Browsed my hard disk and found an unpublished blog entry from 2007. Re-reading it, somehow I felt it’s funny. A version of me in 2007, talking to you people in the future… Here’s the entry, deserving a proper publication.


After September

Why do I have to count events after September?
Let me see… I guess because September 10th 2007 was my birthday… and the 25th was the day of my thesis exam. Simply chosen for personal reasons =) But this will be a pretty long post, so be prepared…

So. Anyway. After the exam, instead of working on my revisions, I took some leisure time, heheh. Oooh it was good to feel (a lil bit) free after the pressures of the exam, you know.

And then came the Lebaran, the first one I had in Jogja in fact. My maternal family (from Mom’s side) decided to gather in Jogja – on the contrary of the usual Bandung gatherings. So I had the most colorful Lebaran ever, since most of them stayed in my house. Full house to the full extent, oh yeah. It was great and tiring at the same time. Moreover, we still had to go back to Bandung for my paternal family’s gathering. I don’t mind though, because it was the last Lebaran when I still could get some angpaus, hehe. Only children and students can get them, and it was my last Lebaran as a student…

However, once back in Jogja, I had to speed up my revisions. So there went more interviews and visits to SMA 3. Some typing frenzies at home. Chasing my exam lecturers to get their approval signatures on my revisions (Syafrizal asked me to revise it again, damn). And fulfilling the cursed prerequirements for graduation (I had to pay the graduation fee, and then went to libraries – some of which I never even visited before, let alone being their members – to get letters declaring that I had no unfulfilled obligations, etc, etc).

In the meanwhile, I started to apply some positions advertised in the weekend Kompas newspapers. I applied even before the revision done, meaning that the thesis grade hadn’t come out, so I couldn’t get the Surat Keterangan Lulus (ooh what’s that in English?). I applied for Femina but I didn’t get any response. I applied for a reporter position in an anonymous media (the ad didn’t say what the media was) and got my first call for test.

So I went to Jakarta for my first job test. I heard that the mysterious media was… Berita Nusantara. Rumours said that Bernus (hehe I abbreviated it wildly) was a brand new daily newspaper found by the retired seniors of Sinar Harapan. The test was a psychotest at the LPT UI. I had the second shift, started around 10 a.m., and there were about a hundred testees. Along with the first shift, there were 200 people tested that day.

The funny thing was that we had our hand stamped “SIANG” (for the second shift testees, so I guess the first shift ones get “PAGI” on theirs), not unlike when we went to Dunia Fantasi, heheh. We had to use 2B pencils on the answer sheets, just like SPMB and UAN years ago. Damn I hate to fill those miniscule circles, they were backbreaking and time consuming for sure.

After the test I went window-shopping at Pasaraya Blok M. Suddenly my cellphone rang and there was someone called herself Alin from VOA asking me to have a phone interview. I was like, “WHAT?” Because I was in a crowded place and had even forgotten that I applied for PPIA-VOA Fellowship (I sent it back in July 2007). So I tucked myself in a corner (it was still crowded), I couldn’t really hear what the interviewer (Barbara Johnson?) said and answered her questions haphazardly.

The day after, VOA called again, saying that I passed the phone interview. Miss Alin told me to fax my TOEFL Score Sheet. I hadn’t taken any real (institutional/international) TOEFL before, so when I went back to Jogja, I took an ITP TOEFL at CILACS. As requested, I faxed the score sheet to VOA. Later I found out that during that week, VOA interviewed my references.

me, on graduation, looking forwardThen came the graduation day…

One day Miss Alin called me again, telling me that I was one of the ten finalists for the fellowship. She invited me to Jakarta for the final test and interview. Coincidentally, I also got a call from Nielsen to attend a written test for the Junior Research Assistant position. I asked Ms. Alin to arrange an earlier flight from Jogja to Jakarta (I didn’t say the reason, though, hehehe).

All things set, I came to Jakarta to test my luck. The Nielsen test was full of numbers, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the position actually – if I passed it anyway.

At VOA, I found that Ms. Alin was actually my senior in campus! Hwahahaha… I was kinda shocked when I met her. I mean, I always thought that the VOA person who called and arranged everything was an ibu-ibu, an older, more mature female, heheheh. It turned out to be that Mbak Alin was the one who also contacted Mas Budi Ir and Zaki – my references – to do the background check.

I stayed for two nights at the Formule 1 Hotel, with Fauziah Erwin of Metro TV as my roommate. She was a wonderfully smart and fun person, I’m glad to know her even if only for a while. I found that all the other 9 competitors in the last round of VOA selection were great, employed, young people. At least, there were reporters of Metro TV, announcer of Hard Rock FM, ex-stringer of BBC, journalist of Gatra, and a lecturer of University of Airlangga. I was the only fresh graduate. And unemployed.

The test started with translating two pieces of English news into Indonesian ones. But the hard part was the interview. There were the VOA Director from Washington, the Head of VOA Indonesia, plus two representatives of PPIA. Unfortunately I found myself blabbering out of focus, and damn, my English was terrible!

I wasn’t surprised when I knew I didn’t get the fellowship. They got it, and they surely deserved it.

Back in Jogja, I started to sending away application once again…

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