Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Passing The Test For Master Degree

Today I passed the test for a Master degree for Renewable Energy postgraduate school at a local private university.

I decided to not write anything about it until I'm declared graduated, due to 2 reasons:
1) I was not sure I could graduate because it was another engineering degree, and I was not confident that my old brain was still fit enough to learn the subject  
2) It was not the major of my choice. Rather, it was M&D who forced me to take it. They nagged me for 6 months until I finally relented. I'm too old for this nagging, so I thought, well, I'd give it a shot.

To be honest, if I could choose, I would apply for a scholarship abroad on Communications, because that's what I've been doing for the past 10 years. But M has asked me to stay and help her taking care of D. Being their only child, I didn't have the heart to say no. 

The great thing was: I enrolled the postgraduate school in 2014, along with 10 other people. Class of 2014 is a group of 11 people between 23 years old and 55 years old, with one from Maluku, one from Nusa Tenggara, one from South Sulawesi, one from North Sumatra, and the rest from Java and Madura. So we are quite diverse, in terms of age and ethnic background. But we all took Engineering for our undergraduate degree.

There were only two women in Class 2014: me and another woman (heretofore, let's call her JH). But it was the first time the school had two women in a year. Usually it was all men, or perhaps only one woman. I considered myself very lucky, especially when I found that JH was very supportive.

For the past two years, we had classes every Friday nights and Saturdays. We took part in field visits to two geothermal power plants, one wind power plant and the nuclear power plant in BATAN (I saw the real Uranium glowing beautifully right before my eyes! From a safe distance, of course). Accompanying JH, I even went to an energy-independent village, which was established by my campus. 

So if you read about my trip to such places, now you know why I went there. It was not for work purpose, but study purpose.

Writing the thesis while working the day job has been a real struggle for me. There were moments where I felt like giving up, because the workplace and the campus could have schedules at the same time. Of course, I had to put workplace first, because that's how I could afford the school. But after the work is completed, I would run to campus to work on the thesis again. To all students who work to pay for study, my heart goes to you *grouphug*. 

Anyway, the thesis was finally done and had been defended in front of five lecturers, albeit imperfectly. Lots of revision to work on for the next couple of weeks, but it was finally over, alhamdulillah.

After the test, I was asked to tell my impression during the study there. Here's what I said:
"I remembered that on the first day, Professor asked if I had an idea for the thesis. At that time, I worked at an NGO that had a biomass project in Madura. I didn't know much about renewable energy, so I said, I would do a biomass-related thesis. But two years on, I changed workplace and I learned more about renewable energy, which is not only about biomass, but a myriad of many sources: the sun, the wind, the ocean thermal, the river, the geothermal and of course, the energy audit. Two years ago and today, I have grown to a different person, I've learned a lot about renewable energy. And it's all thanks to you, Professor and other lecturers in this campus."

It was not the major of my choice, but I learned a lot, had great time and made friends with wonderful people. 

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