Good Grade Will Follow

I awoke to a sound of adzan from the nearby mosque. I grabbed my Blackberry and immediately checked on incoming emails and left astounded by the news I just received from Oslo. ” Dear Maria Serenade Sinurat, your grade is A!”.

A implies excellency. It took a moment of courage to admit that I don’t feel I am that excellent. I never asked for an A. I just enjoyed being a student and learner when I joined International Summer School. It somehow brings my mind back to my summer sojourn.

We were a  group of 17 students in Media Studies course, accompanied by a charming tour leader, the one and only Maria Utheim. It was my first time being in international class. I cringed. Some of my fellow classmates have already finished their Master degree, some others hold a top position in their companies. I am nobody from  a land of chaos. I recalled some friends thinking Indonesia is part of India and there was one boy thinking it is part of Tunisia. Oh, boy!

It is inevitable to talk about grades when you take part in a course. Some students will put their very efforts to get good grades. I never am that kind of student. As a Media Studies students, we were asked to write a ten-pages paper as a final exam and we would be graded solely based on our papers. It was a bit unfair since we made several projects at the first five weeks.

The tour leader gave us three questions, one of which we had to pick as a subject for the paper. I picked question about the relation between freedom of expression and freedom of press, that was avoided by most of my classmates. Why? It seemed so huge and abstract for them, it was difficult to look for the references, and it was an unlikely subject that will bring you a good grade.

Most of the students then chose question about Nordic Media. The best thing about this subject is all of the books and references we already had during the course explicitly talk about it. I made up my mind and worked on my paper.

I did not put my very efforts to get good grades. I put my very efforts to write a convincing paper delivered in English, which I had never been done before. I forgot how to write academically and always tempted to write in journalistic style. The foremost problem : oh come on, it’s in English!

I spent almost four days writing my paper. I can say I was enjoying the process. I read a hell lot of books and all of them are interesting. I think I will not ever find them in Indonesia. I believe my six-weeks experience can not be traded with just an ‘A’.  It’s already awesome without an A.

I am not yet an expert in Media Studies, nor an exquisitely sophisticated English speaker/writer. I embrace things that come in my way and have a lot of fun with them, and good grade will follow.

Good things will follow.

Kerdil

“Aku merasa kerdil.” Pesan itu sampai di Blackberry saya dari teman baik bertubuh mungil. Tapi, dia tidak sedang bicara soal postur tubuh.

Setelah lima tahun lebih bekerja di perusahaan surat kabar ternama, baru kali ini dia mengaku dirinya kerdil. Dia sudah pernah menulis dua cerita pendek yang diterbitkan secara nasional sebelum bekerja di pabrik koran. Dia punya selera baca yang bagus ketimbang beberapa jurnalis yang saya kenal. Dia masih punya keinginan menulis. Bagaimana mungkin dia merasa kerdil?

Sayalah yang harusnya merasa kerdil. Setelah mengundurkan diri dari pabrik koran, saya tidak punya penghasilan tetap. Saya kembali jadi parasit bagi orang tua saya. Sudah beberapa kali saya mengirim tulisan ke sebuah media yang berujung penolakan. Saya dihantui oleh tagihan asuransi yang membuat saya menyesali keputusan mengikuti program asuransi tahun lalu. Harusnya saya yang merasa kerdil.

Saya memang pernah merasa kerdil tahun lalu ketika saya masih berada di pabrik koran. Saat itu tiga teman saya secara bersamaan mendapat kesempatan sekolah di luar negeri. Saya teringat satu teman saya yang kini di Italia. Dia bahkan lulus lebih lama dari saya dan sempat bolos kuliah setahun. Kami sempat sama-sama bermimpi ‘melihat dunia’ suatu saat. Akhirnya dia melihat dunia.

Saya tidak sedang menyarankan semua orang untuk ke luar negeri. Sama sekali tidak. Saya hanya teringat bahwa sebelum masuk pabrik koran saya ingin melakukan banyak hal, salah satunya melihat seisi dunia. Saya menyalahkan buku-buku sejarah dunia yang dibelikan ayah saya waktu kecil sebagai salah satu penyebab saya ngebet ke luar negeri.

Saya sebetulnya iri pada teman-teman saya yang masih punya semangat untuk bermimpi kala itu. Saya hanya merasa mimpi itu sudah terlalu usang untuk dipenuhi. Saya berpikir saya seharusnya bertahan di pabrik koran demi masa depan cerah ceria. haha. Toh, akhirnya saya mengundurkan diri juga, dan berhasil melintasi separuh bumi.

Saya tidak merasa kerdil bukan karena saya sudah ke luar negeri. Saya tidak lagi merasa kerdil karena saya sudah mencoba berlari sekali lagi untuk apa yang saya percayai. Kendati setelah itu saya miskin secara finansial, tapi sungguh saya merasa telah melalui banyak hal yang mungkin tidak saya pelajari kalau saya bertahan di pabrik koran.

Sekarang saya melangkah lagi perlahan-lahan. Lebih banyak membaca kendati lebih jarang menulis haha. Besok atau lusa, saya akan tetap mencoba mengirim tulisan lain ke media lain. Kalaupun ditolak, jangan berhenti mengirim lagi.

Saya ingat Mark Twain bilang begini : “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Saya pernah menyesal. Tapi, sekarang bukan lagi saatnya. Sekarang saatnya berlayar.