Virtual(ly Everything)

Ada yang berubah sejak kemarin. Karena seharian kemarin karena tidak enak badan, akhirnya aku memutuskan untuk tidur di rumah, dan hanya datang ke meeting secara virtual, alias online, atau daring.

Sebelumnya aku sudah terbiasa ikut rapat daring seperti ini, karena kebetulan advisorku seringkali berada di Singapura. Hanya saja rasanya aneh, ketika kemarin, secara tiba-tiba, kampusku memutuskan agar anak S1-nya tidak diperbolehkan kembali lagi setelah spring break yang harusnya berlangsung tanggal 23-27 Maret nanti. Semua mahasiswa S1 diharuskan untuk mengepak barang mereka, dan pulang ke tempat masing-masing.

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“The Dreaded Fourth-Year Slump”

“I waited until my Ph.D. committee had left the room to break down. I sank into a chair, head in hands, as my committee meeting form sat unsigned on the lectern. I had just failed my dissertation proposal defense—a poor start to my fourth year of grad school. My committee members had told me that my experiments were too small-scale, my ideas not deep enough. I realize now that they were pushing me because they believed in me. They told me as much. But in that moment, I could not hear anything positive. All I could hear was the voice in my head telling me that I’d failed.” -Katherine Still, taken from here.

Ada sesuatu yang dinamakan “fourth-year slump“, yang biasa terjadi pada mahasiswa S3 yang berada di tahun ke-4 mereka. Pada tahun ke-4 ini, mahasiswa S3 biasanya merasa, “The exit door is there, but why is it so hard to get there?

Suatu hari, aku membaca tulisan dari Katherine Still di atas. Lalu aku ketakutan sendiri.

Aku sendiri mengalaminya saat ini. Sekarang.

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Farewell

I always get a little nostalgic when it comes to the end of (academic) year. It is definitely really exciting to finish up classes and projects, as the day gets longer and warmer.

The past year has been hard, and I managed to pull it through. I know you don’t care about the little details of what I have gone through.

Thesis defenses, final project presentations, final exams, and graduations.

This year, I need to say goodbye to a very good friend of mine, who put up with me throughout the year, and comforted me whenever I needed it. The one who would save me a free boba from study break, put it in the fridge, and texted me, “I got you a free boba. Whenever you’re done on campus, feel free to drop by my room.” The one who would go to WholeFoods and buy me an extract black elderberry to improve my immunity system and make sure I take acetaminophen every 6 hours so my fever went down. The one who would accompany me when I was on bed rest, order a porridge delivery, buy me bananas (because that’s the only thing I could eat). The one who would spend at least 6 hours every week to go through machine learning problem sets with me and still say, “If you need help with your final project, let me know. I am sure you understand the math behind the algorithms, but I could lend you a hand on Python. It must be hard to take this class while relearning how to use Python.”

The one who would never think twice to say yes whenever I asked, “Do you wanna get dinner together outside? Or should we get a takeout and eat in my room?” although, the only thing I wanted was a company.

Congratulations on your graduation. It has been 7 years since I started MIT, and I always see people come and go. I have gone through farewell dinners countless times, and I never felt this bittersweet.

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Revolusi (Buku) Resep

Suatu hari, karena kesusahan menemukan resep ayam kecap spesifik yang kutemukan di internet sebelumnya dan berakhir sukses, akhirnya aku memutuskan, sudah saatnya aku punya buku resep pribadi. Sama seperti lab notebook yang kupunya untuk mencatat tetek bengek risetku, mengapa aku tidak punya ‘lab notebook’ sendiri untuk urusan masak-memasak?

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Lab notebook. Mengapa tidak membuat ‘kitchen notebook’?

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Kronologi Kruk

Halo! Perkenalkan lagi, namaku Titan, dan aku lumayan (baca: sangat) ceroboh. Inilah kumpulan 24 jam terakhir dari kejadian sprained ankle yang kualami. Pesan bijak yang kupelajari selama 24 jam terakhir adalah berikut ini:

  1. Kamu boleh mengkhawatirkan temanmu, tapi kamu juga harus mengkhawatirkan dirimu sendiri (baca: hati-hati).
  2. Jangan pernah sungkan meminta bantuan temanmu. Jangan pernah. Apalagi kalau kamu tinggal sendiri. Mereka tak akan keberatan.
  3. Dikasihani itu agak menyakitkan. Maksudku, empati itu kan hal normal soal perihal manusia. Tetapi dikasihani terus menerus juga nggak terlalu menyenangkan.
  4. Tapi jangan sampai karena takut dikasihani, kamu ‘terlalu keras’ dengan diri sendiri. Yang kembali lagi ke poin awal nomor 1: kamu harus khawatirkan dirimu sendiri. Put your-(safety)-self first before anybody else.

Berikut ini kejadian sehari terakhir. Spesial untuk bapak, ibu di rumah, serta kakak dan adik: Tolong jangan khawatir. Ini rentetan kejadiannya, jangan minta aku menceritakan lagi. Terima kasih.

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Untung aircast-nya warna hitam, jadi tidak begitu kelihatan.

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