Dosen, ya?

“Sori ganggu, lagi ngajar ya?”

“Kok tidak libur, kan mahasiswa libur?”

Dua pertanyaan di atas adalah pertanyaan yang sering saya peroleh kalau sedang ngobrol dengan teman-teman yang tidak seprofesi. Tetangga-tetangga saya tuh, hobi banget bertanya seperti itu. Biasanya saya cuma senyum-senyum saja, malas menjelaskan scope kerjaan saya yang sebenarnya. Bisa pusing. Ibu saya sendiri sempat bengong juga kalau lagi lihat saya beres-beres mau berangkat ke daerah A, visit ke universitas X. Padahal ibu saya sudah “terlatih” hidup dengan bapak saya (yang juga dosen-turned-something-else) selama puluhan tahun.

Mungkin masyarakat kita memang terbiasa membentuk stereotype tentang profesi tertentu. Kalau guru/dosen, pasti cuma ngajar mahasiswa, kalau mahasiswa libur, ikut libur.

Ada sih, guru/dosen seperti itu. Tapi kami di Departemen Biologi yang tercinta, umumnya tidak.

So, jadi dosen, ngapain aja sih?

Wah, macem-macem. Ada yang jadi direktur LSM, jadi dekan :-), buka usaha budidaya anggrek, busana muslim… yes, we are a multi talented group! Saya sendiri? Sekarang sibuk ngurusin orang pinter 🙂

Tapi memang, tugas utama seorang dosen sih, tetap di pengajaran dan penelitian. Kalau mau ngaku dosen, ya harus ada ngajar nya. Penelitian pun, melibatkan mahasiswa. (and yes, I realize I haven’t been in the lab for a long time now). The transfer of knowledge is key.

So being a teacher is who we are, not just what we do.

So, the next time you call me, jangan langsung nanya “Lagi ngajar ya?” karena belum tentu sedang mengajar. Bisa saja saya lagi nongkrong di mall minum kopi, atau lagi…asyik blogging!

I wish I had more time to blog!

Tell them, show them NOW, because you never know…

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for awhile, but couldn’t find the moment to sit down and write. After a series of playful posts, and the momentum of Idul Fitri, I think it’s time to write about something a bit serious.

In my relatively short life (relative being the key word), I’ve already lost a good friend and came close to losing another friend last year.  Believe you me, both experiences made me stop and think about that line between living and… well, not living.

It’s such a thin and indistinct line. When my friend died 6 years ago, it was so sudden, I found out about it two days after she died (and was already buried). To say it was a shock was putting it mildly .  I took the task of informing other friends and all calls had prolonged silences. We were all speechless. She was a classmate and when your class only consists of 13 students, losing one means a lot.

Then a year ago, another friend went into the hospital for surgery and almost did not make it out of hospital. Not sure what happened post-op, but it appeared she got an infection and went into a coma. She was pregnant at time, and her baby didn’t survive. Doctors were already pessimistic, giving the ‘we’ve done all that we can’ speech and told those who were there (but oddly not the family) to just pray for the best. Well guess what, the power of prayer proved the doctors wrong. Call it what you want: hand of God, takdir, divine intervention, but Subhanallah, she slowly came out of the coma and recovered, completely. Today she’s up and about, working normally, not showing any signs that she wasthisclose to death last year. You can read more about her experience here.

This brings me to my point of the post. When someone close to you dies, and you no longer can communicate with them, you are often filled with regret. I felt that six years ago. Even though we already were living different lives, but I regretted not talking to her more often. All I needed to do was pick up the phone and I didn’t do it. Then she died and when I realize I couldn’t call her again, it left a hole in my heart.

Last year, that almost happened. During the dark days of waiting in front of the ICU, between praying and texting friends, seeking comfort, I felt a deep sense of regret of not meeting her before she went into the hospital. We usually meet up for coffee and gossip every one-two months, and we were scheduled to meet before she went into the hospital but couldn’t match schedules. So when I found out she was in the ICU, one of the things that came to my mind was “why didn’t we get together before this? What if I don’t see her again?” You know, the usual cliches…

So friends, readers, if you don’t want to regret it, tell your closest and dearest to you how much they mean to you. If you can’t verbalize (I sometimes have trouble), then show them in your own unique way. Do it now, don’t delay, because you never know when the time comes for us to be separated by the inevitable.

You just never know.

A Hollow Victory

Today I did something I’ve always wanted to do since becoming an academic coordinator at my department.

I told a student that he/she could no longer continue as a student at the Department because of unacceptable behaviour. I’ve been imagining this moment for a long time, and I thought I would feel satisfied after I did it.

That feeling didn’t come.

Instead, there was a sick feeling in my stomach. How would you feel after you killed someone’s dream of becoming a university graduate? How would you feel after you say, ‘you’re fired’? (How does Donald Trump do it?)

Was it justified?

The kid has never showed goodwill for attending school, just barely passing his/her courses, chronically late for class, added and dropped courses with several hundred excuses, practically forced his/her supervisors to supervise his project and then did not put in enough effort to work on the project. Oh yeah, definitely justified.

Then why don’t I feel good? Where’s that feeling of satisfaction that should be running through me right now?

I know I’ve done the right thing. I just know it. What he/she did was inexcusable. It’s not fair to all the other students who have worked their butts off for 1,2 semesters doing their final projects.

So why don’t I feel I did something good?

Note: Gender is ambiguous to protect parties involved.

Six Degrees of Separation, or why I finally joined Friendster

I finally joined Friendster.

[OK Perry, stop laughing now]

So why did I finally do it?

You know, I don’t really know. To be honest, I was at a meeting, it was a bit boring, and I was browsing on the ‘net using the wireless network at the meeting.

Oh, wait. The question should be is “What is Friendster?”

Friendster is a social-networking site. I believe it was developed in the US. Check out the FAQ at Friendster. But inexplicably (at least to me), it exploded outside USA, and found a following in Indonesia, especially in the 18-35 age group. I have to check for members > 40 🙂

While I originally scoffed at Friendster, the growing popularity of the site was intriguing. Plus, I am a believer in the idea of “Six Degrees of Separation” (and yes, I found the “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” game very entertaining). And my “gang” at the office have all become members, so I thought, what the hey, let’s join the crowd.

What have I found so far? Not much in terms of any long lost elementary school friends. Maybe my age group has passed the friendster phase. Another theory that I have is that by the time Friendster came along, we were busy with our lives, with little time for computers. The husbands provided computers for the children, not the wives so sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews were the ones using Friendster.

Well, let’s see.

My Ramadhan Resolution

Marhaban ya Ramadhan

OK, so I planned to post this at the beginning of Ramadhan but internet connections have been sloooow this past week.

Ramadhan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. I’m sure most of you know that we perform fasting during this month. We’re now 9 days into Ramadhan so almost finishing the first 10 days. For those not familiar with Ramadhan, the month is generally divided into 3 sections of 10 days, each 10 days having its own meaning. The first 10 days is I believe to be “rahmah” where everything we do is blessed. It’s the “easiest” 10 days. The second 10 days is “barokah”, a step up from “rahmah”. The section that people are aiming for is the last 10 days, called “maghfirah” where it contains the Lailatul Qadar night, which means “Night of 1000 moons”. It is mentioned in the Qur’an that whoever achieves the Lailatul Qadar will be absolved from their sins and guaranteed a path to heaven… a wonderful thing indeed but here’s the thing… They don’t actually tell you WHEN exactly is Lailatul Qadar so you better be on your best behavior during that last 10 days.

Three guesses to what I’m looking for, and the first two don’t count.

To be honest the past few Ramadhans for me have been spiritually less than satisfactory because I have reaaally busy with “worldly work”. This year I promise to be better at grasping the true meaning of Ramadhan which not merely controlling hunger, thirst, & other desires or emotions during the day but Ramadhan is when you strengthen your faith, taking one step further in becoming a better human being, because what’s more important is that you feel the transformation even after Ramadhan is over…

Have a blessed Ramadhan everyone!