Note: Actually Vlado asked me to write this piece before I arrived in Rome to attend ROMUN 2015. However, I think it's best to write this life-changing journey after I finished both the conferences and my university term to add some yummy flavour to the story!
(Nah, the truth is I was way too tired and, ehm, a bit lazy to write. Well, that was the past and here's the piece!)
The journey started from how I struggled in my fourth semester. I felt like I didn't know everything I was learning and added to the fact I was jobless. Without any logical reason, I lost my willingness to study hard at college. Perhaps the real reason of my sudden laziness was that I've seen my neighbors' grass were greener than mine. There were a lot of my fellow university students who have done so many great things like attending conferences and making achievement here and there, getting scholarships, started their own company, and so on.
I felt terribly useless, especially I was going to reach 20 on November 2015, leaving all the teen ages. I self-doubted my self. Which was never good for my health, both physically and mentally.
As I had a goal on escaping the reality a.k.a the college life, I tended to search for alternate reality a.k.a opportunities abroad on the mighty Internet. I typed a lot of keywords on google and twitter. I believe one of the keywords was "fully funded". Who knows that these simple two words would bring me to a website that would give me new sparks of life, MUNPlanet.
At one time, the search engine caught my eyes. They were blinded by the words "Fully Funded" and "Internship" at MUNPlanet.
"Good God!" I thought to myself. This is too good to be missed. I went straight to the web and read the details.
"Heck, two weeks in Serbia! Europe, baby! Voilà!" Without second thoughts, I applied for the opportunity. Next days after, MUNPlanet emailed me about the first task on the internship selection.
The first task was a bit easy for me, the social media task. I'm a regular user of social media, even my past jobs were always in the social media domain. That's why I could manage to do the first task and went through the second task quite easily.
It was on the second task I finally found the hardship. Turns out I chose the wrong dates of the online internship, since it took the same dates as my final exams. "Damn!"
I really couldn't concentrate on finishing the task since I kept on failing and not completing any of the work. Then it finally came to the worst part, I wanted to give up. I even emailed Vlado that I couldn't continue anymore. I supposed that the first part of 2015 would become a bad maturity phase on my life. There, so long, Serbia. So long, MUNPlanet.
Just when I thought Vlado would accept my "resignation", on the contrary, he encouraged me not to give up because he said I've been doing good. That simple e-mail moved me and I managed to finish task 2 and went to the interview phase. I was so nervous because it's been a while I got interviewed in English and I was also aware to the fact that my English was becoming rust.
I couldn't say that I succeeded the interview but I was doing not bad until I got the answer "Tell me your MUN experience." Gracious God, I never joined even one single MUN! I was once the photography and the "helper" staff at an MUN event but being a delegate? Never in my life has it crossed my mind.
I've got some friends who joined the MUN university club and we talked (gossiped) a lot about MUN. They told me that MUN was full of nepotism, ambitious kids, and backstabbing events. Truly the chit-chat session was only for fun but it somehow could encourage me not to plunge into the MUN world. Added by the facts that I didn't like the intense situation, I got ticklish by the ambitious delegates, wearing formal clothes were never my thing (t-shirt for the win), and the fee to join an MUN was so expensive like I could find a lot of great things to do, other than sitting through an MUN conference, with that expensive fee.
After I finished the interview, I was like... Let the universe do the rest, I've given my best. At the very least, I've done the interview. So, it was finally the time for me to focus on my final exams. Too bad it was not as easy as I thought. One of the materials was the social security system in France and it was certainly not an easy task to learn in a zip. Therefore, I once again let the universe do the rest and I had a not-so-good night sleep.
As the end of semester approach, the scores from each study were popping out and I knew all along that my grades were falling. However, I didn't expect that I almost failed on getting GPA 3. It was my worst semester ever. Thankfully, I could manage to get 21 credits out of 24 for the next semester so let the horrible past as it was. There has been a stereotype that my major, French Studies, is very common to be one of the hardest majors to gain good GPA in the faculty. Well, I just experienced that stereotype and it was not a pleasant one.
After having such terrible news, I tried to divert my attention to another activities. Such as holiday with my besties and looking for another youth opportunities. I was a bit devastated since I've never ever joined a youth conference or competitions in my life, even in national level, and added by the fact that I didn't do well on my academic world.
That's why I applied for lots of opportunities, especially the fully funded ones, and some video competitions since I liked making video either professionally or for fun. Turns out my video team won some of the competitions. We won two group projects and one personal project. It was very fun, but it was not enough to fill my urge.
As I played along and continued making new videos, the "horrific" emails from the program director kept coming to my inbox and they kept on giving me rejection e-mails. Even some didn't reply to me at all. And one of them came from MUNPlanet. I was on holiday with my dear fellas at when the MUNPlanet e-mail came.
"MUNPlanet emailed me," I said to one of my dear fellas, nervously. She peeked on my phone, saw the inbox. "I saw an attachment tag," she said. "It would probably be a good sign." I didn't respond. I wanted Serbia but I didn't want to keep my hopes high.
I opened the mail and I had to face the reality. MUNPlanet told me that I didn't get the internship programme. The attachment tag was actually the certificate of completion of my online internship. To tell you the truth, I kind of expected the rejection since I've never had any experience as a MUN delegate and I had struggles on my second task. But still, it hurt a bit.
Fortunately, when I saw the announcement I got my dear fellas around. When they know I failed, they tried to cheer me up since they know how eager I was on doing this task, such as promoted MUNPlanet so much on every social media I have.
"It's not the end of the world. Have fun!" they said.
Exactly, I should have fun. Failures are always happening. If there's winning, there's always failure. I should have courage. Especially I have them with me, yeah those supporting fellas. I shouldn't worry. I should be grateful because with all the failures, I can reflect with my weaknesses, right?
Perhaps my essay/motivation letter/cover letter wasn't good enough?
Perhaps my CV is not informative enough?
Perhaps the answers I provided wasn't compelling enough?
I finally reached the phase to self-criticize myself. A bit hard at first but as I tried, I felt really relieved.
As I reflected on my faults and weaknesses, there's an e-mail from Vlado telling us about the MUNPlanet Premium Membership. I was interested with this program, especially with the title "fully-funded".
I live in Indonesia, a country with many islands (you can imagine 17.000ish islands) and to reach each big city here is never an easy task and not always affordable. Imagine, to go from Jakarta (the capital) to Bali, it takes 2 hours by plane and from Jakarta to Jayapura it can take about 8 hours!
That's why fully funded
opportunities (that covers the flights too) are very compelling to most of us,
Indonesians (well who in the world doesn't like fully-funded opportunities, eh?).
Without any further thoughts, I told and explained to my father about this "investment", borrowed his paypal account, and paid for the programme. I expected a lot of informations from the programme but honestly I didn't put my high hopes, the truth is I never do.
Well, I have experienced lots of failure so lowering my expectation is not a bad option. Whenever there's an opportunity, I directly applied! Every single one of them 'til I couldn't mention the programme's names.
However this time, I made changes. I checked my cover letter thoroughly and took it more seriously. I've got nothing to lose. Sending e-mails never hurt any single penny on your wallets, eh?
As days passed by, still no any single reply came to my inbox. Once again, I believed that I didn't succeed my application.
"It's OK really," I said to myself.
Maybe 2015 is not going to be my year. Just have fun, Novia! Besides, I'm going to have a project with my fellow French Studies students, I'm going to be the head producer of a theatre project in my major. Maybe the Universe has conspired to give me some time to focus on that project. Who knows, eh?
However, July 7th, 2015 changed everything. I was eating in an all-you-can eat dimsum restaurant with two highschool friends. Lots of chit chat occured, since it's been a while we didn't meet. When my friends went to the toilet, I checked my e-mail and found a notification from MUNPlanet.
I got a message in my MUNPlanet account, it's from Ana. She told me that I won the scholarship from OstseeMUN 2015. At that time, I was like REALLY?! What is this? Some kind of miracles?
However, when I checked my inbox, I didn't get any e-mail from OstseeMUN. I only got the emails from MyMUN. Hold on, I'm going to check it again... What? MyMUN said my conference fee has been paid. Does it mean...? Wait, I haven't got the e-mail on the inbox. Ah yes, spam!
Then checking spam, I did. The e-mail, holy God, it's there, Saying that I won the only fully funded spot to OstseeMUN 2015. I was beyond happy at that time. It felt really unreal. I'm going to visit Germany and a bit of Denmark, baby!
I failed to get Serbia but at least I got Germany and Denmark. I was really surprised. As I got home, I told my parents about this happy news. They just simply congratulated me with straight face but I always knew that deep down, they were beyond happy.
I surfed the Internet to search the process on making Schengen visa via German Embassy. Almost all the articles I read said that getting Schengen visa via German Embassy in my country is very hard that a lot of people failed their Schengen visa. Not as easy as via French, Dutch, or any other Schengen area embassy. I was a bit trembling that I would fail my application.
I suspended my visa preparation and calmed my mind a bit. After all I was still on the half of my 3-month holiday. To spend some days and did a semi-religious tradition, my family and I went to my dad's hometown to meet our relatives in the goal to strengthen our big family bond. I, of course, left all my problems home to have fun with my lovely cousins. There, I occasionally checked my inbox until one day, I got an email from ROMUN. The email said that I could get the fully funded chance only if I paid US$100. Geez!
Rupiah, Indonesia's currency, was currently down, and it would be very expensive to pay for the US$100 fee. Therefore, goodbye ROMUN!
The next day, I got another email. And you know what? It was from ROMUN! It said that ROMUN and US Embassy in Italy had a cooperation to give a fully funded scholarship and the deadline was only the next day! I quickly wrote my cover letter, attached my CV, sent the application, and once again I didn't put any of my hopes high.
The next morning, I woke up to the truth that my ROMUN application has been successful. I didn't expect this, like I was in some kind of dream. I just won another fully funded opportunity! And this time I'm going to Italy, to Rome!
Another good thing was the dates for OstseeMUN 2015 and ROMUN 2015 were really close. I only got a week gap to advance from OstseeMUN 2015 to ROMUN 2015. I was a bit confused of whether going back to Indonesia that might take two days only for the round trip or just spend the days in Europe.
Of course the second thought intrigued me more, since I can enjoy Europe more. Though having 3 weeks straight in Europe means that I got to skipped class for three weeks and perhaps got to do a lot of makeup exams.
It was a bit heavy choice to make, since the 5th semester, as my seniors said, is the hardest semester ever in my major. The lessons were hard added to the fact that you're going to handle the new juniors and it was also a hard task.
However, I was really amazed by the opportunities. It felt like a miracle and it still does. I have learnt that endless efforts won't betray. The most important thing is to keep trying and always have courage, because you won't know how the results will take you. Believe in yourself, just do it, and keep trying!
Part 2 is on the way.