How Did I Do After Failed One Fellowship and Three Scholarship Applications?

I might have mentioned it several times in my detox journal, disclosed this devastating news to my inner circle and some friends that wished to know how I am going through it. It was a never-ending storytelling of ups and downs in the last two months. I told my friends, parents, and extended family in which I try to accept it with utmost fortitude. Hence, I write this to disclose how I struggle with these devastating moments in this year. Thus I don’t have to reply each of your messages to tell you the old phrase ‘I am fine.’

I wasn’t good in academic history, but still, it was always a smooth tarred road. Went to the best secondary school and high school in town, registered in the best University with communication science major, finished my thesis on time with honor and had the opportunity to join a research with a German university (for two consecutive years). Soon after the project is over, I was bright-eyed and bushy-brained and prepared to absorb more academic input, knowledge, and ready to discover the bright future.

“Wait…wait…wait, slow there you little creature. Let’s add a slightly bumpy road and twist to your story,” said God.

And there it is. This year has never easy for me. Earlier this year, I quit learning German (for after three months of personal perseverance) because it was hard, and still is. I realized that absorbing academic input could be anywhere, even in the UK, Netherland, or Australia, not only in Germany. There, I tore down my dream to continue studying in Germany. As fun aside, it was like 2017 surprised me and ditched my life purposes in the very beginning.

Not taking all the failure of learning German very seriously, I started learning IELTS more tenacious than ever. I also prepared my scholarship application, meticulously observed the prospective place to study, and took my part to teach and conduct research at the University. There it goes, I obtained my IELTS results in May, just in time when I should apply to the University. Not long after that, I received an offer from two universities in the UK, as well as the confirmation of an unsuccessful scholarship application. That’s fine; it was just one.

After that, I prepared the scholarship application from Indonesian Government while taking care of My Mom. She had a car accident in May, and I took care of her for three months. In June, I obtained another offer to study in Australia which made my family grateful — I don’t have to travel that far and they probably could visit sometimes.

I had to go back to Bandung in July to continue working in the University as well as prepare myself for the further step of this grant from the government. By that time, my Mom was already okay and could do the activity herself. It was a hard time and calamity for me, but I valued the family time and bond with My Mom more than what I had in twenty years.

Also in July, I applied for a fellowship program between Goethe Institute and Paramadina University. It was the two weeks educational program to witness Islamic practice and civilizations in Germany, as well as getting the comprehensive picture of Muslims in Germany as a minority. You know the rest, I failed this one despite the very finest attempts: solemnly made a personal statement, got the proofread from a lecturer in Washington as well a student in Pennsylvania University, and delve every journal article with a similar topic. I know I could have repeated a great history; visiting Europe once again and assigned myself as a communication scholar with specific concern on the minority in the mass media (as I wanted to be precise with Islamic Practice in Germany). I received the information of unsuccessful application in August, but that’s okay.

“The biggest will await,” said me, hopefully.

Back to the long haul application that I put my heart into. I followed the series of processes in August and September (online psycho test and substantial phase) which include focus group discussion, on the spot essay writing, and the interview. I felt really good about all the processes, and surprisingly, I also failed this one. Like all my inner circle, my supporting system, and the lecturers didn’t believe that happen, and nor do I. October, the time I received the results, was a devastating moment coated with failure.

In the first one week, I had a swirl of thoughts, empty mind, hollow, and an inbox full of grieving. Thousands of why circulated over my brain, and most often I felt like, ‘Am I a liar?’ I didn’t lie when I said I was going to be a communication scholar. Embrace the lifetime with the academic journey, describe the phenomenon with research, influence and inspire the students with words and thoughts. I even plummeted myself into hypothetical, philosophical, and theoretical interest.

I knew at that time, the flow of despair, anxiety, and discontentment wouldn’t alter a dose of reality. There was no magic formula to change what already happened. Since that day, my life turned into a slightly bumpy road. The social pressure of “What’s next” is coming from family, friends, people I know as well as I hardly know (Who are you again?). The second week of disparity was spent with beating fear, self-doubt, uneasiness, and uncertainty.

Then, there comes the silver lining. I learned it the hard way that I am not into teaching and lecturing, not at the moment. I began to believe that lecturing needs more experience, more practical relevance that you should garner in the field, and most importantly, it’s a lifetime learning process. In my case, I believe that I could always go back to the university if I have enough knowledge and experience to deliver to the students.

And, just like that, I decided to quit and looking for the widespread opportunity out there. No, I didn’t just make this decision recklessly based on the driven of despair. It was after recurring conversations with the very close friends, support systems, and family. And most prominently, my pattern of behavior in the workplace.

In a brief mist of stupidity and perhaps romanticism, had thought that this was the ways in which adults, in which He, showed love — Rain Chudori

I refer to you, God. Thanks, I accept it gracefully, and I veraciously look up to thrive beyond this fiasco. I hardly realize that writing is my calling, no, it’s not lecturing. All over the world, it is just the matters of thoughts that could only be satisfied by a piece of paper. I knew that of all the responsibilities of being a lecturer, I like to write research article the most. I always had something valuable to say to the reader through a piece of paper, not through the far-from-perfect presentation I convey in the class.

Does it become more comfortable now? No, it doesn’t. It took a long time to recover — and it’s still going on, and it has never got easier. But does it feel right? Yes, it does. However, I do not wish to add some motivational quote to make you feel good. So, let’s cut the crap out of this and cease to overdramatize. Overall the friends who passed that scholarship from the Government, I learned this from them;

“It was a journey of blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”

And from God, I believe that firstly, failure is the prerequisite for success, it is the essential part. Secondly, many say that becoming an academic whose embrace and convey the knowledge and wisdom are the best, but perhaps it is not the best for me. And thirdly, maybe it is not the time yet.

I grew up believing that God has another plan, and through all the pain and hardship, He knows better. This misfortune and calamity is just another way to endure.

And just by the time I felt temporarily okay, I received another unsuccessful scholarship application from the email notification.

There you go!