Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Back to campus - Things to do in a new semester

The alarm sound wakes you up ( or in My case, My mum slapping my leg trying to get me up ), the cold shower freezes your skin, a dull breakfast because making a "proper" breakfast takes too long and its already time for you to leave your home. No this is not a sequence of me getting kicked out of the house, it is a sequence that I frequently experience each time I wake up for my morning classes. A new semester in Binus just started, meaning that the week long semester holiday that binus gave me just ran out and its time to go back to Senayan for another semester of "fun" learning. In this post, I will share some key things to do, that I believe is of the essentials (especially if you are binusian).

1. Do get to your first day early.

I made the mistake of not getting to binus early on my first day. I woke up early, had breakfast, and spent half an hour laying in bed watching adventure time on cartoon network. I was gonna take my motor bike like I used to, but since it was raining I had to take a car, I only had 30 minutes to get to class. Arteri road is jammed up because of the usual traffic, but since I am on a car and not on my trusty bike, I cant slip in between cars to get pass traffic. In the end I didnt make it to class because I'm sick of traffic and its already 6:45, class starts at 6:30. 

Do not, under any circumstances be late on your first day because it will ruin your overall mood. I got scolded by my family for not attending class because of traffic, it could be worse. Secondly, things dont always go according to plan, so being early can really save you time when the unthinkable happens. If you are still sleepy and class have not started, you can steal a wuick nap on the table, or find a nice place to cuddle up while your lecturer is on their way.

2. Check your exam scores.


You should always check your scores from the last semester as soon as the new semester starts. It is almost compulsary, because it gets your parents off your back by actually telling them your scores. If it is that bad and you dont want to tell your parents, at least YOU know your own scores. So your scores can be a motivation for you to study harder in the next semester or keep up your original study agenda.

Funny story, my exam grades are not out yet. During the last couple of days on my holiday, I checked lms (the online school site for grades, news, and schedules) for my grades. 3 subjects have already submitted their grades to my profile. Needless to say I pass, but today I checked back my scores to find them back to null except for my mid semester scores. Binus should really fixed up their posting system eh...

3. Check what class your on & your schedule.

Its the 2nd semester for me, so I cant pick my own classes because binus picks them for me. Each semester your class will usually change and some of your mates might be in a different class than you. So whats the point of checking what class your on? Well it would be silly if you walked in on a class with your past classmates and spend 2-3 hours hearing a lecture about a subject your not supposed to be on your study plan will it?.

Check your schedule timetable as well because they are subject to change each semester...

These 3 points are the ones I think are nescesarry to do when you start a new semester to avoid any mix ups and miscommunications with your driver, family, etc. I'm sure there are others like buy books, or bribe the school security, or any other things that you can do on a new semester.

What do you do when you go back to school or work? 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cikoneng Jilid III, a visit to sdn Cikoneng

The wonderful view along the dirt road
 In my years in academia, I've always been tasked by the teachers to conduct some sort of project according to the subject that they teach. About a month ago I went off with some of my classmates to do our social project for our character building scores. Two of the guys in my group Harits and Rasyid has an old contact that we can call and ask if he needs help. They have links to a school in Cikoneng which is in Mount Salak, the famous place known as "puncak" by local Jakarta citizens. The social project requires us to "do something to affect our self, as well as our community. The group Opted to "teach" at the Cikoneng Elementary school. It sounds like a marvelous plan to me too.

After weeks of planing and wrapping gifts, our group decided to go to Cikoneng on the 16th of January.... I Think, all i know is that I had Karina's birthday party after the trip to Cikoneng. We wanted to meet at the gas station beside campus at 7 a.m sharp. Unfortunately, I arrived at 7:30, Billy caught up to my car when the group was departing for Cikoneng, and one guy didn't even show. A great start to the day. Highway was a bit crowded as soon as we are near the exit to puncak, traffic was dense and the jockeys offering "alternate routes" up the mountain can be seen lining up outside the toll gate. And I thought they were the same like the 3-in-1 jockeys, they weren't, they were even serious. Because we were late departing from the gas station, the cars are already piling up the roads up the mountain. It was a Saturday ( so I didn't went to Cikoneng on the 16th ), hence the police were conducting 1 way traffic on some of the incline parts of the mountain roads which means my car had to wait about an hour for our turn to go up the mountain. Going up he mountain, I could see people paragliding and parachuting, soaring up with the mountain winds.

After we do arrive at the meeting point with Mr Rudy, I was told by Haritz to go talk to Mr Rudy. Apparently he wants us to pay a "toll" fee to go up the small mountain roads. I went into the "toll" post with Billy and talked with the nice man there, I tried asking for a free pass up to Cikoneng but I failed, so we decided to pay anyways or else our journey so far is worthless The roads up to Cikoneng were small, full of gravel and dirt, and well... small. So small that it looks almost like a one way road. Its amazing knowing that people actually live up here near the tea plantations, away from the hustle and rustle of the city. The remote-ness of this area actually has a positive side, which is that you feel relaxed and calm up here. No cars honking randomly, no smoke pollution, and obviously no cops pulling you over when you go through the transjakarta line.

Once the group and I arrived at Cikoneng, our butts were sore because of the road bumps andwe were relieved by the smiling faces of the children we were "supposed" to teach. Well teaching them some stuff was actually part of the original plan for our social project for character building. But since we did not bring any teaching materials with us, we opted to teach them one of the most important value that we believe every person in Indonesia needs to have, which is unity and togetherness. I know it isn't actually a subject, but hey at least its a positive value right?.

We make the children play team building and mind bending games, thanks to Alex and Haritz for masterminding games to pass the times. The final game was a check point based game where the children have to go through each checkpoint, having to fulfill a task to move on. I was in charge of the post where the children have to recite the pancasila. I happen to notice that some of the girls are lookers, I mean they are REALLY pretty. Unfortunately they are aged 6-10 which is a turn off for me. Not really, but its against the law for me to date kids that age. Anyways...

After we finished playing (read: teaching) the kids. We say our goodbyes and say our thanks to Mr Rudy for letting us have our way with the kids (boy, that came out wrong). We went back down the dirt road and onto the main road downhill. But since we were hungry we stopped by the infamous sate PSK. Sate PSK is a well known place because people going to puncak cant miss its advertising banner. PSK can mean two things; it can mean hookers, or sate per kilo. This case it was the 2nd meaning. Haritz ordered up some beef, mutton, and chicken sate for all of us. The lord came with us to eat at PSK. While we waited for the food, we played a card game that Alex brought. He brought some fancy card games, lots of them, we played saboteur. The lord was eager to learn and play saboteur although he has no idea how to play it. The food was okay, some of the meat was still a bit cold but we dont mind...

When we finally set off after eating our late lunch, we were already too late. Too late, as in the traffic back flow was already piling up. Everyone wanted to go back down to Jakarta. It couldnt get any worse right? wrong. Soon the rain was pouring down. Mountain rain and city rain is totally different. The heaviest city rain is child's play compared to mountain rain. Mountain rain is mental, it feels like it is actually raining bullets, not to mention the strong winds blowing the rains faster. I feel sorry for the sucker who is still paragliding up in this weather.
before the road
after the road
After an exhausting 5 hours on the road we finally made it back to Jakarta. I dropped of the guys in their destinations and I continued home to attend my sist's birthday bash. I asked some of the guys to join but they all declined, so I guess I'm on my own..

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Two-day improv traveling

Tuesday, 18th February 2014 


We've all known about that famous "things to do before you die" bucket list number #xxx, which is to go throw a dart on a globe / map and take the first flight headed there the next morning. I will now share my experience on undertaking that sort of task, although my trip was not impromptu and the place I went to is not some random god forsaken hell-hole in the middle of Africa ( believe me, there are a lot of beautiful places in Africa too like Egypt and South Africa). My place of destination is good old Singapore just north west of Jakarta.

A while back, my mum asked me, my dad, and Karin to come with her to Singapore because she has some "errands" to complete. Judging from past experiences, We all know what "errands" means. First, mum wants to go book a flight that same day and go home on the latest flight, but she does not want to go alone. So, she told me and my dad to free up some time later so we can all go together. Karin is starting her startup business so she was free anytime. I had finals and some debate schedules, and I decided that 17th and 18th of February was free because a competition was on the Saturday and Sunday before the 17th of February. I thought wrong, the competition was on the 16th and 17th of February ( sorry coach ).

After a brief encounter with Bipeds, I went to Singapore with the family yesterday morning at 5 in the morning. We almost missed our flight because immigration at terminal 3 was awful, it was like waiting for a flu shot at the communal clinic. I've never had a flu shot that I remember getting, maybe my parents knocked me out to save them the trouble? Anyways, I ran to the bus taking me to my airplane on the runway, guess those time spent on the treadmill was worth it because I managed to outrun my whole family even though they had a head start. 

After arriving in Singapore, We checked in, left our luggage, and Immediately did our "errands". I've been here a couple of times before, but it usually is a 3 day trip. This time it was a 2 day 1 night trip ( Dad says he is too tired if we gunned it in a day and go home later that night). Now, the difference with my usual visits here and a flash visit like now is the timing. On a 3 day visit, we usually have a lot of energy reserve to run errands around town, because we have ample rest and plenty of time the next 2 days. That luxury is cut out from us on flash visits like this time. On a flash visit, we go all out the first and second day running errands. Rest is only for sleep at night, no breaks to the hotel during the day. 

I am currently writing this in the airport terminal waiting for my flight back home. The time is 20:50 Singapore time. Guess how long I have been here? A long time, since 4 in the afternoon. We like to walk around Changi airport awhile every time we are going home. But I think that my mum has just hit an all time best right now cause I am beat, and so are Karin and my dad. But hey, it's a learning experience. Unfortunately, I won't be doing this again for a while...