It was with shock and horror as I watched my father’s sea transportation business near collapse. Day after day, his income dwindled and more workers were sent home. This was at the height of Indonesian monetary crisis, which later led to an economic meltdown of cataclysmic proportion making many Indonesians jobless and many businesses bankrupt. Fortunately, my father is one of the few who through tenacity and hard work and perseverance were able to save their businesses. Every holiday as I visited my father in Jakarta, I witnessed his courage and never die spirit as he rebuilt his company block by block like a bird building a nest one twig at a time. He invited me to have a feel how a business is run. I would run errands for him and watch each evening as he made entries into his business books.
I was fortunate to be born in a small village known as Lampung where I would run around the pristine forests and enjoy mother nature. From a tender age, I loved to observe as the seasons came and went, the rubber, coffee, and palm oil plantations mesmerized me and I would seat for hours under trees observing birds and the beauty of nature. My sense of observation and wonder was shaped in this environment. Therefore, it was no coincidence that the differences between Jakarta and my village of Lampung always aroused curiosity in me. I kept on asking myself why Jakarta had many skyscrapers, modern malls and highways and Lampung had none. By the age of 14, therefore I realized the wide economic gap between Lampung and Jakarta.
At the tender age of 16, I was transferred to senior school in Jakarta. In school, I decided to take social sciences, especially economics, as I knew this was where I wanted to be in future. Social sciences included the study of economics and I fell in love with it as it involved strategic management, mathematics, and even politics. I was fascinated that these ingredients came together to form one magnificent subject. From here, my love for economics was so intense that I began to do a lot of research in economics daily, I read newspapers, economic magazines such as Globe Asia and browsed the internet for more information and sort the guidance of my father on business administration.
In spring of 2014, I enrolled at Diablo Valley College (DVC) to further my education in economics. At DVC I took my research, leadership and organizational skills to another level and in the first semester I was elected Vice-president in charge internal affairs of ASCEND, a club which helps its members learn how to navigate through the murky waters of DVC. As vice-president of ASCEND I was able to help other students despite the fact that I was only a first year student in first semester of college.
The experience in my father’s company ignited in me a desire and interest in entrepreneurship. Since I had accumulated enough experience, I decided to start my own business in partnership with a friend. Through extensive research, we began a clothing business known as KZL. Through this venture, I learned and concretized my economics and business administration skills. From the actualization of the business plan, to sourcing for high quality products, managing sells, dealing professionally with suppliers, creditors and clients especially some well-known artists in Indonesia. I enjoyed running my company because of the opportunity it gave me to network, meet people and share my experiences with them at the same time learning from them.
These experiences of life have made me more determined of coming up with solutions and strategies that would help my village of Lampung become an economic giant like Jakarta. Therefore, advancing my studies in economics would be a launching pad to achieving my vision. Thus, am convinced that the University of California Berkeley will provide me with quality and holistic education that will make my dream come true.
I am lucky to be born in a family where most of my basic needs were catered for. My parents have always been my mentors and have taught me valuable lessons in life, for example, the importance of giving back to the society. Sincemy childhood and I have maintained a tradition ofalways celebrating my birthdays in a children orphanage. This has been for me an opportunity to share my joy with other children but also be of support to them. Last year I donated stationery for their schooling, snacks, and a guitar to help in nurturing their music talents. I believe that children are the future of any society and cannot be neglected unless that society has no vision of the future.
As I grew up and matured, I felt lucky that I had most of the things I needed and so I have taken steps to share my material possessions, experience and valuable life skills that I have. In senior school, I was elected as vice-president of students’ social affairs. I organized my fellow students into an effective group and we were able to plan and execute many social events. One of such an events was in support of children with cancer. Through donations from friends and relatives we were able to raise funds to support cancer research and we visited the sick children to be with them and console them.
Furthermore, as a student at Diablo Valley College (DVC), I joined the following clubs Habitat for humanity, Red Cross and UNICEF. As a member of these clubs I was fortunate to have the privilege to serve others, for example, I served meals for the homeless and even participated in building a house for an underprivileged fellow citizen.
Recently, my friends and I have created a foundation known as Tutorial for others (TOS). Through this foundation, we have been able to serve the underprivileged children in Indonesia. The fundamental aim of our foundation is to teach homeless children such as those who live on the roadsides and under flyovers. These children are unable to attend school due to poverty, so we teach them how to read, write and handle mathematics. We also teach them how to play musical instruments such as keyboard, guitar and violin. The vision and drive of our volunteer work is to empower these children to have the necessary skills to survive in this harsh world. As we believe that any society that does not educate its children is signing its own death warrant.
Sharing and serving others especially the less fortunate in society is part and parcel of who I am, it is ingrained in my being and a larger part of my vision of life.That is why I believe that pursuing studies at the University of California will equip me with the relevant knowledge that I will share with society at large and more importantly transform my village of Lampung to a better place to live in.