Monday, August 10, 2009

Menantangnya GRE - Verbal Section

Tengah malam dan saya masih belum mengantuk.

Belajar GRE (Graduate Records Examinations) itu benar-benar sebuah tantangan, khususnya bagi mereka yang menyukai bidang verbal (a.k.a: bahasa; bahasa pemrograman juga boleh dimasukkan). Nggak tau gimana ceritanya kok GRE ini sampe dijadikan test masuk standard untuk yang pingin ngelanjutkan ke S2 ato S3 di Amrik... Di Indonesia, namanya berubah jadi TPA ato Tes Potensi Akademik - yang wajib diikuti sebagai syarat masuk S2, S3 ato ngelamar pegawai negeri, tentu ya dalam bahasa Indonesia.

Ada 3 section dalam bentuk multiple choice yang diujikan, dan yang paling menantang adalah verbal section.

Perintah di verbal section ini sederhana kok... Ada bagian yang diminta untuk melengkapi titik-titik dengan kata(-kata) yang tepat, lalu mencari padanan kata serta mencari lawan kata. Gampang to? Lha wong lawan kata itu kan sudah dipelajari sejak kelas 2SD... panjang: pendek, murah: mahal, padat: cair... Lalu kok ya tega-teganya itu dijadikan sebagai standard masuk S2 dan S3? Nggak kegampangen ta Mas/Mbak pembuat soal? Hehe2... kalo lawan kata yang ecek-ecek ya nggak seru... Gimana kalo mencari lawan kata dari: Quandary, Divest, Recant, Banality, Eschew, Belie, Impudent, Profuse, Inchoate, Gaucheness, Coda, Macerate, Impugn, Capricious, Tortous, Tout, Irascible dan teman-temannya? Mantap gan...! (Jadi ya nggak pernah muncul itu lawan kata dari: short, fast, liquid, fire dan sejenisnya).

Ngelengkapi titik-titiknya juga bener-bener menantang, misalnya:
"The proponents of of recombinant DNA research have decided to ... federal regulation of their work; they hope that by making this compromise they can forestall proposed state and local controls that might be even stiffer."
a. protest
b. institute
c. deny
d. encourage
e. disregard

Kalo kepepet bisa dijawab pake dadu yang punya 5 sisi (ada ya?).

Jadi ya gitu... Belajar GRE terutama di verbal section, harus menggali sampe akar katanya (yang kebanyakan dari bahasa latin). Misalnya Quandary, yang asal katanya Quando... Lalu jadi inget lagunya Michael Buble, "Quando Quando Quando" yang artinya "Kapan Kapan Kapan", di liriknya ada kalimat "Tell me when will you be mine. Tell me quando quando quando...", yang artinya keseluruhan lagunya adalah "Kapan ya kamu bisa jadi milikku..." Jadi kalo nyari lawan kata dari Quandary mesti fokus pada kata yang menyatakan suatu waktu yang pasti (certain). Ato mencari lawan kata dari Irascible. "Ira" adalah bahasa Latin dari "marah", lalu dari sini muncul kata yang bisa lebih diingat, yaitu "Irritate" (iritasi - suatu respon aktif dengan konotasi negatif, misalnya iritasi mata). Jadi lawan katanya adalah seputar "sifat yang tenang dan tidak meledak-ledak". Lalu kebanyakan prefiks "A" menunjukkan "without", misalnya "amoral", "atheist", "anonymous", "apathy", "anomaly", "agnostic" dan sebagainya.

Nah, belajar GRE Verbal section dengan cara menggali akar kata itu yang seru dan menantang - khususnya bagi seorang penulis yang pengen nilai GRE-nya setinggi mungkin agar bisa diterima di Universitas Amrik, tepatnya Purdue University yang punya Lab Biomedical terlengkap dan tercanggih di dunia...!

Butuh perjuangan... Itu sebabnya, sudah tengah malam dan saya masih belum mengantuk... a small step of my doctorate journey.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday, 11:42a

It was Friday, 11:42a.

It was a clear afternoon and also end of the month. A day that probably, most of employee will love it (what could have been more fun for an employee than having the salary transfered into his account in the weekend? Perfect day for shopping). But, never mind about the shopping-day...

As you might probably notice, I am waiting for the result of my scholarship application. I presume that nobody loves waiting, including me. Especially what I am waiting is something that uncertain. I don't know how and when it's going to be.

So, ya, it was Friday, 11:42a.

The weather is perfect. The wind blew softly trough my private room's window. I was alone, sitting in front of my computer, checking mail and doing some stuffs simultaneously. I felt a bit excited because it's weekend. I've planned to write some articles tonight and thinking to write one or two postings for my blog. For me, perfect weekend means a weekend without any disturbance... and I can sense that this weekend is going to be a perfect weekend. But, I was wrong.

And exactly on Friday, 11:42a, something unexpected came to change my "going-to-be-perfect-weekend".

An email notification pop-up in the system tray... In a glance I saw the subject contain the word "Fulbright", a word that probably has been a-most-focusing-word for me for the last 2 months (beside "dikti-scholarship"). I quickly opened the mail and... it took 3 seconds only to realize that it was an invitation letter for an interview, the mail I've been waiting for the last 2 months! They considering me for an interview regarding my scholarship application...!

Yes, it was Friday, 11:42a, when I received that invitation letter. A few seconds later, I read it more carefully.

"Dear Mr. Swastika:

I am pleased to inform you that the Fulbright scholarship selection committee has finished their review...
"

--------

30 Minutes earlier...

There were 9 of them, 7 lecturers and 2 headships of the University. They were debating about choosing the best head of Information System (IS) Study Program, that going to lead IS Study Program in Universitas M* C** for the next 2 years. It's a prestigious position, thou, especially in this new-and-promising-university, UMC.

There were only two candidates left. Both of them felt that they're not capable enough to be the head of IS Study Program. Both of them had strong reasons why they're not suppose to be the head of IS Study Program. It stuck, seemed no way out. The headship tried to challenge them to have the courage to step and lead, for the sake of the students... Yet, they both remain silent before finally one of them, decide to discuss with the other privately, outside the meeting room. Couple minutes have passed. Nobody knew what the conversation all about... And when they both entered the meeting room, everybody in the room guessed that the decision have been made. Everybody thought that they both agree who's going to be the head of IS.

But their decision is quite suprising... "We decided... " He paused for a while, "Let the headship decide... We both will support whatever the decision."

The headship a bit shocked with the decision, it's unexpected decision. She thinks for a moment before finally she says... "Both of you are qualified leader. But for Pak...", she mentioned a reason that one of them, is actually going to continue his study overseas, which will make him difficult to be the head of IS Program Study... She continues, "...and if you giving back the decision, I will choose...". And the next 3 minutes, the meeting is over. Universitas M* C** already has the new head of IS Program Study.

30 Minutes later, after the meeting, the new Elected-Head of IS Study Program was in his room, preparing for Friday praying, while the unelected one (which the room is located right beside him) was sitting in front of his computer. A bit excited about the weekend and his planning for this weekend. And... exactly at 11:42a, he's reading an email that change his going-to-be-perfect-weekend.