Indah Aprilia Nasution was highly anxious on Friday (28/3) at 4:00 PM when the 2023 academic excellence-based entrance selection (SNBP) results were announced. She paced back and forth in her house, torn between the desire to check the announcement immediately and the fear of the outcome.
As her friends were already asking her through WhatsApp, she decided to delay opening the announcement and performed ablution before praying Asr. During the prayer, she felt a sense of calm and strength. She then mustered the courage to check the notification on her phone.
A moment later, tears streamed down her cheeks as she cried tears of joy. She expressed her gratitude for her dream come true with a trembling voice.
“Alhamdulillah, I got accepted into Chemical Engineering at UGM. I was so nervous that I imagined the notification as red, but it turned out to be blue (explanation: red means rejected, and blue means accepted),” she said.
Indah cried tears of happiness in her room. She prostrated in gratitude. Part of her dream of studying at UGM has been fulfilled–a dream she had since 11th grade at Bukittinggi State High School 1.
Indah possesses a strong determination. Even though her parents, Yapisham Nasution and Purnama Hasibuan, hoped she would continue her studies close to their home in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indah had a different choice. She had to convince her parents several times.
“My parents have many considerations, especially regarding the expenses. They wanted me to study here in Padang,” she said.
Indah remained resolute in her decision and chose to apply for Chemical Engineering at UGM. She didn’t want to deviate from that choice as she considered it a priority since she aspired to become a professional in the mining industry.
“I must study Chemical Engineering. I prioritized this field, and UGM is the best campus for it. I chose Chemical Engineering because of its good and wide job opportunities,” she explained.
Indah’s gratitude grew even more when she found out she had been accepted to UGM with 100% subsidized KIP-K assistance from the government, meaning she could study for free. With this tuition assistance, she hopes to ease her parents’ worries about her education expenses at UGM.
Her strong desire to study at UGM was partly influenced by the alums of Bukittinggi State High School 1, who pursued their studies at universities on Java, such as UI, ITB, Unpad, and UGM. One of Bukittinggi State High School 1’s alums was accepted to Chemical Engineering at UGM last year.
Born on April 9, 2005, in Bukittinggi, Indah’s intelligence has been apparent since she was young. She completed her primary education at Manggis Ganting State Elementary School 09, graduating as one of the top four best graduates in West Sumatra. She continued her studies at Bukittinggi State Junior High School 8 and Bukittinggi State High School 1.
During high school, she was not only a dedicated student but also active in school organizations as the secretary and coordinator of the health department of the Student Council. She was also involved in a school filmmaking organization named Sinematografi Landbouw.
“Alhamdulillah, I once won first place in the provincial-level competition held by Universitas Andalas. I made a film about anemia education. I was both the scriptwriter and the lead actress in the film,” she said.
Academically, her achievement in the 10th grade was not exceptionally high, but she still ranked in the top 10. In the 11th and 12th grades, she consistently ranked first or second in her class.
Coming from a less affluent family, Indah knew she couldn’t be like her peers. She was grateful to have received a scholarship from PT MHK Foundation during the 10th and 11th grades, which helped her finance her education. In her 12th grade, she benefited from the local government’s policy in Bukittinggi, where all students in the 12th grade were exempted from fees, making their education free of charge.
“With the scholarship, I received 350 thousand rupiahs per month. I could pay the school fees of 170 thousand rupiahs and save some money for emergencies,” Indah said.
Maintaining academic excellence took a lot of work. Indah had to study consistently and go the extra mile. While her friends sometimes went home by 3:00 PM, she would stay until 5:00 PM due to her involvement in various activities and organizations.
When she arrived home, she would take some rest without doing anything. After Maghrib prayer, she would resume studying until 10:00 PM. She followed this daily routine and continued to study on Sundays or holidays, although for a shorter period than on regular days.
“On Sundays, I still study for a shorter time than usual. Since I couldn’t pay for tutoring sessions, I had to work extra hard. Alhamdulillah, the school provided tutoring focused on the national entrance test materials two months before the exams. Thankfully, I was accepted before the exams,” she said.
Indah’s determination to change her family’s destiny and improve their living conditions motivated her to study harder than others. It was a must for her, and she maximized all opportunities, including utilizing the school library’s resources. Even when she only read novels, it enriched her and contributed to her scriptwriting hobby in filmmaking.
Indah will never forget her teachers, especially her school’s counselors, Merita Nelviardi and Elvita Putri. She was close to them as they became like her own parents. She didn’t hesitate to confide in them and share her problems and difficulties.
“I am grateful for the teachers who have been very kind and attentive. Whenever I faced difficulties, the counselors understood and helped me find solutions,” she said.
Indah plans to continue what she did in high school at UGM. She intends to join student organizations like the Student Executive Board (BEM) and other organizations.
“Regarding academics, I have to prioritize it because, as a scholarship recipient, I am expected to excel academically. Apart from that, I hope to join filmmaking clubs and other cinematography-related activities,” she explained.
Yapisham Nasution and Purnama Hasibuan ultimately yielded to the situation. Although they initially wished for Indah to study in Padang, they eventually had to let go and support their daughter’s desire.
They had mixed feelings when Indah informed them she had been accepted to UGM. They felt both happy and worried about the expenses.
As daily laborers and teachers at a private school in Padang, they believed they couldn’t cover Indah’s expenses at UGM. Moreover, Indah’s older brother, Andika Saputra, was still studying at Universitas Negeri Padang, and her two younger twin brothers, Muhammad Padlan Nasution and Muhammad Padlin Nasution, were still in junior high school in Bukittinggi.
“With our combined income of 3 million rupiahs, it is undoubtedly challenging. I even asked Indah to abandon her desire to attend UGM,” said Purnama Hasibuan.
Upon expressing her concerns about Indah studying at UGM, Purnama received a phone call from the Alums Association of Bukittinggi State High School 1. The alums assured her about Indah’s future at UGM and hoped to obtain her permission for Indah to continue her studies there.
Indah’s older brother reassured his mother that Indah would be fine studying at UGM. With the scholarship she received, it was sure that she wouldn’t burden the family financially.
“As parents, we are grateful. Thanks to the alums who helped with the transportation expenses from Padang to Jogja for Indah. All I can do now is pray that Indah will be okay there and that her studies will go smoothly,” she said.
Author: Agung Nugroho
Photographer: Slamet Sihono