone judge a person by the degree they have accomplished. Does a degree makes a person more superior than those who have no degree? What gives you the right to underestimate anyone in the world? Why does a degree even considered as a prove of one’s existence? I honestly was so mad at the situation, I was so angry that I decided to try my hardest to prove them wrong, to prove every single person who have ever looked down on me, that I can do better, much better than them, degree holder.
I started to learn a lot of things. I drowned myself in various books, philosophy, classic literature, history, biology even quantum physics. I slept at 4 am everyday, intoxicated with excessive caffeine ( 4 to 5 glasses of coffee on daily basis) and was very determined to finish one book in 3 days. I digested all information I found on the internet, about software, computer hardware, current technology even politics. I took numerous online courses to keep up with God knows what. At this point, buying books made me feel comfortable, a feeling of “okay, now I have something to feed my brain with, I will not be as stupid as I was yesterday“. I felt like a complete failure, ashamed, worthless human being, a leftover of the society, all because I do not have a degree (thanks, society!)
Still to this day, I have never been satisfied with myself. Every morning before my work time starts, I read all the website listed on my bookmark bar, from left to right. This bookmark bar is manually reordered once in a week to make sure I receive all the knowledge I need. I push myself to read whitepaper, pdf, research and case studies downloaded to my phone, daily. My determination to learn does not stop here. I still signed up to different courses in Udemy, Ed-Ex and Coursera. I didn’t only took the courses that will keep me upfront in my work field, but also other subjects like economics even programming. I don’t believe in limitation of knowledge and I don’t believe in limiting myself in learning. I am furiously hungry for knowledge BUT I am also constantly in battle to prove myself that I am good enough and smart enough for me, myself and I. For most people, being a self motivated, self driven and high achiever is a good thing, for me it does do me good but it also have its bad side, as everything excessive does more harm than good.
Despite all the struggle I am facing, I do not regret the road that I took in the past. It was hard and bumpy hell of a ride, but I am sure that what lies at the end of this road, will be worth struggling for and perhaps, what makes a skillful driver is a long rocky bumpy road, right? Anyways, I am starting to enjoy proving people that they are wrong to have underestimated me, their look is just priceless *wink*