Saturday, January 06, 2018

Substansi LPDP 2018

I believe that…
PREPARATION IS YOUR KEY TO BRING THE BEST OF YOU, BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS BEST TO START AT THE VERY BEGINNING.
Hallo Good people 
I haven’t shared with you about my post-graduation life so far…These past months I was preparing myself to obtain LPDP Scholarship to continue my study. I spent a lot of time to prepare for this scholarship, which I divided into several points below:

#1 Determined to continue studying and fixed the specialization
Through Bachelor study in plant pest and disease, I’ve discovered passion for what I’m doing, what I really enjoy and do very well. I’m determined to continue my further study, so I browsed for suitable universities worldwide,
including immediate scholarships opportunities. I look through numerous great unis and made a list of the ones I’m interested with. When I did this, I compared them based on searching their research outcomes, study curriculum and environment, as well as possible follow-ups after Master graduation.

Finally, these three universities were chosen, I wrote them based on my preferences
1. Wageningen University, Netherlands  : Environmental Sciences
2. Cornel University, USA : Plant Science 
3. Twente University, Netherlands : Environmental management 
4. University of Leeds, UK  : Plant of Biotechnology 
5. Australia National University : Biotechnology 

Then I secured a seat in Wageningen University (will write about this on a separate post).
Next! It’s time to win a scholarship!!! (ง •̀_•́)ง
#2 Research about LPDP, then submitted my LPDP scholarship application
After I got the Unconditional Letter of Acceptance from Wageningen, I process my application to LPDP Scholarship, one of the most prestigious & nation-wide scholarship in the country. I know it won’t be as easy to obtain LPDP since so many students apply for this scholarship.
I prepared every document really well, asked advice from alumni, awardees, lecturers, parents, friends… Basically just gather as much information as I can to improve the application documents.
I drafted, read and revised, read and revised all the essays: “My contribution for Indonesia” and “The Biggest Success in My Life”, as well as “The Study Plan”. These three documents were really really important, because these documents represents your values and missions to the evaluators. When you passed the first screening, you would have to account for every detail that you’ve written in the interview sessions. Thus, after I got confident with all the documents prepared, I submitted them to LPDP.
While waiting the first screening results to be announced, I have around 1.5 month to prepare the second screening process:
#3 I studied myself, my CV, my Bachelor research. I made a list of highlighted achievements and describe my role in each one, wrote in down in one sentence, then compiled them to a file. Just in case I am asked about it in the interview I can describe it straightforwardly.
#4 Learned about my field of interests for the future plan in detailed by following online courses, doing projects in my faculty and writing articles. These kept my brain working and prevent me from being bored despite my “unemployed” status.
#5 Prepare for On-the-spot essay writing and Leaderless Group Discussion (LGD). I read many blog posts from LPDP applicants and awardees, learn the tips and possible topics that might come. I’m not really a person who follows the news, especially in politics. But I have prepare myself for this: I listed the topics down and browsed through the media and saved the related-news in youtube to a dedicated playlist. Whenever I have the mood to study, I can stream the news from the playlist.
Turns out this helps me a lot, really!

#6 Prepare answers for possible interview questions. Just like the previous points, I research about possible interview questions. Listed them down in a file and wrote my answer carefully through days.
Many have collected their past question, wrote a recap from their interview, giving tips regarding the interview selection process… I cannot remember every articles I read, but I’m grateful for their shares as it benefits me as well. I’ve also committed myself  to share a complete story about my LPDP application process, regardless I passed or not.
I continue writing about my experience on the second screening of LPDP scholarship.
As most of you know, the second screening consist of three parts:
#1 On-the-spot Essay Writing (EOTS) – 15%
#2 Leaderless Group Discussion (LGD) – 15%
#3 Interview – 70%
Today I did my interview test! So excited and enthusiast!

٩(⁎❛ᴗ❛⁎)۶
A little nervous, but the preparation has build my confidence and I kept my finger crossed and pray so I could bring out the best of me during the interview session.

Around 09.30 am, I got called to the Fourth Interviewer Group, they were two experts and one psychologist. I’m gonna write about our conversation below*. It’s not the exact sentences but I covered most of the questions and answers:
*My Interviewers’ dialogs are written as A, B, C and colored in blue, and my dialogs is “me” and colored in brown.
  • Me:
    Good morning.
  • A:
    Good morning, Agung Wicaksono . Please have a seat…
  • Okay, Agung Wicaksono , first please tell me about your bachelor research
  • Me: 
  • I have several research on my thesis and my journal, Ok I will tell you about my thesis, I research about plant pest and disease bacteria from Blood disease bacterium and then I was using banana fruit for isolation and treatment and second my research about nanotechnology where is my interesting. 
    I did research on how to synthesize gold nanoparticle, from golden ion substrate to colloidal gold (AuNPs), using intrinsic property of Synechococcus, a species from Cyanobacteria. In details, I optimize the amount of substrate,
  • suitable pH, buffer, and temperature.The resulting gold nanoparticle’s size, shapes and purity are analyzed, and finally the enzymes which are possibly responsible for the synthesis process were identified.

  • A:
    What’s the application of gold nanoparticle?
  • Me:
    AuNPs can be used as drug deliverer, cosmetic carrier, and topical vaccines. My research focused on the synthesis part, but several lab members in the research group are doing research on this particular topics.

  • A:
    What do you want to research in the future?
  • Me:
    I want to overcome one bottleneck in microalgae mass cultivation: the harvesting method. The idea is to use natural flocculant to harvest algae efficiently, fast and cost-effective.

  • A:
    Have you made a contact with the professor? Do you have the proof?
  • Me:
    Yes, I’ve made contact to the research group about possible projects that I can do for Master thesis. Here’s the proof of my correspondence with them. (I brought a print-out of the email conversation).

  • B:Why do you choose to study microalgae?
  • Me:
    Microalgae has promising benefits, and through continuing study especially these past months, I’ve grown more and more optimist that microalgae cultivation can be successful in Indonesia. We need more experts that practice real microalgae cultivation in Indonesia.

  • A:
    Do you consider other universities besides Wageningen?
  • Me:
    Yes, I already browsed through many universities. Besides Wageningen, I also consider Cornell University and University of Twente . But since my first choice Is Wageningen, I haven’t made any personal contact with the other two choices yet.

  • B:
    Tell me about post-graduate activities
  • Me:
    I often visit my campus, helping my ex-supervisor writing past thesis from alumnis, by translating and improving discussion, then submit them to international journal for publication. Besides this I coordinate one practical course, microalgae culturing techniques, which also helps me to keep learning about microalgae passionately.
    Outside faculty-related activities I’m doing small business and doing internship in a food court in SNU Seoul South Korea 

  • B:
    Tell me about publications you’ve made. How many do you have? International or national?
  • Me: My first publication is about recycle of toxic chemical in shrimp ponds using good microorganisms to maintain water quality and therefore keep the shrimp healthy.

  • B:
    May I see your publications?
  • Me:
    Here you go. This is a copy of two papers that has been published so far.

  • C:
    What is your most memorable achievements during your Bachelor study?
  • Me:
    When I went on an exchange program in Japan. The overall experience strengthen me personally, enhanced my view towards environment, meeting new people, joining PPI Fukuoka and befriend many strangers, that has grown into tight friendship since.

  • C:
    What did you prepare when you’re about to go to Japan? Can you demonstrate speaking Japanese?
  • Me:
    Language, norms, winter clothing. (Then I just spoke random Japanese words… and we had a small chats in Japanese…)
    I found this sentence really useful when I arrived the first time:
    “Kono densha wa doko e ikimasuka?”, it prevents me to get lost in Japanese train stations.

  • C:
    Well yes it’s true. Why don’t you consider studying in uni with tropical climate, similar condition to Indonesia? Like several universities in America.
  • Me:
    I’ve also search through universities in China, America, which has specialization about microalgae cultivation in tropical climate, but still I choose Wageningen besides those others as Wageningen already has reputation in terms of their curriculum, research projects and especially their collaboration with developing countries in tropical climate including Indonesia. It’s true that the Netherland has subtropical climate, so winter propose them to deal with additional problem: “how to keep the algae warm”. I think it’s a bonus problem that I can also learn from them. Thus, I can learn how to cultivate algae both in hot and cold season, simultaneously.

  • C:
    My friend study about a medical field in Europe, he didn’t learn about diseases that are relevant in Indonesia, what if this happens to you?
  • Me:
    I don’t think it will happen because currently there’s still limited microalgae species that’s mass cultivated in Indonesia, Spirulina and Chlorella. This two species also grown in the Netherland, and they’ve been developing other species as well, which will enrich my knowledge. Thus I wouldn’t worry that what I will learn there become useless when I return to Indonesia.

  • A:
    What is your plan after finishing study?
  • Me:
    I want to initiate microalgae cultivation start-ups in Indonesia by enganging local people, alumnis, and experts to produce food and feed from microalgae. Along with the development, we’ll connect with other microalgae industries such as Neoalgae in Solo as well as food, feed, aquaculture industries to support the start-up. Along with its development, we’ll maintain contact with Wageningen, collaborate for research funding and build stronger connections. When this company has grown and well-known, we can diversify products from microalgae into cosmetics, antioxidants, bioenergy, to further enhance the benefits of microalgae to the society.

  • A:
    Where do you think is most suitable for microalgae cultivation? Is it better to establish ex-situ or in-situ?
  • Me:
    Right now I prefer to cultivate microalgae on Indonesian beach shoreline, as we can benefits shoreline space from our numerous islets and cultivate algae as well as keeping the environment balanced and sustained.

  • C:
    Have you ever offered yourself as a leader delegates? Some people think it’s arrogant and greedy actions, what is your opinion?
  • Me:
    In my opinion, I don’t view it as either greedy or arrogant. I think when people offered themselves, they’ve realized the responsibilities and have been measured their own capabilities to commit to be the leader. I think it’s a good initiative. We need these kind of people to make a good leader.

  • B:
    You failed at previous LPDP selection, why do you think that happened?
  • Me:
    I think it’s because I submitted Surat Keterangan Lulus rather than Bachelor Degree. At that moment, I haven’t received my Bachelor Degree yet even though I’ve finished my Bachelor already.

  • B:
    I understand. Then, what is your weakness?
  • Me:
    My weakness is public speaking… It’s hard for me to form a good sentences, regardless the language, but I view this weakness as my area for improving myself. When presenting something, I made effort to prepare points that I’d like to share, how to open the conversation, how to anticipate questions. Realizing my weakness gives myself a good training to keep aware and improve my public speaking.

  • C:
    What is the most memorable social service experience of yours?
  • Me:
    Joining Microbiology Student Association has given me many chances to do social services. One of them is giving mushroom cultivation training to locals in Cisitu. Maybe it’s not really a big act, but I feel satisfied when I can share knowledge to people, and they accepted, understood and applies it since.

  • A:
    Okay, now Agung  I want to ask this important question… If you are asked to bring native Indonesian nanotechnology , would you like to do that?
  • Me:
    In principle, the patent of every native species has to be ours. In my opinion, we can share the nanotechnology when we’ve already registered the particular species as Indonesian property.

  • A:
    But you as a student can not do that right? So this is my advice: When it has not yet been registered, it is restricted to bring outside from Indonesia. Learn the techniques in Wageningen, but never ever bring any sample from Indonesia as we need to protect our native nanotechnology.
  • Me:
    I understand, thank you for telling me about this in advance.

  • A:
    Okay, we think this interview session is enough. You may leave the room and go back home.
  • Me:
    Thank you very much for your time.

  • B:
    Yes, and Ganbatte kudasai! 😀
  • Me:
    Arigatou gozaimasu!

And that’s how it ends…
I walked passed the room in a light heart and relieved mood: I’ve given my best so whatever the results will be, I’ll keep fighting for my goal!
I’m sooo grateful that all my efforts and activities these past months supports me through the selection. I felt like hitting a sweet spot of opportunity and effort. Let’s wait patiently for the announcement 🙂
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