Monday, January 13, 2014

Beyond My 8th Indonesia Mengglobal Post

Something has been bothering me, enough for me to write about it. Though, on the surface, it may seem to you that I have a low enough threshold of pain when it comes to choosing topics for my blog, I can assure you that certain issues have lingered in my mind for more than a year or two. Regrettably, as some writers may know, words often come in waves. Sometimes, it is as easy as counting one, two, three, other times much like waiting for a new cake recipe to bake, it is an experiment. Funnily enough, at the end of the day, when you are too tired to even function you find the perfect beginning to the perfect topic that you have always waited to write about. Or, better yet, you find the perfect medium to bring up the conversation. 

The Screen Shot of my 8th IM Post

Life is full of decisions, they say. Be it choosing 2% milk over regular milk, or choosing to move to the other side of the globe to attend some obscure school, where letter grades are obsolete. Add pressure and judgment into the mix and suddenly it becomes superbly easy to fall into the cracks and lower the volume on our own intuitions. 

In retrospect, as a sixteen year old, I had enough knowledge, understanding, and confidence to make my own grand decision. More importantly, I had enough leverage to factor in the possibility of a mistake or two. Nevertheless, at such a young age, I experienced episodes of uncertainty, especially when placed under societal pressure. On the one hand, I was taught to ignore other people's opinions. Yes, with enough experience, I had learned that what others thought of me would influence my future. For instance, a strong alumni group could determine whether one could successfully transition from the U.S. back to Jakarta. Generally, graduating from an Ivy League would lead to more opportunities than graduating from a small liberal arts college.

Fortunately, I was not burdened by these thoughts when I applied, chose my school and finally arrived on campus. Sarah Lawrence College felt and will always feel like a perfect match. Yes, sometimes I felt guilty for hoping that the campus was located in a sunnier, tropical setting, but I doubt I'd be able to write as vigorously and delve into so many interesting topics, if the beach was just a few miles away from my dorm. As I have written previously, regrets don't belong at SLC. Despite, being utterly confident in my choice to attend SLC, I began to feel something away at my certainty. One close family friend compared my college with Brown University, which had been my early decision school. Another, asked what it meant to go to a liberal arts college. Many, discounted my achievements just because they had minimal knowledge of the SLC, its principles and our curriculum.

These thoughts have definitely fed on my confidence for the past few months, prior to writing this piece for IM. For about two years, I have been thinking about how other people's perception of my education would influence my future. For half of my life, I have always pondered on how other people's perception regarding our decision shape us. In retrospect, other people's views about our decisions, be it small or large, are capable of engulfing our belief in ourselves. Sometimes, as hard as it is to say, we have to accept that this world is all about relationships and connections and judgments.

At the end of the day, you have no one to please but yourself. Of course, this is a mountain, especially when you intuitively go against the grain. And of course, garnering sufficient self-confidence is no small feat. But, at the end of the day, we are stuck with our own choices. If you opt for the norm then you better take pride in your decision, same goes if you deviate from it.

Yes, I agree that this is an open-ended article that only scratches the surface. However, I think that it's a worthwhile conversation to have because in just a couple of seconds we'll be making choices that will probably be judged upon.

Please check out my latest IM post:

*Writer owns rights to the photo above

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