I still remember clearly how I applied to the best local high school in Bandung, SMA Negeri 3 Bandung, in 2008. I was lucky enough to get into the international class there. Moreover, I also got the best teachers there, until an opportunity came: I got a scholarship to go to an international school called United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico, USA. Things were never the same anymore after I decided to leave my high school in Indonesia and studied in that school.
Beautiful weather witnessed how Tom Oden called my name in a really strange accent and how I walked on the stage, hugged Lisa Darling, and shook Tom Dickerson's hand. During that few seconds, everyone in the soccer field saw how I finally graduated from high school. A quick applause and cheering made me smile widely. I left the stage, and I finally became a third year at that time...
How hard was it, Titan?
My emotional breakdown didn't start until two 2:00 a.m. buses left and brought half of the students to the airport. My roommate also left with that bus, which made half of my room empty. It was hard at that time, of course, but sleeping helped me.
Just like last year, I left with the last bus provided by the school. Some firsties and second years were still there, though. They either left later or stayed on campus during the whole summer. I was glad that I left them smiling, although I didn't know if I would meet them again.
For now, even though it is still hard to see or talk with my friends on Skype/ e-mail/ Facebook, it is a lot better than before. I realized that I held my tears during the last few days, because I still cried on the plane from Hong Kong to Jakarta, which was not good. Hong Kong sky helped me feel so much better last year, but not this year. There won't be another year like this anymore, but who knows human's feeling? Maybe when I leave college, I'll encounter the same feeling again... At least I know what I'll do: let it be, cry when you want to cry, laugh when you want to laugh, and smile when you want to smile.
What are you doing for this summer?
I have started to prepare my transition to college. I was really overwhelmed in the beginning by the amount of things to do for this transition. Being too anxious, I get stressed out. However, thanks to my family and my hometown, I can calm myself down. Even though there are still so many things to do, I know it will be fine, just like how my two years at UWC were.
I am planning to do annual social activity with other Indonesian UWCers. It will be so much fun to meet other people who are connected to UWC again, so I am looking forward to joining it. Kevin (MUWCI '12) and I are planning to convince other Indonesian UWCers who mostly live in the capital to come to our hometown, which is only two hours away. Let's wait and see if this plan is going to work.
Getting reconnected with my friends here is another thing that I am focused on for now. Most of my friends here are going to be a second year in college next semester, one year faster than me. I didn't know how powerful one year change can be. So many friends are already having clear pathways to their future, while I can say that I'm not. I am planning to go back to Indonesia after I finish studying in States, so I know that I will need them in the future. Connection and network, are two out of few things that you need to survive. At least, that's what I believe.
Besides that, I had many plans with my siblings that I need to finally do this summer, from trying new foods (believe me, there are countless dishes come up every year in this country), to watching Korean dramas together. After all, I deserve a long rest after IB, right?
How does it feel to be a third year?
I don't know yet. Zero years are still zero years, they haven't come to UWC. I would prefer calling myself as a second year, actually. Hmm, it feels so strange, honestly. I could never imagine that two years could pass by this fast, while leave me with so many important lessons mostly about life.
I cannot stop criticizing my own country with its people's behavior. I cannot stop associating a news that I read on newspaper with specific person in that country. I cannot stop thinking, "Oh, when I was at UWC, I would do bla, bla, bla." I cannot stop reminiscing about UWC...
Maybe, that's why it's more convenient to call myself as a third year, instead of alumni, because I still feel that I'm a part of UWC in general. Maybe, that's why they called it as a lifetime commitment. Maybe, that's the reason why people want to come in 10 years after they graduate.
Maybe, I will not see ABQ Sunport/ Albuquerque International Airport anymore in 10 years.
6:00 p.m., May 24th 2012, ABQ Sunport.
Until then, let me say farewell to you. Adios, UWC-USA!