Halfway through the (Sophomore) Slump

Hello. It’s been a while since I wrote something in this page, I know. This semester has been extremely hectic and stressful at times, and it’s extremely difficult to find any time to blog. Aaaand it’s officially coming to an end in a couple of days! As I started writing this post, I just finished my CS project after taking a final for one of my classes in the morning, leaving me with one last exam before finally leaving for home (!!!) on Saturday midnight.

This is my third semester as a college student! So how’s the so-called sophomore slump for me? Obviously, things weren’t as exciting as last year; I mean, I’ve tried all of the muffin flavors at the Blue Room, my life is basically half complete I’ve pretty much figured out how things work and how to navigate myself. And the fact that I was staying on campus for the entire summer made me even more used to the campus already. But then again, I didn’t really have any expectations of this semester in the first place, so I’m not sure myself. Plus, I’ll have yet have another semester to finally decide on that! 

Anyway, some highlights of the past four months:

Backpacking trip with BOLT to kick-start the semester!

Group Oprah on the summit of Mount Madison. Photo courtesy of Joy Yamaguchi.

I was enrolled in this program called Brown Outdoor Leadership Training – or BOLT for short, where I went for a 5-day backpacking trip to the White Mountains, NH, just before this semester started. There were seven other incoming sophomores and two leaders who were incoming juniors (that I did not yet know before the trip) in my group. It was really fun! The hiking was pretty hardcore for my standard, as my previous hiking experiences were limited to day hikes with a super easy trail that could be easily done even by a 14-year-old. BOLT is a really cool program and they planned out everything almost perfectly. I’m glad I decided to do it; it is and will be a highlight of my college experience!

Academic wise, the hardest semester… yet.

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I coded Tetris!

I am taking four STEM classes, and it’s been challenging. There are a lot of assignments – especially that super time-consuming E&M lab reports and CS projects, not to mention that the course materials themselves are pretty hard to understand. With that said, I’m really glad that I have absolutely learned a lot from all of my classes! I took (oh gosh, can’t believe that I wrote that I have to use past tense already!) this popular intro class offered by the CS department: CS 15, officially called Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, which basically teaches you how to code in Java. By the end of the course, I’ve coded Pacman and Tetris, and a bunch of other mini-projects, and although it was a lot of time commitment, it was absolutely worth-it! I decided to take the class almost three weeks late and had to spend some extra time and effort to catch up on some of the materials, but I am glad that things turned out well. In addition to that, I also took two Engineering classes (Electricity & Magnetism and Introduction to Materials Science) – from which I also learned so much! My fourth class is Introduction to Differential Equations, which is probably my least favorite class… just because I’m not enthusiastic about the topic. With that said, the professor is pretty hilarious and has quite a quirky sense of humor.

On-campus jobs – yes, plural!

This semester, I worked as a grader for a calculus class. It’s a pretty easy way to make some extra cash, so why not do it, right? i’m definitely much more excited about my other job, which is as a Science Communication Staff for Brown Science Center. What I did this semester was basically making posters for the Brown Chapter of Sigma Xi – a national honor research society. As for now, I – along with some other people affiliated with the Science Center – am working on an upcoming science event that aims to bring people from both science and humanities departments on a specific topic, which I am excited about. If everything goes as planned, the event will happen early next semester. I’ve never really worked before – my first job was as a server for the Faculty Club during the commencement week at Brown earlier this spring, as part-time jobs are not common back home in Indonesia, and so far, it’s been a good experience.

Saman dance performance

INCH performing the Saman dance. Photo courtesy of Hans Christian.

My friends and I performed at the annual Legends of the SEA, an event dedicated to celebrating the diversity of Southeast Asian cultures, for the second time. We incorporated new movements in our dance, so it was pretty different that what we did last year. Also, we had more people this time, which was great! It’s weird how I thought I was not the type of person who would like to perform in public, but then again, when there are only a handful of Indonesians where you are, I guess I can make some exceptions. 🙂 We may also perform at Boston College next year, which will be exciting, if that happens. We’ll see. You should check out the video on our Facebook page here. (And don’t forget like the page – shameless plug). Indonesian Network on College Hill is an organization we started last spring, and we are excited to share some of our unique and extremely diverse cultures with the College Hill, and the greater Providence area, community!

Thanksgiving break: Roadtrip to Meredith, NH

A white Thanksgiving well spent.
A white Thanksgiving well spent.

This Thanksgiving break, my friends and I drove (well, actually one of us did) up to the state of New Hampshire and stayed at a really nice cabin for two nights. It was snowing really hard when we went there, and let’s just say the drive was pretty adventurous. Meredith is a pretty little town, though there was not much to do. The place where we stayed was just by Lake Winnipesaukee, which is the largest lake in the state of New Hampshire. The lake was partially frozen when we were there; too bad it wasn’t frozen enough for ice skating!

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Our gourmet version of martabak Indomie. You know you’re a college student when modified instant noodle qualifies as something “gourmet”!

It was a really nice break, especially after an extremely hectic week with tons of assignments in addition to midterm season. We cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner and most of our other meals, so basically what we did there was cooking, eating, then waiting for the next time to cook (which was spent snacking – more eating, and watching movies). To be fair, we did a little bit of walking and some time outside making (or attempting, to be more precise) a snowman.

Looking back, this semester was actually pretty awesome! Now, just one more exam and I’ll be flying home in less than a week. Definitely looking forward for a warm Christmas break filled with sunshine, tropical beach, yummy Indonesian food, reading for pleasure, movie marathons, not worrying about when the next project is due, and most importantly, quality time with family and friends!

(Cover image courtesy of Indira Pranabudi)

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