“Will there be a mandatory history course on campus?” asked a 15 year old Josef during a presentation by his high school alumni. During high school, I’ve always found myself failing the subject and having no interest to study history at all, except to retake the exams. Now, I feel like I’m in a different mental capacity, as I finished my Norwegian History course and exam. Although one may credit the better education system in Norway than Indonesia, but having the right attitude towards learning would be more important. I take this moment to ponder and think about what I have done in the past 10 years.
Although I was never behind in my studies, I would still call myself an underachiever. People who knew me as a child would probably assume I’m a studious person, although my parents can attest that this was not the case. I was one of the kid who would just study enough to pass their exams, and do any other things they enjoyed, for me it was computer games, singing, and occasionally playing the piano/keyboard. Fortunately for me, I never thought that I’d be good in any of them, preventing me from getting side-tracked from my studies. At this point, I was just a shy, sometimes goofy kid, who didn’t know better what to do. Images below would show a low-resolution of my goofiness in high school and middle school.
I had no idea what career to pursue, I didn’t really know what major to choose. At the end of my high school years, Electrical Engineering was very popular, I figured I was good with Physics, especially Electricity. This was a recurring theme during this period of my life, following what is perceived to be good, not out of self-motivation but from other people’s point-of-view. If I were to choose another field where I have no fundamental competence to go through the field, I would’ve been in shambles. However, I was glad to have the supportive friends to help me went through college smoothly.
When I graduated, I began to understand what I’m actually good at, solving problems, discussion, and a bit later in my professional experience, present and pitching my ideas. I wouldn’t have expected this development to happen. I had always thought of myself to be a timid person, everyone said I was a nice guy, but I didn’t know why and what kind of person I was. As I gained more experience, had more exposure and had to deal with more people. I knew how to leverage my personality, to be kind but not a pushover, to try and be confident, but not cocky. I could feel I was learning more about myself, and improving little by little, until I find myself blocked from learning.
I’ve gone through my life not realizing I had a childhood trauma that needed to be fixed, up until one point, one issue could trigger my trauma and kept me down. Trauma-healing was an important milestone in my progress, I was able to address my trauma, dismiss the problem before it went too far. I talked to a psychologist and was able to pinpoint my problem, I’ve always put other people as a priority before myself. Now that I’m abroad by myself, I have taken ownership of what I do, what I learn, and what I love, this has been a great healing process for me.
As I’m writing this, I’m rediscovering myself, what my hobbies are, what my interests are, what my goals in live are. I’ve stopped caring too much about what other people think of me. Rediscovering the kid in me, while also acknowledging I have come along way since 10 years ago. I still have to continue reshaping myself, loving myself, and proceed with what I love for the years to come. Perhaps, when you meet me 10 years later, I’ll be yet another person with different energy and outlook in life.