Throughout my 12-year education stages from elementary school until now in college, college, from my point of view, is the one that teaches me a lot of life lessons. The college stage is unforgettable and impressive. I am a junior right now. Three years on campus really made me realize many things in life. I have many great experiences and moments in this stage that vary from bitter and sad until ecstatic and joyous moments. Let me share with you about those experiences and moments that make me learn abundant things about life.

For me, learning has broad meanings. It is beyond the classroom. But firstly, I am so thankful I can reach to this college level. And let me share with you also a little bit story about my difficult background. Well, I came from an impoverished and uneducated family. We barely ate nutritious food. We even do not have a house. And my family, even worse, ever been kicked out from the house. We stayed in the street for hours because we did not have money to rent a place or other kind relatives to be asked for help, really miserable. However, I am not ashamed of that. I believe it is a fate from Allah and still, I should be grateful for that. I believe there are also people out there who might experience worse things than me. That’s also why my father always told me to study hard. He does not want those things to happen again. He believes that because of his low education, we were experiencing those miserable things. Thank God, those hard days were passed and today’s situation is so much better than what I could imagine.

The first lesson college has taught me is about reading.

Yes, reading changes my life.

I keep studying and do my best, until one day, I read a book. It all started with this book. This book really changed my life. That book title is Jurus Kuliah ke Luar Negeri by Inspira Publishing. It is a book that shares the stories of Indonesian who study abroad. At that age, I was 17, I knew nothing about the world. I even still did not know what I wanted to do in my life. This book inspires me a lot and shows me the path to a better life. It also makes me realize what I actually really like and want in life. It led me to enter my major (English Education Study Program) and started my amazing journey in college.

From semester 1 until 6, I wrote my dreams down. I wrote about my targets and goals. For me, it is like prayers. I start dreaming. I followed what the book said. I wrote down what I really want to do in my life, hmm, not exactly what I really want to do with my life. To be honest, even until now, I am still figuring things out, I just wrote good things. My dream in the very beginning was I wanted to travel. I don’t know why I want that. But, I think it is a good thing to experience. In that miserable situation, it is an impossible thing to reach for me. At that time, I was just an inexperienced girl that knew nothing about the world. I was just so optimistic and naïve.

Then, I start with the mindset of always trying, you will never know until you try. At that time, I didn’t know how to control and manage disappointments and pains. I am not saying that right now I am an expert in managing those things, but, I get better than before. I was a young immature girl. Often times, I beat myself up for all of my failures. I even hated myself.

In semester 2, I finally could reach one of my dreams. I know this achievement is maybe still nothing for some people. My dream is to travel for free and even get paid for doing that. I really did that. Maybe for some people, it is part of their everyday lives. But for me, as a poor student, it is really an amazing thing to experience. I traveled to Jakarta because I won a competition. I got a chance to present my short film in an event called 365 Digital Storytelling Network by MyAmerica US Embassy in Indonesia. I was so thrilled. Finally, I got recognition and appreciation. My hard work paid me off. It really warms my soul. I found myself really happy.

The second lesson is about mindset.

In the journey, of course, there will definitely be obstacles and trials. I have to deal with people. I am naïve. I am inexperienced. I easily believe what they told and think of me. And I just found that human is really mean and cruel. They really kill. Not to say that I am not a human too. But, I learn a lot of things from here. You should be more patient in life. Don’t expect from people. Finally, in semester 3, I met bad people. I experienced many horrible things. At that time, I knew nothing about coping and handling problems. Of course, not only me, but I think the whole world also experienced those bad things. I experienced bad things such as being treated poorly, being talk behind your back, and being left out. Those things are normal. Move on, although it really hurts. I believe that there will still be people out there that their conditions might be worse than me and I still should be grateful.

There is one thing. The name of this thing is grit. It is a combination of hope, effort, and perseverance. This is the only thing for success. And from religious perspectives, there is another thing called tawakkal. When you are doing your best, then leave it to God’s hand. His plan is, of course, better than yours. It is true. On my semester 4, I won again a competition. It made me travel abroad for the first time in my life. It was the most beautiful moment in my life. My family and friends are so proud of me. I won a 2-week trip to travel around cities in China and Indonesia. In the beginning, I could not believe at all. It was totally surreal. On my semester 5, the rezeki fortune came again. I represented my campus to visit Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuching, Malaysia in international conferences. I still could not believe those things happened to me. How it can be me? Who am I? I am still nobody. What I did in the Student Executive Board (BEM) was just the usual things. I believe Allah trusts and appreciates all of my sincere efforts and prayers.

The third lesson is about accepting the situation.

Right now I am on semester 6. This semester for me is super hard. I am in a difficult time right now. I think I know about my friends. But, it turns out, I do not know them at all. I experienced rejections and left out. It really hurts. I cried. But, you know what, it is actually a really small matter. It is not a big deal. And I admit that in my own class, I feel really lonely actually. But, the thing is I have to realize and learn that there are things out there that beyond my control, and I just have to accept the things. I just have to learn to accept myself, to embrace the failures and imperfections, to smile and move on, to be grateful, to keep learning, and to keep trying my best.

My message is actually simple, we only have to be positive and carry on. Try our best to be patient and to be strong. In that very hard situation life puts us in, again be patient and be strong. Remember, it is okay to be angry and sad. But, try our best to manage it. Always look at other perspectives. Other people might experience worse things than us. Don’t stay in that sad situation for too long. Believe in the miracle. Believe in the principle that this storm will pass, and there will be a beautiful rainbow awaits us. We will be in a better place for sure. It is actually my experience of learning beyond the classroom. It is my experience dealing with my classmates in college. Remember, we should not beat ourselves up, or blame ourselves all the time. We are loved. For the difficult and hard time, be patient, and be strong. And for the good time, be grateful. Keep learning, keep praying, and keep trying our best are really the best things that we can do. Those are the things that college has taught me so far.

This piece of writing already is already been published in the form of a monograph entitled Global Bridges: Learning Trajectories. Global Bridges is the international academic collaboration between TESL Unit ITE Rajang Campus and Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Ingrris FKIP Universitas Tanjungpura.