I love to jot things down here. Oh anyway, you may skip this post if you intend to find essential tips because you will see nothing but my wishy-washy story.

I couldn’t ask more for 6 days of ups and downs for participating in one of the most scholarship selection Indonesians would die for: LPDP Scholarship’s.

In mid October, I was notified through my account that I passed the administration phase and was obliged to attend the interview in this November. I spent more than 3 months to prepare the documents alone and I had yet entered the war; its substantive audition. This consists of interview, essay on the spot, and Leaderless Group Discussion. The real battle started here.

God and my closest circle knew how rushed and panic I was to prepare the interview. Weeks before I came to Jakarta, I practiced with my seniors and debate friends. First attempts were not good, far from ‘ready’. The way I talk bored them effortlessly, I appeared quite demanding thanks to the similar tension I felt whenever a POI comes up. ‘Get your shit together, Nin’, ‘I can’t help but yawning at your responses’, and the most hit-on-the-nail feedback, ‘be more humane’. I listed all the possible questions worrying how I should answer.

The latter trials were not satisfying as well. Yes, I made SLIGHT improvements in my speaking tone, but still, ‘you love to obscure things’, they claimed. No objection is needed. It was one or two days before my departure that I cried over the phone knowing how unprepared I was. I was practicing my interview with Bang Fadlan that night and never did I feel so sick of speaking English after these years. I finally let the burden go. I didn’t want to pressure myself. ‘Let’s make this small’ Bang Fadlan said and I couldn’t agree more on that. When I phoned Eka and Kak Winda for checking up my progress, I felt a tiny surge of confidence and relief. Half of the baggage was lifted.

The following morning, my parents took me to the airport and I realized that I am just their daughter, taking her ‘unassisted’ flight and…fight. I hugged them dearly and almost wet my eyelids. This must be how Bang Agung felt when he saw his dad carrying his backpack the day he left for the same test.

November 16th, 2016

I took my ride at 5 a.m and arrived ‘awkwardly’ half hour later. My aunt was with me and she didn’t intend to leave her niece alone.

As I got 9 vacant hours to fill (yes you read it right), I met several people that I knew through an online group. We exchanged stories; study destination, study preparation, and the rumored questions of the LGD and interview. I was delighted to witness something rare these days: brainy yet humble people.  They come from various academic backgrounds. Compared to mine, their social contributions and achievements are great. They are more than ready. Somehow, seeing them gives me a wake up call.

“What have you done?”

LGD and Essay on the spot (EOTS) session 

I got ‘Wacana Kerja Guru 8 jam’ as my topic of EOTS and I messed it. So, for those who want to tackle this session, please master IELTS Academic Writing 2 pattern and pay attention to our nation issue frequently.

Surprisingly, I could catch up in my LGD when we got ‘Brain Drain’ as our discussion theme. Eventhough I am the only one who came from Sumatra, everyone in my group was nice and listened to my opinion attentively.  We were monitored by two psychologists. They said nothing. So, make sure you guys (you and your group members) meet before having LGD. Know everyone’s characters, build good atmosphere, and last but not least, don’t be arrogant. You may conduct your mock LGD hours or 1-2 days before you have your real one provided you have got everyone’s contact.


In the following day, I got my turn. The interview itself only spent around 20-25 minutes and here is the list of questions (as far as I can remember):

  1. Why do you choose Birmingham?
  2. Who are the prominent figures of this institution?
  3. Why do you want to be a lecturer?
  4. What will you do if your voices aren’t heard? Will you insist it?
  5. Who will get the benefit from your study?
  6. Have you participated in any social communities?
  7. Have you ever been far away from home?
  8. Have you ever cheated on something?

The interview went smooth and was fully conducted in English. I thought I was dead nervous, but I let it go and somehow nailed it.


I didn’t pass it. Of course, I was devastated. But I am grateful that I managed that feeling. I am thankful that ‘I am ready to lose and I am ready to win’ is not empty words. It fills me.

Life goes in a circle.

5 years ago I also experienced the same two things. I failed both my relationship and my university entrance exam. The difference is, at that time I beared it alone and now I have these ‘rahangless’ pals (sorry guys lol) who could always give me  a hand. The following year, series of event brought to me to join debate, unexpectedly, which turned out to be one of the best decision I have ever made. So, on my naive account, perhaps 2017 will be a pack of surprises too.



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