Living Clinical Life

 

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The past one year was a definite long, bumpy road; countless unexpected things occurred. I had trouble adapting to life in clinic, of course it is not the tight schedule, but more to dealing with unhealthy environment. There has been too much negativity and judgements that I have to bear while keeping my life together. Although there will be one more year to come, at some point yours truly felt tired to face the whole complicated thing. Everything barely makes sense.

When you are a student, life in clinic is a myriad of mixed personalities, losing hopes, and ceaseless failures. This unquestionably transformed myself per se without having me realized when it started. Sometimes I am lacking of willingness to finish because some things—and people—are too complicated to fathom. As much as I am constantly immersing myself into positivity, the continuous exposure to negativity shaped the person I am now.

What becomes the issue is not really how to figure out the effective way to complete all of the case requirements, but how to react to those who perpetually bring people down on the way achieving common goals. I understand that dealing with people is manageable if not difficult, but when you are put into a pool of self-centered individuals, it is another story. It is grueling to keep myself sane while some are working alone, letting other people feel the suffering. The problem is not them working on their own but how their actions are harming other people who work hand in hand, putting fairness on top of everything.

Some are too glorifying their achievements, perhaps lacking of acknowledgement. Some are too righteous, seeing other people more inferior than them. Some are too unfair, hungering for equity when they never put others atop. I feel like surrounded by copious load of hatred, misfortune, and exasperation. It is, indeed, heartbreaking. However, I feel bad for them for not being able to see a thing from the good perspective, it must be exhausting to rely their happiness on other’s hardship.

Would it be very unfair that I only tell you from one perspective, I would say that clinical life has been teaching me the art of acceptance, respect, and other values of life which are far beyond extracting teeth and doing a good restoration.

There are people who have genuine interest to help and offer their hands to support us who are in need—knowing that their action makes everything at ease. They never feel burdened to trade their personal matter with communal benefits. People to whom I owe my life.

In between the journey, I also met those who live in modesty, or at least they seemed to be. Most of them are from poor family, and yet very thankful for their lives. Their stories broke my heart, I met a kid who is always happy and excited; it turned out that she is from a broken family who do not even own a house. On another occasion, I talked to a single mom who succeed to raise two children on her own. It hit me hard—it was a shame for me that I could not be thankful enough for my life that is filled with good company and pleasant past.

Over the time, I learn the hard way that accepting the fate that we despise might not be easy, but it is never impossible. All we need is to complain less, allowing a space to embrace the moment. As a friend of mine always said to me, in the end you will reach the finish line but your road might be bumpier than some, your journey might be more arduous than the others. That is what makes you going and growing, that is what shapes you. Despite all, for whatever I have accomplished in life so far, I am thankful.

Practicing Mindfulness

Having been occupied by clinical rotations life in the past few months, I found it difficult to find a perfect time to do a self-care, or at least spare some time to be on my own. Time has been moving so fast and I could hardly believe I am in my eighth month of clerkship period to date.

I used to possess so much negativity in my body, especially in the beginning of the rotation, without knowing that it drained my energy and drowned me to having a worse mental health. Now that I apprehend if it is distressing, I make every effort to take every single thing that happens to me with positivity.

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These days I have been more picky in choosing with who I want to spend the day, not because I detest certain types of people but more to the idea of valuing my time. I have been listening to positive, constructive advices rather than wasting my energy on responding hatred and negative feedbacks. I tend to follow what my heart wants and stop doing things for the sake of pleasing other parties.

Aside of those, I also practice mindfulness to literally keep me sane to go through endless shifts and assignments. As an introverted extrovert myself, I oftentimes have the urge to release stress in some ways. Be it doing yoga every now and then, filling out gratitude log everyday before bed, writing to-do list every morning, completing my adult coloring book, and making homemade matcha-latte or iced chocolate.

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Never did it crossed my mind if those small things that I continuously do give so many benefits to me as a, without any exaggeration, human being. Every reflection that I write daily makes me perceive a problem as just another event because that, too, shall pass. In every breath that I take during a yoga session, I balance myself and put myself in peace. Every gratitude log that I fill makes me aware that happiness comes from the littlest thing.

While my relationship to God is mine to keep, I do believe that my spiritual needs also have to be fulfilled.

As much as I practice mindfulness, I push myself to live with less. Of course I have yet to be a complete minimalist, but being able to spend a day without taking out a penny from my pocket is just a pure bliss. Decluttering things that would most likely be useless in the future and saying no to everything that is not within our best interest are obviously difficult to do, but when we do it, there will be a huge relief following that.

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All in all, even though clinical rotations distressing me to some extent, I am beyond happy to see things from another standpoint–which is actually more exciting. And although pleasing other people seems to be a good idea, trust me, having a particular time to do self-care is more satisfying. While I do believe that in some cases it is paramount to put other people first, it is equally essential to take care of both your physical and mental health. Most importantly, do not forget to travel more, hear the sound of the nature. Indeed, it is calming per se.


p.s.: As I am currently in oral surgery rotation, if you are in Yogyakarta region and have a problem with your impacted wisdom teeth or simply want to consult about it, please feel free to contact me! I am very happy to help! 🙂

366 Days of Blessing

If I could describe how this year had been going, it would be challenging and yet full of blessing. It gave me a stack of precious lessons, especially to my inner ego that had been hampering myself to move forward. That infamous your biggest challenge is yourself quote apparently happened to yours truly. In spite of that, I feel like I was showered with much blessings this year without me barely noticed it.

I started the year with nothing, I did not expect I could pass every step to develop myself, both academically and personally. I began the year participating in a youth conference with very little experience compared to other delegates. It was one of those times when I realized that I barely did nothing to help people in need. Not to mention that there were many amazing, young leaders who showcased their capability and presented their remarkable projects to achieve SDGs. I did not explore much of the city, but I went home with valuable experience.

I have learned a lot to see the silver lining of every cloud. Like those times when many of my friends were able to present their research proposal sooner than I did. By that moment, I knew if I needed to push myself harder instead of complaining too much about shit that happened–even though I still believe that shit happened and it was inevitable. The silver lining was that I had apprehended that I will succeed to achieve something only if I worked for it. And I made it. I managed to present my research proposal the second month.

The next couple of months I set myself loose. Having myself exhausted at the very beginning of the year, I decided to spend most of my days at a coffee shop. I baked my very first successful apple pie. I took my little bro to go on a grocery shopping. Small things that made me smiled every single day.

Getting myself back in track, I broke my own limit. I gave everything for the sake of my research because I needed to graduate as soon as possible considering that my major takes a solid 6 years for its students to really go to work. If I used to take my research lightly, by that time I was more ambitious to score and hit the post because if not now then when? It upset me knowing that I encountered major technical problem during my lab experiment, but then people kept telling me to continue so I did.

In 2016 I had more coffee talks with my friends who I barely talked to before and each person had a unique story of their life. I embraced times when I was able to have a good conversation with someone because they made their time for me, and how could I be not grateful at all? More importantly, I began caring people who I treasure the most and leaving out those who always knocked me down just because they were not worth my time.

I felt like this year I tend to let myself down pretty easily, I did not recover that quick, and I used to think that it was my lowest point in life. I made it as a reminder that life is not always good, it may be a bumpy road at times. You do not wait for a miracle to happen, you work for it, very hard.

The most important thing is that I am beyond thankful that this year life has brought me to many places, both literally and figuratively. I managed to graduate and started clinical clerkship on time, not to mention that I have been surrounded by people who love me for who I am. I do not know what’s next, but life always has its own way to surprise us when we least expect it.

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What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Happiness

There is always one moment when you give up on life, whether it is the endless tasks, lack of support system, arguing over something with one another, losing a debate, failing a test, and so on. There is, too, a moment when all you need is being away, as far as you could, from the distressing crowd in town, away from being stuck in traffic, away from everything but serendipity.

At times you wonder why something does not work on you but it does on someone else. At other times you wonder why your mind is occupied by a constant fear that your life might be a useless one. But most of all, you are just tired with everything that you could not articulate it into stories, not even able to tell it to anyone. It is, too, complicated.

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Life, for the most part, hits you with a lemon out of nowhere, even when your tequila might not be ready. But one day, your works will be paid off. One day, you would not care about negative judgements about you because you would be the one who should be responsible with your own happiness. One day, your time would be too precious to waste on people and things that would not make you move forward.

It is fine that at times all you need is equanimity, if that is the only thing that keeps you sane. It is perfectly fine. You deserve it, so does everyone. But most importantly, be grateful—amazing things will happen. Stay still, you are too strong to give it all up right away. It is your life, do not put it in the hands of somebody else.

You deserve to be content, remember?

So go, read your favorite poems, go to the beach, ride a roller coaster, or cry—if that helps healing your forlorn self.

The Day I Decided to Put On My Hijab

It is indeed funny that we, on a daily basis, are often judged by our outer appearance. Has it been so unfair that our merit is sometimes questioned by many, especially when our appearance does not, at all, fulfil the constructed standard of beauty within society. This obviously sounds funny, but that is true. It happens.

In the last three months, I have gotten the same question addressed to me by many people. That question was, “When did you start wearing a hijab?” And by hijab they meant a scarf that does not only cover my head, but also down to my chest. I have been wearing headscarf every time I go to school since I was a first grader.

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Born to Muslim parents, I had no choice to choose my faithin whom or what I want to believe, nor how I supposed to fulfil my spiritual needs. I was asked to pray five times, to do fasting when it comes to the holy month Ramadan, to be told what to pray before eating. I followed that, however, as I exposed myself to a wider society I found that apparently we had zillion options when it comes to faith.

Had I asked my friends about their religions, I was in awe knowing how unique theirs are. Learning more about other religions makes me curious about my own religion, I asked about Islam to those who know more, I read verses in Quran, and as I learned more about this religion—I fell in love. Islam teaches me a lot of things, of living as a whole human, of reacting upon certain thing, of embracing life.

Witnessing friends of mine making a solid decision from not wearing a hijab to wearing one inspired me to step up a little further in term of faith. So one day, I decided to wear a hijab—not a headscarf. Prior to that day, of course yours truly contemplated many things. Would this affect my daily activity? Would this alter the way people look at me? Or, is it the other way around?

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The decision was made after someone said to me to dress whatever I want regardless of what people think. It feels so good to wear a hijab, to me personally. Had you asked about the aftereffect, I would say, I still got catcalled when I walked on the street because catcalling was not affected by women’s dress. But I got the sense of security beneath my hijab. Not a sense of security that would prevent myself from getting a catcall, but a sense of security to the level that I feel comfortable being myself. I am wearing a hijab because I want to fulfil my spiritual needs.

The knowledge of oneself about faith and religion is not represented by how he/she dress up. I have yet to understand so well about my religion and whatnots. I does not always pray on time. I does not deeply understand about the history of Islam nor how we should behave according to the Quran. I only do one of many obligations of being a muslim. Just because someone wears a hijab does not mean that she knows very well about Islam. Even if she did, who are we to judge?

One day, a friend of mine asked me to behave the way I supposed to behave. I was totally upset, “So now there is a standard of how a woman—or a hijabi—should behave?” I explained that I honestly do not know which one is better, a woman who wears a dress and yet is very bubbly or a woman who wears sneakers and jeans but is very sweet, polite, and calm? Actually, there is no right option because hey, no one has the rights to tell women how they should behave.

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After a couple of months wearing a hijab, I still think the way I think before I was wearing a hijab. I assume it is safe to say that nothing has changed the way I see things, not even my hijab; except one thing: I learn to be more tolerant than ever. I am still open to anything, I still grab a coffee in town with my friends, I still listen to Gregory Alan Isakov, I still adore Victoria Beckham, I still successfully clear immigration check, I still make friends with my gay friends (I know, you would say LGBTQ is against Islam, but can we just befriend anyone per se without linking anything to religion? It is 2016, ladies and gentlemen.)

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I do not change because of my hijab. When I change some parts of myself, that is not because of what I wear, that is because something needs to change.

For this very moment, can we, human, interact with each other without minding about their faith, skin, race, age, and sexuality? 


p.s.: Recommended talks on women and hijab by Dalia Mogahed and Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

p.p.s.: Confusion about the obligation of a muslim to wear hijab still takes place. It is written in the Quran that women should not expose their adornment and to wrap their headcover over their chest. I am not God, so I will not shout at you and say that you will go to hell when you do not wear hijab; because wearing a hijab also does not grant anyone to go to heaven, too.

Life Post Graduation

Exactly two weeks ago, I officially got my very first degree in higher education with a huge smile on my face. Not only that both of my parents were able to attend the graduation ceremony, but also having my works in the past four years valued with a bachelor title behind my name were the reasons. Two more years of clinical life has yet to come, as many of my colleagues said that clinical life is much more arduous than undergrads life, treating myself a voyage to places I have never been before facing the seemingly scary years ahead was on my first list.

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Approaching a complete different life is not something that yours truly masters. I started this new life without the presence of full family members as per July my mother and siblings moved to another country for another year. There is undoubtedly nothing wrong with living at home only with a father considering that my family could not seem to care less about being away from one to another. I mean, that is not a big deal. Dad and I are splitting houseworks, I am doing the cooking by the evening and he is doing the dishes. In the morning, we eat leftover from the night before or I will just take up cereal.

But what makes it unique is that I started to learn much more about things I have never thought before. Since mom was the one who kept everything at hand, now I need to takeover some of her jobs. She challenged me to manage the financial plan for house needs–electricity, salary, groceries, and so forth. As expected, it did not well at the first several weeks. I kept forgetting to write down the expenses each day. Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it?

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Having my life softly taken away college-wise for a quite long period of time, I have always tried to appreciate time more than anything else whenever it comes to free time–which is actually rarely happens to a dental student. I do remember the day that I did my bachelor thesis defense, I had a good 50 minutes inside the examination room from 8 in the morning. In the evening, I worked on my final revision of my research paper and submit it the next day just because I could not handle another day to live my days of being a non-official graduate peacefully.

I literally spent no less than a month watching YouTube, from channel as important as Vox to channels as casual as video blogs I have never heard before. I did not spend much time in the kitchen–shall I understand more about myself that I only cook and bake when I need to relieve stress. Beside all that, I also did not go to the cinema any more often than I ever did in college life. The most obvious activity that I did was sleeping–yes, I slept longer than I should every single day.

Beyond that, I have been challenging myself to be more productive and healthier, especially after my graduation. Involving myself to social and business projects is one of the way to keep the productive mind inside of me. Learning not to be a socially awkward penguin when it comes to a new surrounding, seeing other people falling and cheering them up, familiarising oneself with the art of letting go of things and people, understanding the hardships others experiencing. Those are just other ways of trying to be human.

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Aside of all that, as I just entered the clinical life at the dental school, I acquire a knowledge of being a medical professional. The more I read up on the lesson, the more I am aware that being a medical professional means that we put our patients on top of everything, including our personal life to some extent. By committing to be a medical or dental students, by default we agree that most of our life should be dedicated to study, that means lesser time for social life, personal life, and of course procrastinating. It seems like the terms and conditions that comes in a package.

Nevertheless, I set up new routine to take care of everything at one hand. It is a bullet journal. That helps a lot to write down a to do list, make an overview of upcoming events, create weekly meal plan, take a note of how long I sleep and how many glass of water I drink each day, keep a gratitude log. In addition, I am trying to eat out less and instead making homemade foods in the kitchen. As someone who is not into sport–I only swim for once in a while–I do my best to have a morning yoga to stay focus and productive amidst the full activity in a whole day.

Wish me luck on pursuing two more years of study to be a dentist–a healthcare professional.


p.s.: Thank you everyone for the sweet words, cool gifts, and sincere prayers that I gladly received on my pre, during, and post graduation as well as today, my 20th birthday. I could thank you guys enough for being a good support system to yours truly. I hope your day is just as amazing as mine. I do feel loved, verily.

We Are Small: On Feeling More Superior

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We are small. We really are small.

One day I had a look on an image of Earth taken from the ISS station by Dr. Scott Kelly. Every time he posted a photo from the outer space, I realised how small I am. An island on Earth was even only seen as a tiny spot from deep space. What about us? Not even a speck of dust within the galaxy.

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We are small. We really are small.

With that being said, we are still mocking each other, we are still trying to bring other people down, we are still miserable to see each other’s victory, we are still treating people by the colour of their skin and complexion. We still make everyone else’s weakness for our ground zero in terms of happiness. I ponder over it and have yet to figure out the answer.

I know, I know not everyone was born with that outwardly vicious trait; notwithstanding, I wonder why on Earth we still do that while comprehending the fact that we all are just a human being like everybody else. I failed to decipher why we are mean to the others who are, frankly, are just the same human being after all.

As much as we contest it, we for the most part judge people or at least talk about people we see on the street. Giving prejudgement about them, regardless of how good or bad our opinions about them are.

 

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We are so small, yet we mind each other’s business as if we mattered to them. We let everybody else wretched. We call a friend a traitor only because she/he once was not able to say yes when we asked for a help. We consider our partner cheating on us only because she/he was having a lunch with someone else to talk about a project or a business idea. We so easily put the blame on others like we are the most perfect individual ever.

We are so small, yet we often show off our wealth to other people and brag about it, not knowing how they are feeling when we do it. Some people will be okay when we brag about something, but some others are less lucky than us that their heart may break seeing what we do acknowledging how difficult it is for them to reach a point at which we are standing.

This is not me setting a standard of being an ideal human being because we all are flawed. We, too, all are ideal, at least to what we think. Nonetheless let’s just take a moment of silence to think and contemplate about it. Why do we do such things? Why do we do things that will only make others feeling more inferior? Why we more often than not think that we are the most perfect individual?

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Maybe, just maybe, the answer resides there; in a place we could yet discover. Maybe, just maybe, the answer will make us fully apprehend that we have flaws, just like everyone else. In the end, I guess the answer can only be discovered when we open our minds and hearts as well as stay positive about people and stay true to ourselves.

Up in the air, July 29, 2016.