The Adversities that Help Me to Reimagine My Goal
You are on a ship in the middle of the sea with a bunch of skillful men who works as your crewmates. You can see waving flags and hear cheerful sound from the crowds on the island you just departed from. Your journey has just started; a voyage in the uncertain sea.
This is what I felt when I graduated from high school, anticipating for the next journey in the college four years ago.
My life planning was not the life I am living right now; I never imagined I would be an educator. Back then, I hated every aspect of education—criticizing and gaslighting curriculum, schools, teachers salary, and even the teachers themselves. You can read the criticism written by a 15-year-old me in this post. Instead of dreaming to work at school, I told myself to never get in touch with school anymore after I graduate.
Not until the first rogue wave hit my ship right after I finished high school.
It looked like a storm, you can feel the force of the water tried to overpower your ship.
Adversity #1: Rejection
I was really confident to begin my college at a local seminary in Malang. Everybody told me that I would make it and excel the classes because of my strong persona I have built in high school as a religious person. Even some of the elders of my church told me to go back and serve there. They guaranteed me a full-time job before I get in to college!
However, the rejection letter from that seminary came with tears. The reason to the rejection was because of my personal issue that could not be disclosed to you, but I can tell that the issue is deeply embarrassing and heart-breaking to me and my parents.
I was scattered into pieces. With no power to think and decide anything, I took a gap year by teaching two extracurricular classes at a junior high school where I used to study. It looked like I survived the first wave, right before I faced the second.
Still recovering from the first wave, another tidal wave encountered me and taught me… the hard way.
Adversity 2: Passion
The word passion has been overused and misleading among many. We are currently living in a world where living your passion is highly encouraged, without a clear context of what passion is and what it is not.
The same issue happened when I taught my first class at the school. I mumbled to myself, “This is not my passion. I’m not gonna ace this.” I was right. The first experience of teaching was the worst. It was full of filler words, my ideas were all over the place, and my students seem didn’t understand.
However it didn’t last long until I knew that some of my student had family issues. They did not receive the safety, love, and acceptance that they deserve within their families. Thus, they could not perform well at school. Instead, they seek for people’s attention that made people to label them as anak nakal. At that moment, I knew that my role as a teacher could do something with this issue, at least by being able to interact with them 4–6 hours a week. I became attached to them.
This feeling drives me to do more than just mere teaching. I did not want to blindly follow the books and make sure everyone has their grades on their semester report. What came to my mind was, I could be their friends.
From 40 students trusted to me in two classes, I managed a close relationship with some of them in numerous out-of-class activities.
Casual conversations made me realize the cluelessness of action steps they need to do to pursue their dreams. I also figured out some access limitations these students face due to the geographic and financial constraints. It is sad to see that they could not pursue their dreams just because they come from a little town that you might never heard of. Since that experience, I became determined to be one of the voice and changemaker in Indonesia for those children who are unable to pursue their dreams due to their financial instability and low proximity to opportunities.
Despite the fact that teaching is not highly respected in Indonesia, as seen from the salary and teachers’ welfare around the country, my purpose has been set to work on this issue. I clearly know the consequences and how hard it could be, but the passion drives me to go.
This aligns with the root word for passion, passio (Latin) that means suffering. If I were to live my passion, that this means I live to suffer—and it’s fine. Passion should not be something that focus on success, fame, nor wealth. It’s suffering, man!
Well, this is a hard decision that I do not regret at all. This path has led me to a priceless realization of my life meaning, which is to pay things forward. I no longer want to live for myself but for others that serve the greater good.
My view on education is now shifted to be something closely related with growth and transformation. Luckily, I have been transformed by the education itself up until now, and I expect to be even more transformed in the future. I just need to have an open mind and heart to get through the process.
“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Rejection and passion. Two things that do not sound good to me at the beginning have turned out to be the helper for me to reimagine my goal. Rejection has led me to encounter detours. Passion has taught me to live by purpose. Both have turned out to be good, even though I had to get through it with tears.
Am I always able to embrace rejection and passion? Honestly, not really. However, constant reflections should be helpful for me to figure out what on earth am I here for.
The person who used to think that live is for himself no longer buys such ideology. He now sees the bigger picture of his life through adversities that did not feel good at first. His goal is now to give back for others. He once was blind, but now he sees.
Ernest Prakasa, a well-known comedian from Indonesia, summed this up perfectly in a post on September 10, 2020. He highlighted the importance of hardships in order to grow.
“There is no education like adversity.”
― Benjamin Disraeli, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom