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?

The Liebster Award

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Two months ago, Sunny Irene from suncafes nominated my blog for the Liebster Award. I’m sorry it took me so long to response to it since I wasn’t really sure whether I’d love to do this kind post or not. But seeing all her questions intrigued me to give it a try. This is the very first award that my blog has ever been nominated for, so thank you very much for choosing me to be one of the nominees. Make sure to check her blog as soon as you’re done reading this post. Before writing this post, I did a little research about this award and stumbled upon The Global Aussie blog. According to it, the Liebster Awards is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers to give other blogs more exposure to the internet. I just knew that there’s a winner of it (they said the winning blog would win a prize too, hmm sounds interesting). The rules of this award are:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you;
  2. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator has asked you;
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers;
  4. Ask them 11 questions;
  5. Let them know that you have nominated them.

And here are my answers to her questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging? – I’ve been blogging on and off since high school, switching from one account to another, trying various platforms from blogspot to tumblr, and now to wordpress. But my current blog is my first blog that I take care quite seriously and it has been a year and three months, which is quite an accomplishment for me since my previous blogs only lasted for less than six months.
  2. What do you spend waaaay too much money on? – Foods (especially spicy chicken wings!!), makeups, and skincare. But mostly chicken wings because I’m hungry all the time and I eat like a horse.
  3. What is a fun fact about you? – It might sound stupid but I’m having difficulty in remembering routes and places. I wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t find my way back to the main road after going to my friend’s place –if it’s not located in the main road, even if I’ve visited it for more than three times. I can get a perfect GPA but I can’t be trusted to help you reach somewhere, unless you don’t mind to get lost with me. It can be pretty embarrassing sometimes. If anyone here have any tips for me please let me know.
  4. Where is a place you escape to? – Beach! Since my home is only 50 minutes away from the nearest beach.
  5. What is something you have been aiming to try or do but have not gotten around to it? – Learning to play drums! I hope I’m not old enough for this. As much as I love drummers (yeah I have drummer fettish), I’d love to be able to play it by myself –and meet the cool drummers as well! 😉
  6. Do you like your name? Why or why not? – Yes, I do. Very much. Despite the fact that million of people named Nadya as well. In Russian, it means hope. My friends believe that it has something to do with my bad habit that is giving false hope to some guys. And also, I love the definition of my name that I found on urbandictionary!kkkkkkk
  7. As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of? – Sinking into oblivion and leading a rootless existence.
  8. Do you have a favorite sports team? – Ummm no, I don’t. I don’t really like sports either.
  9. You wake up suddenly in the night. What sound would be the scariest to hear after you realize you are awake? – The sound of dog’s late night barking. Many dog owners said that dogs could sense the supernatural so it’s kind of scared to imagine what kind of creature that it saw. But again, dogs will start barking at things that they find unusual so it doesn’t always mean there is a ghost or something. But I’m still scared, though.
  10. What is your favorite type of cuisine? – Indonesian food ❤
  11. Give a title for the current chapter of you life. – Self discovery

Now that I’m done answering 11 questions, it’s my turn to nominate 11 other blogs. I know not everyone likes to do this so it’s ok if you choose not to take it. And the nominees are:

Here are my questions for you:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. How long have you been blogging and what has kept you going until now?
  3. Do you honestly read every post that you like?
  4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  5. What is one interesting fact about you?
  6. Do you want to be famous? Why or why not?
  7. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
  8. Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what?
  9. What’s your idea of a perfect date?
  10. What is your favorite way to relax?
  11. To what extent do you trust people?

I’m so sorry if any of you have been nominated before. Please let me know once you’ve answered my questions so I can check them out.

A Little Bit of Something that I Love: Postcards and Handwritten Letters

I’ve always been interested to send letters since I was a kid. The curiousity grew from seeing rubik sabahat pena (penpals) on Bobo, a kid’s magazine that my mother bought for me. But I had to wait until I was in junior high school to actually start sending letters. I don’t know about you but finding a new letter on the mailbox is like a nice little surprise for me. Nothing beats the thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a letter, written and addressed just for me.

I still remember when my dad’s friend sent a postcard from LA and I was so excited to read it and removed the stamp. I used to collect it, even though I wasn’t really a philately. To me, it’s quite saddening that years after that, letters carried by conventional postal service seemed to be left behind and replaced with modern technology like e-mail. Even nowadays, the post office staffs seem to find it weird every time I want to buy a stamp for my postcard, let alone seeing a fully decorated envelope that I use to send a letter to my penpal.

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Two years ago when I was hit by depression, I stayed away from some of my friends in real life and chose to engross myself in any activity –whatever that didn’t have anything to do with talking to my friends in real life– to keep my mind off the pain. So I started writing this blog, decorating my DIY planner, and writing letters and postcards again. Writing letters was and always will be very special to me for it always evokes pleasant feelings. And receiving a letter, especially a handwritten one, never fails to make me feel special in a way that I cannot explain. There’s something so personal and thoughtful about them. I mean, writing a letter takes time and shows effort that the sender makes in order to send them. What’s not to love about that? Where are these splendid treasures in the 21st century?

To find a penpal, I usually use penpalsnow and interpals. Or sometimes I just type “penpals” on Twitter’s explore tab to find much if not some tweets about people looking for penpals. I got a new penpal from Turkey by doing that trick. And for sending postcards, I signed myself up on postcrossing. If you haven’t heard it, postcrossing is a postcard exchange project that invites everyone to send and receive postcards from random places in the world. Real postcards with stamps on it! The idea is simple: for each postcard you send, you will receive one back from a random postcrosser from somewhere in the world. If this little information already sold you, the next thing you should do is to check out their website and sign yourself up. I’ve been a proud member of that community since January 2016. And I’ve received postcards from various countries, even from faraway countries whose name I’ve never heard before.

To me, the fun part of postcrossing is we don’t know who will send a postcard to us, so again it’s like a nice little surprise every time you find out that the postcard you’re reading apparently have travelled thousand miles away before it finally arrived at your mailbox. Last Christmas I received a lovely postcard from Belarus, which is 6,097 miles away from Indonesia. I never travelled that far in my life. Actually, I never really travelled to anywhere in my life. But through these letters and postcards, I can “meet” people whom I might not have the chance to meet in real life. I can meet someone with the same interest as me. I’m so grateful for every letters and postcards that I received for it has helped me to feel happy again. It’s so uplifting to support another and getting supported in return.

All of the pictures above were taken last year. Let me know if any of you are also a fan of postcrossing and snailmail! Maybe I can send you a postcard on your birthday 😉 ❤

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?