0

About being too hard on myself

I was reading this post about being too hard on yourself that I was inspired to write about it too. (I was actually thinking of commenting on the original post, but since I was afraid that it would be too long for a comment I decided to dedicate own blog post 😛

I am not a stranger to being too hard on myself. When I was writing my master’s thesis, I remembered that I could not answer ONE QUESTION for my half-time seminar and I instantly felt like the most stupid person in the world. I bugged my supervisor afterwards, trying to find the answer, but instead, I saw a part of me that I had never seen before (or that I refused to see before).

He pointed out to me that I was a perfectionist, that I had a high standard. I was about to disagree because if you looked at my house, it was a total mess and did not reflect me being a perfectionist at all. But he was right when he said I had a high standard (read: ambitious). Especially when it came to education. I could not accept anything below excellent in my assignments/studies (which made it difficult for me, sometimes, well… oftentimes…). So when it came to this half-time seminar (he drew a vertical line) it was as if my standard was the top of this line, but I fell short of that top and it made me immediately felt stupid – although I was actually still pretty high above. I realised that I indeed had that kind of worldview to myself, that anything less than the top was considered worthless.

Strangely, I did not have the same worldview to others. As reflected by this conversation between me and one of the school nurse/psychologist,

’What would you do if your friends made mistakes?’ she asked.

‘I would forgive them,’ I said.

‘Then why don’t you do the same things to yourself?’

Ah, indeed we are the biggest critics of ourselves.

I personally don’t think that being perfectionist/ambitious is wrong. But sometimes, it blinded me from feeling compassionate towards myself, especially when I failed to reach the standard I set for myself. And that’s probably something I should continue working on for the sake of my own sanity (and perhaps others’ around me, too)…

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Late spring/early summer at KI

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2

How I obtained the PhD student residence permit

I have always been a fan of Swedish efficiency in terms of public service. Coming from where I came from, it certainly is a huge improvement. It is, of course, not perfect. I heard stories of hiccups here and there, but never have I thought that I would experience such hiccups myself. I am talking here about the process of getting a Ph.D. student residence permit.

The indication came far before I was officially admitted as a Ph.D. student, actually. During the preparation for my admission, I was browsing some KI pages about the residence permit for doctoral students, and I stumbled upon a page called ‘New rules for change of status’. “What is this?” I wondered. I read on and suddenly panic washed over me.

Apparently there were some changes in the Swedish Migration Agency’s practice regarding the procedure of obtaining a residence permit for PhD student. In Sweden, and especially at KI, as I told previously, once you got a PhD position, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are enrolled as a PhD student, because you have to go through a certain admission process beforehand. For international students, usually, they could come first using visiting researcher visa during such preparation time, and apply for PhD student permit once they are admitted. They could keep on working while waiting for such permit. With the new rules, you could not be in Sweden when the Migration Agency make a decision regarding your permit, which means that somehow, somewhere during your PhD, you will have to leave your work, go abroad, and not coming back until you make sure that your permit has been granted. The thing is, and based on my experience, it could be hard to estimate when you will get the decision for the permit, i.e. whether or not your permit is approved. So, it would be hard to plan in advance when, for how long, and where you have to travel. And also, depending on whether or not you still have a valid visa at the time of application, you might either have to go back to your home country, and wait for the permit there, or you could just simply travel within Europe/Schengen where your visa is accepted. Either way, you will have to send a proof to the migration officer that you are not in Sweden, i.e. a picture in front of a landmark, with the day’s newspaper to show them the date.

I was trying to find more information regarding this new practice in the Swedish Migration Agency website. None. Nada. And I searched both Swedish and English website, mind you. So the only source of information was this KI webpage. It was very frustrating because part of me did not want to believe that such complications exist, but another part of me was worried, like “What if it were true? How should I go through that?” I also tried to communicate this with my supervisors but they were as clueless as I was. At that point, I also had another kind of worry, like,

”What if they regret employing me, an immigrant, because of this complications?”

I tried to ask around, to find more clues about this new practice. I sent an e-mail to another friend whom I knew also recently got a PhD position. I sent another e-mail to the contact person at the KI webpage. I talked to the HR (human resources) and discussing the options. At that point, I had an employment contract until December 2017 and valid visiting researcher visa until that point of time. But my admission seminar would be held in the beginning of December and we were not sure when I would be officially admitted as a PhD. It might take 1-2 weeks until the decision came. And then there would be Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Should I prolong the visiting researcher visa while waiting, or should I wait a bit and just directly applied for the PhD permit? But if I did not have a valid visa while waiting for PhD permit decision, I would have to go back to my home country and it would mean longer pause during my PhD work. In the end, it was decided that my employment contract (as a R&D trainee) would be prolonged for some months into 2018 so I could prolong my visiting researcher visa. If I got admitted during that period, I would apply for the PhD permit then.

Luckily, during this ask-around period, I met a colleague who had gone through the same process. According to her, once you were abroad and sent the proof that you were abroad (i.e. the picture), the decision came almost immediately, which meant that she did not actually have to stay THAT long outside Sweden. A cruise trip would suffice, but it should not be on the weekends, since the officer might not work during that time and could not respond to your inquiries. It was such a HUGE relief to hear such piece of information. My only concern was that I would have to go for a prolonged period of time, not being able to work, missed courses, etc etc. But apparently, that did not have to be the case.

In the middle of January 2018, I got the extension for my visiting researcher visa. I had also been officially admitted as a PhD student, so then it would be time to apply for the PhD student permit. I remembered that I could not even apply via the website because I could not choose to have my permit decision sent to my address in Sweden (you had to choose one of the Swedish embassies abroad), so I sent my application via post.

Around two weeks later, 30 January 2018 (wow I even remembered the date!), I received a letter from the Swedish Migration Agency which basically stated that I should leave Sweden in order to get my application processed. I should leave by 9 February 2018, but they also gave me the chance to explain if I should be exempted from this rule. I did not think I would qualify for rule exemptions anyway, so I fired away some e-mails and messages to my supervisors and friends saying that I got the letter and that I would be away for some time. Afterwards, I started looking for cheap plane tickets (cruise was not an option because my husband could not stand traveling by ship). I made this matrix to compare different scenarios of the travel plan, and decided that travelling to Gdańsk, Poland would be the most viable option. Although my colleague said that you only needed one day to get the decision, I decided to extend my travel into 5 days (including weekend) in case something happened. I was extremely lucky because none of my courses had started at that time and the data for the project was still being prepared so I was not in the middle of something very urgent from my work. But think if I had different research, work in the lab, or with the animals. It might mean a more complicated situation than what I had to experience.

When I came to work the next day (I would travel the day after), it seemed that everybody (at least in the research group) had known about my story 🐻 and they were very supportive about that. I feel touched, honestly… ❤

We travelled on Thursday, 1 February 2018 to Gdańsk and arrived in the afternoon. I was actually impressed by the new and modern airport there. We could have actually stayed in the airport and take a picture there, but we decided to go to the city centre. At the central station, we were looking for the kiosk which sold newspaper and debated for some time as to which one we should buy (which, actually did not matter because we did not understand the language anyway XD ). In the end we decided to buy a ‘serious’ looking newspaper and took our picture with it. It might seem awkward to see someone struck a pose in front of the train station while holding the newspaper, all-smiling when the news seemed to be about riot ^^’ (honestly we did not know what the news was about). We even used the proper camera (DSLR) because we were afraid that if we only used the phone, the date in the newspaper could not be seen when you zoomed it too highly. But because of that, we had to wait until we arrived in the hotel to transfer the picture and sent it to our case officer. By that time it was already nearly 16.00. I was really afraid that the case-officer had gone home, but thankfully he replied and said that he would inform me as soon as a decision had been made. I understood that it was already late, so I tried not to think about it until the following day.

The following day we waited, and waited, and waited (while also exploring Gdańsk – a beautiful city! Especially the old town) but did not hear anything back. Meanwhile, a friend who was also travelling for the same purpose said that he had got the decision almost immediately afterwards! I was desperate. 😥 It was Friday around 16.00. What if we did not get the decision until next week? I was panicked. In that moment of desperation, I tried to login to the Migration Agency’s website. And there it stood that a decision had been made for my application! What? But what would be the decision? We did not know. But we were hopeful, so we tried to go through the weekend in peace and travelled to Warsaw (another beautiful city and a city I’ve always wanted to visit!).

But then Monday came and we would go back to Sweden that day, but we still did not know what the decision was. And so I tried to e-mail our case officer again. Thankfully he replied almost immediately and said that our permits were granted! Alhamdulillah! Thank God!!! So we could finally travel back in peace, knowing that we had the required permit arranged…

I know that I was not the only one affected by this new rules and that everyone had different stories on how they were affected. Some might have it harder than me, so I don’t want to invalidate what they had gone through. I know also that the Migration Agency, at least for my part, had tried to make this process went as smooth as possible. But I really hope that there will be a more practical solution in the future for this process.

Let’s hope!

 

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The picture I sent to the case officer

 

 

 

 

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How I end up being a PhD (student) – Part 2

Hi again!

So as I’ve said before, at KI, when you get a PhD position, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are already a PhD student. Oh no. You have to go through a certain process to be officially admitted.

In my department, the first thing you have to do is to gather all the documents that are required (list here). Mind you, it is a quite long list. Afterwards, you have to present in a pre-admission seminar, submit all the documents to the administrator, and attend the admission seminar (where you present your project plan to the admission board). You will get the results (admitted, conditionally admitted, or rejected) approximately 1 week after the admission seminar.

Since the date of the admission seminar (at least in my department) is fixed, you usually have to follow certain deadlines for this application. All the documents have to be submitted latest 2 weeks before the admission seminar and the pre-admission seminar should be conducted at least 4 weeks before the admission seminar.

Now, usually, people would have 3-6 months to prepare for the admission since they started working (as R&D Trainee — because they were not officially admitted as PhD students yet).

I only got 1.

Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 😳 😳 😳

Yes, for some reasons my supervisors targeted that I participated in the closest admission seminar, which was on 7 December. I just started working 6 November. I hadn’t had all the documents, I had no project plan, a.k.a. I had no idea how my research would be, and it was only 1 month away from the seminar.

Panic attack ensued.

Before I continue, let me clarify some things. The PhD program at KI is 4 years (for full-time students). You usually have 4 different studies (numbers might vary, 3-5 usually, depending on the fields) under one big theme. Each of the studies should be published, and in order to apply for the thesis defence, you should have at least 2 publications accepted (in international peer-reviewed journals). You should write also a PhD dissertation, which summarises all your studies. Apart from the studies, you should also attend some courses and obtain a certain amount of credits, not only from the courses but also from activities such as seminars, teaching, or conferences. You should state all your planned studies in a 5-page project plan, and list all the courses and seminars in the individual study plan as part of the documents to be submitted before the admission seminars.

Seeing me very tense and nervous since day 1, my supervisors tried to assure me that we would have the study plan, we would have the project plan, and that we would have all the documents that we needed. But still, it was not easy to shake off such tension especially for people like me (ambitious nerd).

Effectively, we only had 2 weeks to prepare for all the documents, since the deadline for documents submission was 2 weeks before the actual admission dates. What about the pre-admission seminar then? In this pre-admission seminar, you were supposed to present your project plan in front of your research group and an opponent (usually postdoc or other senior researchers), followed by discussion. Then you would get feedback and if you needed to revise anything, it should be done accordingly. This pre-admission seminar was supposed to be performed 4 weeks before the actual admission seminar date, but I only had less than that!!! 😳 So nervous I was that I even sent an e-mail to the Head of Doctoral Education at my department and asked for the consequences if it was conducted less than 4 weeks before the actual admission seminar. Apparently, the 4 weeks deadline was set so that the student would have time to revise the project plan after the seminar, should it be needed. OK, at least it would not invalidate my application then. 🐻

Since we had only limited time, my supervisors and I decided to allocate the first week to finalise all the administrative documents (apart from the project plan), the second week for the project plan, and the little time remained for pre-admission seminar preparation. By little time I mean one day, actually.

Perhaps the highlight of these days was the second week when we actually worked on the project plan. The good thing was since my project was part of a larger collaborative project, the researchers had at least an idea of what they wanted to study. The remaining issue was… I had to put details on it and it was a new field for me.

At this moment, too, I really got to appreciate my supervisors, especially my main supervisor for allowing me to put some of my own ideas on the project plan. As I said before, I began my research in injury, and I really did not want to abandon it just like that. So I included a part of it in one of our studies. I was actually REALLY nervous when she read my project plan because that was not what we had originally. But she gave me an OK and you could not imagine how relieved and happy I was ❤

Time flew and suddenly it was one day before the submission deadline, which meant it was time for the pre-admission seminar. A postdoc from the department had agreed to be my opponent and I was really really really grateful that he took up the assignment despite the very limited amount of time. Another colleague (PhD student) had also kindly written the Q&A session for me. I was so touched by the amount of support I had from people around me. 😥

The week after the submission was the week of my birthday, too and my supervisors allowed me a day off (really!) so I did. But I came back to the office the day after and found 2 presents on my desk! I still don’t know to this day who gave me the chocolate, so whoever you were, thank you very much!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

My main supervisor and I spent these 2 weeks before the admission seminar to simulate the Q&A that I might get during the admission seminar. She really encouraged me to ask questions and seemed to never got tired of it (I really admired that!).

The day of my admission seminar was a grey cloudy drizzly day. Only my main supervisor came with me to the admission seminar. I thought I performed well, and the admission board was very nice. But afterwards I could no longer suppress my tears, so I cried in front of my supervisor ^^’ . It felt like all the tension for the past 4 weeks had finally lifted.

One week later, I got the result via e-mail. Admitted, no revision. Thank God!!!!! 😥 😥 😥

Looking back, I could only think that I had been able to go through this all because of the support from people around me. My husband, parents, best friends, supervisors, former supervisors, colleagues in the research groups, in the department, in other departments… It was a humbling experience. But this is just a beginning. I hope I can do my best for the next 4 years and I hope you won’t get tired of me blabbing about that (only occasionally, I promise!)

Until next time! ❤

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Aula Medica – KI Campus Solna, after an intense snowfall

3

How I end up being a PhD (student) – Part 1

People want to be a PhD for different reasons. Some might want to do good in the world. Others might need the degree to advance their career. For me, I have always had a thought in the back of my mind that I have to be better than my parents. Both of them have PhDs from abroad so I’ve always wanted to be like them. Another thing is that I am a nerd – an ambitious nerd, to be exact. So I also thought that I should reach the highest possible degree available. I see it as a personal challenge. People might think that such reason is not pure, but I am just trying to be honest here.

However, this “dream” has not always been formulated very clearly. When I was asked what I would like to do after my master studies, I’d always answered, ‘I want to do a PhD’. But at that point, I had no idea what kind of PhD I wanted, where, when, how would I get the funding, etc etc.

It was even more complicated after I got into the thesis writing because honestly, it was hard. Writing a thesis is hard. Doing a research is hard. Even though you love the field, there will come a moment when you feel that this is suck. Things did not progress as you wish. Honestly, I felt a bit traumatic afterwards. I mean, I still wanted to do a PhD, but maybe not immediately afterwards.

God seemed to listen to my wish. I got a position as a research assistant some months after my graduation. But of course this was a temporary position and it was very prone to funding. No money=out. However, my supervisor was really kind that she introduced me to another colleague of hers and helped me getting another position once my contract was over. By this time, half of my closest friends had already got a PhD position, so I felt a bit of completely unnecessary peer-pressure here (almost like the gym thing).

Oh before I continue, what I meant by doing the PhD is working as a PhD student (i.e. receiving a salary) and not simply enrolling in a PhD program where you had to pay tuition fees, etc. I was open for scholarship options, although I preferred being employed due to my financial conditions. And I preferred to do the PhD in Sweden because basically, Sweden is a heaven for public health research with its abundance of data available.

Anyway.

When I had my first employment talk with my supervisor, I made my intention clear that I wanted to pursue a PhD. And she was very supportive, actually. The thing is, since PhD position in Sweden is usually project-based, it often only opens when there is a project available within a research group. That means, no project=no PhD position. Of course, you can always try to find your own funding (from your home country, for example), but even that is not always easy. And since there had been no formal agreement between KI and Indonesian universities (as far as I know), I couldn’t do the PhD under that schemes. So basically, what I had to do was to apply to as many PhD positions as I could.

At first, I was very picky on to what positions I was applying to. I had this kind of ideal that the PhD project should suit my interest (and I still am, actually). But my field of interest (injury epidemiology) is not the biggest public health area there is. I thought even that this area is severely under-funded, not only for the PhD project but also in general. It’s sad, but I sometimes feel like this area is a forgotten area in public health.

Anyway.

After some time, I started expanding my search. Anything that touches upon epidemiology, if I had the qualification (and sufficient interest to learn more about), I would apply. I also tried to look for PhD positions in injury epidemiology in other countries. I could assure you that it was a painstaking process. It goes pretty much like this: find announcement-apply-rejected-find announcement-apply-rejected and so on and so forth.

It was not until almost 1 year that I finally got the invitation for an interview. The first interview ever. I thought I performed well. But on my way to Indonesia, literally 30,000 feet above, I received another rejection. (Yes, there was a quite good internet connection inside Emirates’ plane – not an advertisement). I cried inside the plane. Felt that I was so stupid and not worthy of a PhD position. I felt frustrated. I wondered why. I even had published a paper and being invited for an oral presentation at a conference, all while I was still merely a research assistant. So why??? I think that was one of the lowest points in my life, although I was actually high up above.

Autumn semester came. Unexpectedly, I was contacted by a senior researcher in Australia whose project I had applied for months before. She said that I might not suit the current position but she also had another project which I might be interested in. She also said that she was willing to help me with the applications and she might be able to increase the stipend should I be admitted. I said I would like to give it a go.

At around the same time, I saw an announcement for a PhD position in mental health epidemiology in my current institution. It was not my field at all, but I thought I might be able to learn so I applied anyway. Surprisingly, I was being called for an interview! It was an interesting interview although I still couldn’t comprehend why I said I wanted to perform in a concert hall when being asked what my dream was (facepalm). I think old habit never dies. #musicianatheart

Some weeks later, I got the announcement that I was accepted. In both PhD positions. On the same day.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

My first emotion was sadness. I know it’s strange. But I was sad because I would leave my current injury research group, leave the project, leave my office and choose between those two positions. I was confused. On one hand, I really wanted to study injuries. On the other hand, I knew that many injury cases had some mental health backgrounds on it. Take suicide, for example. So I might actually learn something that would be useful for injury prevention work in the future. It was such a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge dilemma for me. One of the most difficult decisions I had to take. But after some time contemplating, and asking around, I decided to stay in Sweden and take the PhD position at KI.

So yes… That’s pretty much how I ended up being a PhD student 🙂

It took me one good year to get the position only (not officially being admitted – because in KI you need to go through admission seminar in order to be officially admitted as a PhD student – but that’s another story).

What I was trying to say was… everybody has their own timeline, apparently. And as you know, time is constant (usually – we’re not gonna go through the physics here). You can’t just speed up your timeline and hope that you will be in the same position as your friends at the same time. Of course, it can be a bit annoying at times when people keep asking you when you’re going to be a PhD student, given that most of your colleagues are already in that position when you yourself don’t know if it will eventually happen. But whatever happens in your life, it will happen at the right time.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

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My new office. I’m glad it’s all green ❤

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Tulisan untuk Adik-Adikku di Biostatistik FKM UI (2) – Tentang Perjuangan Menuju Kelulusan

Halo semuanya… :3 Sebelumnya aku mau ngucapin terima kasih buat semua yang udah baca tulisanku sebelumnya. Mohon maaf juga karena aku baru sempet nulis lagi sekarang dan jadinya malah panjang banget. Tapi mudah-mudahan tulisan ini bisa membawa manfaat buat siapa pun yang baca #azek 😛

Nah setelah sebelumnya nyinggung sedikit tentang seluk-beluk kuliah di FKM UI, kali ini aku pengen nyeritain sedikit tentang gimana seluk-beluk jadi mahasiswa tahun terakhir di FKM UI. Suka ngga suka, yang namanya mahasiswa tingkat akhir pasti akan mulai dihantui oleh pertanyaan-pertanyaan seperti, ”Kapan lulus?”, ”Magang di mana?”, ”Skripsinya tentang apa?”, ”Kapan kawin?”, dan sebagainya. Tapi jangan khawatir, karena seperti badai, semua itu akan berlalu. Mari kita bahas satu per satu.

Magang: Praktikum yang bukan di lab

Jaman aku dulu, magang alias praktikum kesehatan masyarakat itu mata kuliah yang paling berat bebannya di FKM: 9 SKS. Kayanya kebijakan magang ini tergantung tiap departemen, tapi waktu itu kalo ga salah magang di bios itu dibagi dalam 2 tahap: tahap I yang kita mesti bikin laporan deskriptif tentang tempat kita magang dan tahap II laporan ”penelitian” kita di tempat magang.

Waktu itu aku beruntuuuuuuuuuuuuuuung banget karena bisa nebeng magang bareng temen-temen bios di Kemenkes. Lupa prosedurnya gimana, tapi kalo ga salah aku sok iye aja nanya ke temen-temen yang udah ada niatan magang di Kemenkes terus minta join bareng #tutupmuka ^^’ Untung temen-temennya pada baek, jadilah kita waktu berame-rame, bersepuluh apa berberapa gitu magang di Direktorat Penyakit Tidak Menular, Kementerian Kesehatan RI.

Waktu itu kita dibagi-bagi lagi ke dalam beberapa subdit. Aku sama Kades (hai Kades 🙂 ) berdua di Subdirektorat Pengendalian Gangguan akibat Kecelakaan dan Tindak Kekerasan (GAKTI). Kebetulan emang aku minat banget di bidang ini, mangkanya semangat banget mau mulai magang. Sayangnya, hehehe… ya kadang harapan ga seindah kenyataan, ya. Biarpun udah bikin proposal juga dalam kondisi ideal mau ngambil data ini itu apa daya begitu nyampe tempatnya ternyata data yang diinginkan tak tersedia ^^’ Jadilah terpaksa improvisasi dan ganti haluan dalam penulisan laporan. Kalo ga salah waktu itu aku buat laporan tahap II cuma bikin literature review gitu. Tapi yang penting selama magang sih sebisa mungkin proaktif, nanya, ada kerjaan yang bisa dibantu ga. Minggu-minggu awal emang rada bingung sih, karena Kasubdit-nya ga ada juga ^^’ Tapi terus akhirnya kita dikasih kerjaan juga. Waktu itu kalo ga salah kita akhirnya disuruh bantuin bikin database buat surveilans cedera. Nah pas ini nih kepake banget kuliah Standardisasi Terminologi Kesehatan yang pake ICD-10 itu. Dan kuliah Pemrograman Komputer juga. Hehehehe :)))) Penasaran juga sih sekarang implementasi surveilansnya gimana. Ada yang tau? 🙂

Magang ini buat aku merupakan milestone yang menandakan kalo aku udah beneran jadi mahasiswa tingkat akhir yang tinggal selangkah lagi menuju gerbang kelulusan. Tapi tentu saja, sebelum membuka gerbang tersebut kita harus melewati yang namanya…

Skripsi: Karena kami semua ingin lulus

Sehabis magang muncullah skripsi. Begitu kira-kira perjalanan hidup mahasiswa tingkat akhir di FKM UI. Ga selalu sih, karena jaman aku dulu masih ada yang namanya Ujian Komprehensif buat yang ga ngambil skripsi. Sayangnya sejak jaman aku anak-anak bios ga boleh ngambil kompre… (Kasian deh. Siapa suruh ngambil bios. Muahahahahhaa XD)

Karena dari awal aku minatnya di bidang GAKTI itu, tadinya skripsinya mau tentang kecelakaan lalu lintas juga. Waktu itu udah sempet bilang sama Bu Milla juga (pembimbing akademik/PA aku waktu itu, halo Ibu… 🙂 ). Eh gataunya abis aku mengutarakan niatku itu, Bu Milla bilang gini (lupa persisnya gimana),

Say, kamu masih berminat bikin skripsi tentang musik ga? Kalo mau, Pak Pandu bersedia jadi pembimbing kamu, tuh…

APAHHH?????????????

Ini aseli bikin siyok banget karena sejujurnya aku udah ga kepikiran sama sekali buat bikin skripsi tentang musik. Jadilah selama beberapa saat aku ga ngelakuin apa-apa. Eh gataunya beberapa minggu kemudian, pas aku lagi bimbingan sama Bu Milla, ada Pak Pandu juga di ruangan, dan beliau tau-tau bilang,

Milla, mana mahasiswa yang katanya mau bimbingan sama saya…?

Aduh mak… Itu udah gatau lagi deh muka mau ditaro di mana. Hahahahaha ^^’ Yaabes kan mau penelitian apa coba tentang musik dan hubungannya sama kesehatan masyarakat? Itu saking bingungnya akhirnya di pertemuan berikutnya aku bawa 2 proposal sekaligus buat didiskusiin. Muahahahahaha #ambisius 😛

Dari 2 proposal itu, yang dipilih akhirnya yang pake metode survey (yg satu lagi eksperimen kalo ga salah). Nah tapi ternyata tidak cukup sampai di situ saja sodara-sodara, karena mulai tahun 2008, proposal skripsi di Dept. Bios harus dipresentasikan secara terbuka di hadapan dosen dan kawan-kawan. Emang sih ga seformal sidang skripsi yang harus ditentuin dosen pengujinya siapa, cuman akibatnya waktu aku ”sidang proposal”, dosen pengujinya sampe 4 orang. Hahahaha ^^’ (padahal print out nya cuma disiapin 3, jadilah sebelum sidang lari-lari dulu ke Gang Senggol fotokopi) XD

Waktu itu aku milih topik skripsinya tentang aktivitas musikal sepanjang hidup dan fungsi kognitif lansia. Kenapa aku milih topik ini? Well, buat alasan formalnya mungkin bisa dibaca di skripsinya langsung :3 *promo* 😛 Tapi alasan sebenernya ialah karena aku pengen mendedikasikan skripsi ini buat alm. kakek dan nenek aku. Alm. kakek, sama seperti aku, juga merupakan seorang pemain biola, meski aku ga sempet melihatnya langsung. Sedangkan alm. nenek, di akhir hidupnya sempat mengalami demensia dan hampir ga bisa ngenalin keluarganya sendiri (tapi entah gimana beliau masih ngenalin aku juga) dan beliau wafat di hari aku konser bersama Orkes Simfoni UI Mahawaditra saat aku diamanahkan jadi concertmaster-nya. So… that’s basically the emotional reasoning behind. :”)

After MusiKampus concert, 14 April 2011 with (some of) my dearest OSUI Mahawaditra friends. One of the hardest day of my life when my loved one passed away yet I had to stand up, be strong, and fulfill my responsibility.

After MusiKampus concert, 14 April 2011 with (some of) my dearest OSUI Mahawaditra friends. One of the hardest day of my life when my loved one passed away yet I had to stand up, be strong, and fulfill my responsibility.

Buat yang udah pernah ngerasain skripsi,pasti ngerasa lah ya gimana susahnya jungkir balik baca literatur sampe nemuin topik yang pas. Proses pencarian topik ini berasa nyelem di lautan yang sangaaaaaat dalem (padahal aku ga bisa nyelem :P). Baca jurnal, baca buku sampe kelelep dan kadang kehabisan oksigen juga. Kalo udah gitu ya jangan dipaksain. Istirahat dulu lah :3 Mangkanya aku seneng ngerjain skripsi di perpus FKM, soalnya jadi bisa ketemu temen-temen seperjuangan *dan ujung-ujungnya curcol 😛 Hehehehe…

Berhubung aku baru presentasi proposal bulan April, sedangkan batas kelulusan bulan Juli, jadilah aku harus ngebut ngumplin data dan sebagainya. O_o Alhamdulillah banget waktu itu aku ga menemukan kesulitan berarti dalam pengurusan dokumen. Waktu itu kebetulan aku penelitian di Panti/Sasana Tresna Werdha di Jakarta Timur, jadi aku mesti ngurus surat-surat ke Dinas Sosial Provinsi DKI Jakarta. Tapi aku mesti bilang, Dinsos Jakarta ini buat aku salah satu instansi pemerintah yang bagus banget kerjanya. ❤ Aku masukin surat izin dikasih tanda terima terus nomor kontak yang bisa dihubungi dan begitu dibilang tanggal sekian suratnya jadi ya emang bener suratnya jadi. Wow. *applause*

Salah satu hal yang paling menantang dalam proses pembuatan skripsi ini adalah waktu ngambil data. Aku ga punya pengalaman sama sekali ngewawancara lansia, jadi aku pun sempet stres juga. Yang estimasi ambil data sekian menit taunya bisa molor sampe setengah jam. Tapi aku ngga bisa ngga dengerin cerita mereka, karena… kasian 😦 Banyak pelajaran yang bisa diambil dari kisah hidup mereka, melebihi dari data yang aku pergunakan untuk skripsi. So…

embrace whatever experiences you might have throughout the process, because if you do, you’ll learn more than what you expect 🙂

Setelah guling-guling mencoba nyelesein skripsi, akhirnya di akhir bulan Juni 2012, skripsi aku siap sidang. PR berikutnya ialah nyari penguji dalam (UI) dan luar (non-UI). Alhamdulillah, lagi-lagi aku mendapat kemudahan untuk memperoleh penguji dalam dan luar buat sidang. Prosesnya kira-kira gini:

Menghubungi pembimbing –> direkomendasikan nama penguji dalam –> mengontak penguji dalam –> bersedia menjadi penguji, merekomendasikan nama penguji luar –> mengontak penguji luar –> bersedia menjadi penguji.  

Jadilah akhirnya aku sidang 2 minggu sebelum batas akhir sidang semester itu. Tanggalnya 4 Juli 2012, kebetulan banget pas hari itu mantan pacar (sekarang udah jadi keluarga :3) juga sama-sama sidang. Ahak, ahak, ahak XD Jadilah kami saling memberikan dukungan moral :3 *ciyeee*

Pelajaran buat yang mau sidang: kalo bisa ppt disiapin jauh-jauh hari ya… ini aku bikin sebenernya sehari sebelum sidang. Hahahahaha XD *jangan ditiru* Terus siapin juga perintilan buat sidang jauh-jauh hari, ruangan dan konsumsi misalnya. Minta bantuan temen kalo perlu. Biasanya sebagai saudara senasib sepenanggungan mereka akan bersedia dengan senang hati membantu, kok. Waktu itu aku pun minta bantuan Chichi buat nyiapin snack buat penguji (makasih ya Chi… 🙂 ). Satu tips lagi buat yang mau sidang:

Skripsi itu kalian yang buat, jadi kalian yang paling tau isinya. Jadi kalo kalian udah berusaha semaksimal mungkin, percayalah sama tulisan kalian 🙂

Ngomong-ngomong, jadi gimana sidangnya?

Alhamdulillah sidangnya lancar. Bisa dibilang sidang skripsi itu merupakan salah satu pengalaman hidup yang tak terlupakan 🙂 tapi yang paling berkesan ya waktu Pak Pandu menyatakan kalau aku bisa lulus dengan syarat:

  1. Skripsiku dituliskan dalam bentuk artikel untuk jurnal (yang mana waktu itu sebetulnya belum wajib)
  2. Abstrak penelitianku disertakan dalam The 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics di Seoul, Korea Selatan tahun 2013.

Hobaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

Jelas yang dimaksud syarat kelulusan ini bukannya syarat kelulusan bener-bener kalo itu 2 ga dikerjain ga bisa lulus dari FKM, but still I thought it was an honor, so… I decided to do them both! XD gimana ceritanya? Nantikan dalam episode berikutnya ya… Hehehehe :3

Sampai jumpa! 😉

Stockholm, April 2015

Alicia ❤

18

Tulisan untuk Adik-Adikku di Biostatistik FKM UI (1) – Awal Mula

Sebenernya udah dari beberapa minggu yang lalu aku dikontak sama Pak Pandu, pembimbing akademik aku di FKM UI buat nulisin pengalaman aku dari awalnya belajar di FKM UI, ambil peminatan biostatistik, sampe sekarang kuliah di Karolinska Institutet, Swedia.

“Biar yang muda-muda bisa semangat mengikuti jejak Alice,” katanya.

Wakwawwwww…. ^^’ Siapalah diriku ini. Kuliah juga belum lulus, ga punya posisi apa-apa. Tapi beliau meyakinkan aku kalau kita semua akan terus berproses. Maka baiklah, untuk adik-adikku mahasiswa Fakultas Kesehatan Masyarakat Universitas Indonesia di mana pun kalian berada (berasa penyiar radio), tulisan ini untuk kalian.

Awal Mula

Aku pertama tau tentang FKM sebenernya dari temen masa kecil aku – secara ga langsung. Waktu galau-galaunya milih jurusan kuliah, tiba-tiba aku inget kalau orang tuaku pernah cerita kalau temenku ini sekarang kuliah di FKM. Weks.. apaan tuh FKM? Cari cari cari info di internet, eh nemu situsnya. Trus liat jurusan-jurusannya kok menarik ya? Ah coba ah daftar. Kebetulan waktu tahun aku masuk (2008 – iyah, aku sudah tua 😛 ) ada seleksi namanya Ujian Masuk Bersama (UMB) di mana kita bisa milih 2 jurusan dari 5 universitas yang berpartisipasi di UMB itu, termasuk UI. Ga disangka ga dinyana eh keterima. Alhamdulillah, akhirnya sejak bulan Juli 2008, aku resmi jadi mahasiswa FKM UI (bangga….). 😀

Mahasiswa baru FKM UI yang tertindas

Pilah-Pilih Peminatan

Di zaman itu (berasa tua), kita udah bisa milih peminatan di semester ke-3. Dari awal ada 3 peminatan yang pengen banget aku masukin: biostatistik, informatika kesehatan, sama kesehatan lingkungan. Aku inget banget ada satu kakak kelas yang selalu bilang,”Biostatistik itu kan cuma tools…” Yaelah bro, kalo cuma tools trus kenapa? Kan malah bagus jadi bisa ke mana-mana ^^’ Di masa-masa kritis itu, FKM rame banget deh ada segala rupa pengenalan jurusan, mulai dari presentasi oleh ketua departemennya sampe presentasi oleh kakak kelas (duh apa sih istilahnya?). Inget banget waktu itu aku sama beberapa temenku saking galaunya sampe main ke Dept. Bios ketemu kadepnya (waktu itu masih Bu Dinihalo, Ibu, apa kabar? Hehehe…), nanya-nanya tentang peminatan-peminatan di Dept. Bios. Baek bener lagi sama Bu Dini diladenin aja kita. Padahal kenal juga belom. Hueheuheuheuhe. Makasih ya, Bu…

Setelah menimbang-nimbang dan berpikir-pikir, akhirnya aku mantap mengambil peminatan biostatistik. Kenapa? Sebenernya lebih karena waktu itu aku bisa dibilang tertarik sama semua bidang di kesehatan masyarakat sih. Terus daripada milih satu bidang trus akhirnya aku kecewa karena ga suka di tengah jalan, ya mending aku milih satu bidang yang bisa masuk ke semuanya lah. Berangkat dari pemikiran seperti itu, aku merasa biostatistik lah bidang yang sesuai dengan visi misiku. Jadi… mari kita belajar biostatistik! 😀

Masa-Masa Kuliah Biostatistik di FKM UI

Biostatistik 2008! ❤

Di angkatan aku yang masuk Dept. Bios ada 23 orang, cewek semua (girl power :P). Peminatan biostatistik paling sedikit orangnya, cuma 6 orang XD Sisanya tersebar di informatika kesehatan sama manajemen informasi kesehatan. Karena orangnya sedikit, aku pribadi ngerasa enak sih belajarnya (kaya yang suka belajar aja 😛 ) Hehehehe… Tapi ngga juga sih, soalnya kadang ada mata kuliah yang kelasnya dicampur sama peminatan lain gitu.

Beberapa mata kuliah yang berkesan:

  1. Matematika 2

Gatau emang bawaan lahir suka matematika kali ya jadi seneng aja belajar ini. Padahal waktu itu di semester 3 ambil SKS-nya sampe 24 dan matkul ini termasuk yang paling sore belajarnya.

  1. Analisis Data Multivariabel

Pertama kalinya ketemu Pak Pandu sama Pak Farid di matkul ini nih kalo ga salah. Sejujurnya ini matkul di awal-awal sempet bikin aku frustrasi, soalnya susaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

Ngga deng, ga susah. Kayanya sih waktu itu ada gap gitu antara matkul sebelumnya sama matkul yang ini jadi otakku ga nyampe buat mencerna kuliahnya. Hahahaha XD Tapi alhamdulillah akhirnya bisa ngikutin dan mata kuliah ini termasuk yang paling dipake ilmunya sampe kuliah S2 sekarang 🙂

  1. Teori dan Praktek Pengumpulan Data

Berkesan soalnya kita sampe turun lapangan ngetokin rumah orang nyari responden. Ditolak? Oh itu biasa…. :))))))) *padahal trauma juga dengan penolakan *tapi sekalinya dapet responden senengnya minta ampun

  1. Standardisasi Terminologi Kesehatan

Pertama kalinya belajar pake kitab International Classification of Diseases-10 (ICD-10). Sukaaaaa ❤ Hehehehe. (Aneh ga sih suka sama ICD-10? XD ) Tiap mau kuliah biasanya ada kawan-kawan yang bersukarela bawain kitab ICD-10 yang setebel-tebel alaihim (padahal sekarang udah ada yang online nya juga. Heheheheu). Kepake banget waktu magang di Kemenkes 🙂

  1. Penggunaan Data untuk Kebijakan Kesehatan

Ketemu lagi sama Pak Pandu. Kenapa berkesan? Soalnya ini pertama kalinya aku ”ketemu” sama Professor Hans Rosling dari Karolinska Institutet, Swedia. Jadi waktu itu Pak Pandu muterin video dari GapMinder gitu. Itu asli sampe sekarang aku masih kepikiran, ”Edan kok bisa ya orang bikin statistik jadi fun kaya gitu??” Kalau ada anak biostatistik yang belum nonton, WAJIB NONTON! (lebay) Hehehehehe… Itu ada banyak sih videonya, jadi coba aja yang mana yang kira-kira menarik topiknya. Trus bisa juga coba mainin bubble chart nya 😀 Siapa sangka beberapa tahun kemudian aku bisa ketemu langsung sama beliau dan jadi mahasiswanya? 😉

Sebenernya masih banyak mata kuliah dan hal-hal yang berkesan selama masa-masa menuntut ilmu di FKM UI, khususnya di Dept. Biostatistik, tapi ntar jadi kepanjangan kalau ditulis semua sekarang. Jadi… nantikan tulisan berikutnya ya! 😉

Stockholm, April 2015 ❤

Alicia

Video
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And The Band Played On

Kemarin pas sesi pagi kuliah, bukannya diisi kuliah seperti biasa kita malah nonton film. Yeeeay….! Judul filmnya ‘And The Band Played On’ tapi filmnya bukan tentang musik, malah ga ada musik-musiknya sama sekali (yaeyalah orang lagi kuliah kesehatan… -__-) melainkan tentang masa-masa awal munculnya (wabah) AIDS.

Sebelumnya aku ga pernah nyangka, atau bahkan kepikiran kalau masa-masa awal munculnya wabah penyakit, atau apa pun masalah kesehatan itu merupakan masa-masa yang sangat suram. Selama ini kan kalau kita denger tentang AIDS, ya taulah seengganya apa penyebabnya, gimana cara penularannya, cara pencegahannya, langkah penanggulangannya, dst dsb. Tapi waktu penyakit ini baru muncul, orang-orang ga ada yang tau tentang itu semua. Ga ada yang tau ini penyakit penyebabnya apa, sumbernya dari mana, gimana cara menghentikannya. Pokoknya suram banget deh. Dan selama ini aku ngerasa I took it all for granted karena semua informasi itu sekarang ada di hadapanku dan bisa ku akses dengan mudah. Tapi dulu?

Butuh perjuangan ekstra keras dari banyak pihak sampe akhirnya hari ini kita bisa dengan mudah tau semua seluk-beluk penyakit tersebut. Di film itu diceritain orang-orang CDC dan public health authority harus bekerja keras siang dan malam berusaha mencari tau ini sebenernya penyakit apa, sumbernnya dari mana, gimana menghentikannya. Bahkan seringkali mereka berhadapan dengan berbagai komunitas yang menentang langkah-langkah antisipasi penyebaran penyakit tersebut, mulai dari buat nutup bath house lah, buat ngelakuin tes darah buat darah transfusi lah, sampe masalah lainnya semisal ga ada dana buat melakukan studi (bisa gitu juga ya. kirain mereka banyak duitnya…heuu)

Ya intinya nonton film ini bikin aku jadi tambah menghargai kerja keras para ahli kesehatan masyarakat lah. Please do not take it for granted. Mudah-mudahan aku juga bisa berkontribusi nyata seperti para ahli kesehatan yang digambarkan di film yang ku tonton kemarin itu…