When Your College Major is Being Looked Down Upon by Other People

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Final exam for 12th grade student is just around the corner. I can’t help but recollecting as much as memories of what I experienced in my last year of high school. Six years ago, I was a confused 12th grade student, not having any idea of what major that I’d choose in college. I used to say that I’d choose english literature just because english was one of the subjects that I was kind of doing good at, besides math. I hadn’t done enough research to get to know more of all majors available in my alma mater so my judgement was solely based on what subject that I was doing good at, not on what major that I was interested to learn more or to pursue a career in it. So I decided to gather as much as information of what major that my alma mater offered and discussed it with my dad. Long story short, I chose to study animal science.

When I thought my confusion was already cleared, some people came up with questions like “what are you going to do with that?” or worse, “why didn’t you chose a more popular major?”. I didn’t even bother to think of the answer though, but I knew what they meant when they asked me that. I mean, I’m not stupid enough to read between the lines. Is there anyone here who happened to experience the same thing, or am I just a little too sensitive?

When people knew that I studied in UGM, they’re like “wow that’s great!” but when they asked my major, they’re not as excited as they were before. It seems like there’s a general consensus that certain subjects at university are more respectable and often associated with smart students, and will yield a high salary upon graduation, which pretty much shows that a large portion of people who frequently asked me are much too focused on money and prestige. Well, it’s totally okay if high salary become your main factor in choosing your college major, I mean, in the end we try to earn money with our degree. But it’s never okay to look down upon other people’s major just because it’s less popular or not as prestigious as your major. Choosing a college major is not about choosing which one is more prestigious than the other. It’s about choosing what you have interest in and have a chance to develop yourself in it. Studying in college is not always about increasing knowledge. It’s also about sharpening your logical thinking.

Being a student of animal science, sometimes I can easily feel how some people look down upon my major because they think it’s not a difficult subject, or even why it really matters, and assuming that all I do is just raising cattle and feeding them. Well people always assume about everything the same way they assume that art and design students is just about painting nice picture or selling their paintings. But you know, that’s just one of many, many options. Like animal science, it’s not just about raising cattle and producing beef and milk. The source of fat and protein that we eat on daily basis are pretty much the products of animal science. Where do you think all the milk, eggs, cheese, steak, corned beef, sausage that you consume on your daily life come from?

I believe that every major has its own challenge and is equally important. That’s pretty insulting when people just look down upon other majors without really knowing about what others are learning. But unfortunately academic snobbery will always exist. Those who are quick to judge a subject that they have little to no understanding is a reflection of their own ignorance and close-mindedness.

Choosing a college major can be overwhelming especially when we’re already sold on the idea that the rest of our adult life is determined on that choice, but actually it’s not a life sentence. In fact, many graduates find jobs that have nothing to do with what they studied in college. You don’t only gain knowledge in college since you also developed your personal skill. In the end, why would you look down upon people’s degree or jobs when we’re all essensially just working to fulfill our needs and to pay our bills?

On Ableism and Things We Need to Stop Saying to People with Disability

Discrimination is still a problem that we face in modern society. And while we’re already familiar with racism, sexism, and religion discrimination, disabled people also have to face discrimination. Ableism is a form of dicrimination against disabled people, including the expression of hate for disabled people, and making the non-disabled people feeling superior to the disabled. It might not be much discussed like other kind of discriminations, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not happening out there. Some people, included me, sometimes don’t even realize that they’re being ableist because it’s been happening in our society for too long to the point where it’s considered normal. Do you remember how many times you’ve used the word “retarded” to call your friends who don’t have developmental disability, or use the word “deaf” to call your friends who don’t really have hearing problem? Well, that’s just one example.

When I was a kid, I was used to hearing some people, mostly kids in my surrounding using offensive words to mock my sister. They literally called her “hey, deaf” in a derogatory terms without a second thought, without even realizing how offensive it is. Maybe they’re too little to even understand it. Maybe their parents never taught them about that. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt my sister (even though I doubt that). Maybe our society tends to normalize the action. Hey they’re just kids, don’t be too sensitive, don’t take their words to your heart, bla bla bla.

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And now that I’m an adult, I thought I’d never have to deal with people who say offensive things to me about my sister. I don’t mind to share about my sister’s condition, especially to those who are close to me or going to be a part of my life, well you know what I mean. But there was one question that I found quite offensive coming from him when he asked me whether my sister’s disability was inherited by my family or not. He’s scared that our baby will have the same disability because it would be such an embarrassement for his parents. Wow that’s a pretty acid remarks. I honestly will never, ever, ever tolerate that kind of thinking. It’s okay if you don’t want to have disabled kids, but you should know that we can’t choose how our kids condition is gonna be like. Considering that having a disabled kids as such an embarrassent is actually an embarrassment itself. I can’t stand ableist. And once again, I CANNOT tolerate that.

Ableism is not always about using offensive words, it’s also about questioning why or how someone became disabled, as though you’re entitled to know what happened to them. It’s pretty much their own personal business and it’s completely up to them to share it or not. Well, it’s human nature to be curious about something that appears to be different than you, but it’s never okay to constantly ask them about that. Some people might like to share it with others, that’s okay. Some other might not feel comfortable to tell you what happened to them because it reminds them of traumatic events, and that’s okay too. 

My family choose to share what happened to my sister in the hope that it can give insight to others about what happened to her. My sister is deaf since she was a baby due to severe influenza that she had when she was only 2 days old. Apparently, it affected the nerves that facilitate hearing. Who would have thought that influenza can lead to a hearing loss? That’s why my family always like to share about our experience, just so people know that it’s not always about genetic, it can be due to illness, or traumatic events, and other factors.

Deaf is one of invisible disabilities. You won’t notice it unless there’s a communication between you two. My sister knows a lot of words and she can understand what she reads. She can read the menu and order her food so you don’t always have to explain what’s written unless she asks you. This is actually something that I learnt from her. There was time when I explained her something and she said “I know!” angrily. I used to assume that she didn’t know any complicated words. I assumed that she didn’t know about nowadays issue that’s happening in this country. Assuming that she isn’t capable of doing something by herself is just so wrong. And assuming that she’s amazing for being able to do something because she is a disabled person is considered as ableism too. “wow I can’t believe you can participate in a running competition, I mean you’re deaf, how would you know when to run?”. Ugh, seriously?

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Just like other parents who are proud with all the achievements of their children, I’m also proud to see how my sister now has grown into an active girl who loves dancing, sewing, and participating in running competition. My dad and I watched her performing dance for International Day of People with Disability last December on Prambanan Temple. We also supported her on running competition last week. After all, I want people to focus to see her –and any other disabled people– as a person rather than someone with a disability.

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Day 4: My Views on Religion

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If you asked me one of my biggest regret last month, that would be forgetting to cross this topic off the list and replace it with whatever less confusing than this. Honestly, this topic is something that I don’t feel comfortable to write about. I think I’m sweating a little. How am I supposed to start this with? Umm, ok, first of all, I’m a muslim, so this writing is pretty much based on my knowledge as a muslim, which is probably so little.

When I was a kid, maybe around four years old, I had no idea about religion. All I knew was I had to pray five times a day, go to mosque, read Quran, and do fasting on Ramadhan. Two of my childhood friends are dutch people. At that age I didn’t know the name of her religion except the fact that she had to go to church every Sunday and I had to wait for her to go back home so I could come over to her place to watch movie. At that time, I thought that being born to muslim parents was what made someone a muslim, or that someone’s religion was pretty much inherited from their parents because I was used to seeing people who shared the same religion as their parents.

As I grew older, I no longer see religion as something that’s inherited by our parents in our gene. I see it as a belief system where we have all the right to choose what we believe in or which path we want to follow, regardless of the religion of our parents. I saw people convert to muslim, and I saw my muslim friends convert to another religion. With all sort of upbringing that my family and teachers have given me, honestly I was quite shocked by the latter fact. But then I learned that we’re all, however, entitled to choose which religion to follow. Basically, religion gives people a set of guidelines to live by, so it’s pretty much up to them to choose which guidelines that they believe to be true. I can’t say that I support and justify what they did, but I highly respect their choices, and that won’t change the fact that they’re still my friends.

To me, when it comes to being friends, it doesn’t matter what religion they belong to as long as they’re a good person. I have friends who are agnostic and we still get along fine, in fact they’ve helped me a lot all this time. People should be and strive to be kind, because that’s the right thing to do, regardless of the religion they do or don’t belong to. Every religion basically teaches kindness and I’ve seen that since I was so little and knew so little about something named religion. But again, different people can have different interpretation of particular teaching in their religion and sometimes that’s what causes a problem. In Islam there are group of people who believe that saying ‘merry christmas’ to those who celebrate it is allowed for the sake of respecting them, but there are also those who believe that it’s not allowed to do so because it’s considered as believing another God besides Allah.

Sometimes I don’t understand how one teaching can be viewed or interpreted so differently even by those who belong to the same religion. I think muslim women know or at least have been told that wearing hijab to cover our aurah is a must and it doesn’t have anything to do with our behavior, and yet some people still have tons of excuses to not wear it. Some say that they’re not ready, that they’re still waiting for hidayah to come to them and knock their heart. Some say that it’s better to not wear it but have a good attitude rather than wearing it but still have a shit attitude. I think it’s just a matter of time. I’ve worn headscarf to school since junior high school but had to wait until 22 to finally wear it for good while constantly trying to improve myself.

If you know me in real life, I’ve never been a religious person. I have a problem with religious fanatics who shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, condemning everyone who doesn’t live by Islamic values, and only want to be friends with those who follow the same religion. Well, I haven’t fully lived by Islamic values. But I am trying to. One step at a time. I’m trying not to only follow the teachings that’s suited my way of thinking but then ignore the ones that are unreasonable according to my comprehension as a mere human being. After all, religion teaches kindness. And whatever your religion is, it’s supposed to make you a better person, isn’t it?

Day 1: Five Ways to Win My Heart

A few days ago I stumbled upon a blog post about 30-day writing challenge. I’ve seen this challenge multiple times before but I had to google it up again to see the full list of topic that should be written. I found some versions of this challenge, but overall they’re similar and essentially the same. I don’t know who started this but, man, 30 topics are way too much for this lazy ass to handle. I gotta cut down some topics and make it into one-third of the actual amount of it. Hello, this lazy ass right here is trying her best to participate. But to be honest though, it is a quite interesting challenge to join because besides practicing my writing skill, it also helps me to get to know myself more deeply. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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My heart is such a dark, spooky, and dangerous place that nobody should ever get closer, let alone winning it. And I don’t think there’s a certain way to win my heart. I’m actually easily amazed by something new and different, but it doesn’t count as winning because most of the times the amazement disappeared as quickly as it came. I believe that when it comes to winning my heart, it should be able to keep me amazed for a long time and most importantly makes me feel comfortable. So what I’m going to write down bellow is more like five ways to make me feel comfortable (and probably win my heart, eventually).

Leave me alone, give me the space that I need. If you’re a true believer of the quote “sometimes I push you away because I need you to pull me closer” please back off. Just because those girls before me used this trick doesn’t mean such quotes apply to every girl, especially to me. If I push you away, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, pull me closer. If I push you away it’s either I want to be alone or I can’t deal with your annoying ass anymore. Just give me the space that I need. I love the company of other people, don’t get me wrong, but I take a lot of time to recover from being around people as well. Someone who can respect my “me time” and understand how much I love solitude is definitely going to win my heart.

Be patient with my texting habit. I can be someone who sends text you frequently, reply to a text in a blink of the eye, and bombard you with tons of heart emojis, but it only happens for a few weeks until I finally feel tired of it. Maybe I just get bored easily. Or maybe I’m not the type to text someone all day everyday, no matter how much I like you or who you are to me. Go ask my boyfriend how often we text each other in a day. I just want someone who can pull off texting everyday and not texting at all in a day.

Be open-minded. It’s always nice to be around open-minded people, you know, those who are willing to listen, observe, understand, and try to see everything from different point of view. The ones who don’t easily judge and point at people, saying that their opinion is right or wrong. But it doesn’t mean that they always accept everything, though. They still have their own standard but chose not to impose anyone to live up to it. Even though we’re in a relationship and we believe that we’re soulmates, we’re still a different human beings with different way of thinking, and disagreements are inevitable and might happen. This is when your open-mindedness is pretty much needed.

Impress me with your knowledge. Looks fade; knowledge is forever. I’m attracted to people who knows a lot of things. It doesn’t always have to be about law, politic, physics or how this galaxy were formed, even though it’d be better if you could explain about that as well. It’s nice to talk to people who always have an answer to every weird and unimportant question I ask, or at least willing to think of the answer to my question instead of just saying “idk” “why did you even ask me that”.

Love french fries dipped in ice cream as much as I do. Well, this is the last one. It might sound weird for some people but believe me, many people out there have tried this since years ago. The combination of something sweet and something salty makes it taste SO good, please consider trying this or at least add it into your -100 things to do before you die- list. If you ask me out and take me to McDonald’s and you order this heaven-sent food there’s a huge chance I’m gonna say yes when you want to take me to McDonald’s again. Which means, a bigger chance to win my heart.

I think I left out a few things that probably were far more important but that’s all what I came up with for now.

I’m a Trash Texter

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Judging by the amount of time I spend to check my instagram, double-tapping on good photos on my timeline, and seeing almost every insta story of people that I follow (minus those accounts that I muted), I won’t be surprised if anyone thinks that I have a lot of spare time, that I’m on my phone all the time, that I always reply to messages immediately, that I always pick up every incoming calls, or that I’m only one text or call away when you need someone to talk to. Well, it’s partly right. Sometimes I do reply to a message in a blink of the eye. But please keep in mind that sometimes I also turn off my Line notification so I don’t know I receive a new message. Sometimes I have works to do so I can’t check my phone every two minutes. And sometimes I don’t even bother to reply to an incoming message that doesn’t need an immediate answer and choose to stall to the point where I forget to reply to it.

Additional information to make everything sounds more convincing and dramatic: sometimes  I don’t reply to my boyfriend’s message for a week or more. No, we’re not in a fight or anything, I still tag him on a meme. That’s purely me craving for my own personal space to breathe and for temporarily solitude. Even if you’re my boyfriend and I’m crazy about you, I still need space away from you.

Texting –and talking to people as well– can be so stressful sometimes, especially for someone who easily gets sidetracked doing other things. I often read a text, and then get distracted and forget to reply until a few hours later. If you consider that as a sign for how I am in other aspects of life, well, you’re right. My mind is constantly bouncing around. I know this behavior can cause problems. Some of my friends who don’t know me really well once thought that I ignored them. This mostly happens after seeing my last seen on whatsapp and seeing that grey check mark has changed into blue while they still left with no response, or after knowing that I liked a post on instagram. And to minimize the minunderstandings, I turned off the read receipt and last seen on my whatsapp. Gosh, I can’t believe I had to do that. Social media has unfortunately given us all sorts of reasons to be anxious about things that are probably non-issues. The reality is, you don’t have to respond to a text right away and we have a right to respond when we feel like it, right?

We tend to change a bit when we have a new partner. We try to adjust to their habits. One day, you find yourself binge-watch an entire season of Shameless because your boyfriend loves that serial (lol that’s my favorite, he’s into k-drama actually). You attempt to learn about basketball because your boyfriend happened to be a basketball player (even though I never really tried to get to know more of it as well, sorry babe). You try to reply to his text as fast as you can because he’ll double texts you, or bombard you with 20+ messages if you don’t respond within 5 minutes. You always pick up his phone calls every night to listen to his story even though you’re way too sleepy to function. To be very honest, I’ve never been that kind of person, especially the latter. I will be out of breath within the first week. Communicating continuously with someone is never my strongest suit. And constantly bugging me to reply to your texts isn’t endearing at all. It’s not going to magically transform me into a textpert, it’s just going to really really make me want to stop talking to you.

There are lots of people out there who are awesome at responding to messages in a timely manner. I’m simply not one of them. I’m a trash texter according to buzzfeed quiz that I took just now. But it’s not that I try to ignore people.  I’m just forgetful and lazy, when it comes to communicating. Sometimes I don’t know what to reply. I don’t know the answer and I need more time to think of it. Every best friend, beloved family member, boyfriend, and ex-boyfriend has seen my horrible texting habits firsthand, so you’re not the first to receive a few hours of silence after sending me a message. It’s really nothing personal; it’s just who I am, and whether you consider it a flaw or a virtue, it’s a part of me you’ll have to deal with if you want to be my friend. But if you really need me, I will try my best to respond to you as fast as possible.