When You Are Young and Full of Dreams

February 27, 2016

It’s been a long while since the last time I wrote a word in this page. I have always been too moody to write that I could neglect writing for quite some time unless I have something, some events, that touched my heart and motivated me to finally get my hands back on the keyboards. Not for Stata coding though. To write a blog post, I mean. I wouldn’t call this a quality post, not that I have made one anyway, as this is just a random thought surfaced due to a wonderful experience I had today.

The story starts with me and some friends participating in a volunteer activity called Mengejar UI (lit. Chasing UI) which provides free university entrance exam tutoring, specifically to be admitted to University of Indonesia (UI), for less fortunate high school students in Jakarta. We participate as voluntary tutors.

This afternoon, Mengejar UI organizing committee held an event for our students called Bedah Kampus which lets the students to dig information about disciplines provided by UI and its prospective careers, so that the students can decide on whatever disciplines they would aim in the entrance exam. Alumnus and senior students shared their knowledge and experiences to Mengejar UI Students about their respective discipline.

I was one of the alumnus attending the event to share some of my petty wisdom of my discipline, Economics. And again, rather than I inspired them, I was the one being inspired by them. Their enthusiasm mesmerized me. Some kids who aim to be Economics student shared their wonderful dreams and ambitions. I was so happy at that moment because kids like these, young, hardworking and full of dreams, are the ones that keeps me being optimistic regarding the future of Indonesia.

They really remind me of myself when I was their age (it was ten years ago), aiming to enroll in Economics UI with a handful of dreams that I will keep carrying on until the end of my life, hoping that I could see them at least sprout before the end of the journey. Everybody has their dreams. As for me, my tiny little dream is nothing groundbreaking, something that would make me look like an idealistic fool. But, hey, I never feel ashamed with my dreams. Just like these kids who could openly share theirs to me with sparks in their eyes. It is to have a world where everybody could feel that their dreams, their lifetime goal, is within their reach regardless of whether they are less fortunate or blessed people. In short, a world of equal opportunity. This is a world where I could imagine everybody could reflect their life optimistically with a smile in their face.

If I reflect upon myself, I choose the path of academia or research to realize this dream. Maybe you would wonder, how can we make that happen by publishing some papers in journals? This question has become so frequent that it occurred more often than Liam Neeson’s family members being taken in movies. Well, that’s not so often. A friend of mine once asked me why I would restrict my path on academia in achieving that. That there are plenty of ways. That maybe campaigning a social movement like Anies Baswedan with his Indonesia Mengajar would have a much better chance on achieving that. I may have to agree. But, I know my capabilities. I am not as charismatic as that mentor of mine who can move a large mass of people for a single cause despite not being part of the government.

Everybody was born with their latent capabilities. There are those with brilliant mind, those with brimming charisma, those with authentic entrepreneurship, and so on. I am so proud with my underclassman in UI, M. Alfatih Timur, who has been bestowed with the honor of “30 Under 30 Asia” by Forbes for his social business KitaBisa who has helped numerous people fulfilling their dreams. Timmy, Timur’s nickname, certainly has the same vision as I am, or at least similar. What he has done is something that youth of my age can accomplish. He is an inspiration of many youths, including myself. His chance of fulfilling my dream is significantly higher than mine. But, it looks like I wouldn’t do what Timmy do. Simply because it is not my forte.

What I have recognized from myself is that, among other less advantageous talents that I have, my forte is this mediocre brain of mine which has a few things but an immense love for mathematics, economics, and all knowledge about human beings. I don’t have the best mind among other humans, but that is what the best that I had in me. The path that I choose may not be the path with the highest success probability among other people’s efforts, but it is the path that I believe has the highest success probability among all the possibilities that I have with me. Moreover, ultimately, it is the path that I enjoy the ride, because I love what I am doing now.

Thus, when you are young and full of dreams, spend your time to figure out what is your call in achieving your dreams. Spend your time to try and to fail, to taste defeat, and to be back on your feet, keep the iterations, when you are young and full of dreams, until you find what you are best at. Not something that you can do better than other people, but something you can do better than all other things you can do. When you are young, you have plenty of chances to spend for failures. When you are full of dreams, you have strong reason to rise from your fall. This is our once in a lifetime chance, when we are young and full of dreams.

Well, then again, I haven’t even been successful with my efforts to realize my dream. So, maybe you would think that I am not the one to talk. Well, yeah, it is a long journey, and maybe I couldn’t make it to the end. But seeing these kids, so young and full of dreams, I believe that even when I lay my legs to rest someday, there will be those who will keep running their feet towards the end. Therefore, even when I am not young anymore, as long as I am full of dreams, in my journey of fulfilling my dreams, I will keep on helping others, especially the next generations, in their journey.

Smile Eternally,


Oh wow, it’s been forever since I wrote my cheesy catchphrase that I made when I was young (I am) and full of dreams (will always be), the Smile Eternally. No, I’m not ashamed with the catchphrase. I respect your opinion, but, I am not ashamed. Period.


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