As I am writing this post, I am now officially a university student. That should be enough to explain the absence of new posts for the past three weeks. I’m pursuing my diploma in Mass Communication at UiTM Lendu. Yup, back to Alor Gajah. All my MRSM friends are laughing at me.
Minggu Destini Siswa, a.k.a orientation week, bore witness to blood, sweat, and tears — not just from freshmen but also from the seniors who barely slept forty winks. It mostly consisted of boring briefings that nobody paid attention to because our eyes were as heavy as bricks. We got no more than two hours of sleep every night. MDS was more often than not, super-frustrating. But when it was good, it was awesome.
I went to Bandar Melaka by bus on my first Sunday in UiTM. Sounds fun, but in reality it was very anticlimactic. The journey there — going to the wrong gate, waiting forever for the bus, the traffic jams, the numerous stops — took 3 and a half hours. And we didn’t even go to somewhere cool like Dataran Pahlawan or Mahkota Parade, we went to TESCO. Padahal Tesco Cheng ada kot!
The campus is huge, almost as big as UiTM Shah Alam, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t think I could finish exploring it even during two years and a half of my diploma. I only entered Masjid al-Hikmah for the first time on Tuesday night, since it’s so far from my hostel and inconvenient to go at night. I haven’t even been on the infamous Jambatan Goyang at Tasik Tun Fatimah. However, I have to go up and down Bukit Tonggek almost every day. Do I need to explain why it’s called Bukit Tonggek? One trip back and forth alone is worth an hour of exercise.
My hostel / college / apartment is on top of a hill, and it has ten floors. It’s brand-new, modern, fancy, and makes seniors’ brows furrow when they hear Part 1 students will be living there. Every apartment has four rooms and eight residents. While it may seem to people from other hostels that we are living the glamorous life, in certain aspects I prefer my much uglier, older, less privacy-sensitive hostel back at MRSM. For example, on one day the ninth and tenth floors ran out of water. And there are no communal bathrooms, every house has their own bathroom. So even if wanted to brush our teeth or take wudhu, we had to tebalkan muka and go to our friends’ houses, with all their housemates staring and judging (edit: sebab baru Part 1 and tak kenal orang lagi lol), or go down to the first floor to use the bathrooms in the bilik bacaan or the bilik rekreasi. Whereas at MRSM we could’ve just used the communal bathrooms on the level below, without anyone’s permission.
Also, I can’t hear the azan from my hostel. In extremely rare cases, when everyone is silent, I can. You don’t have your mother or LDPs on the PA system waking you up for Subuh. It is not obligatory to pray jemaah for Maghrib and Isyak and listen to a tazkirah in between. There are no BADAR members to freak out if you don’t wear socks. Kalau nak bukak tudung pun takpe. There is no Asmaul Husna recitation every morning. They don’t take attendance for Yasin recitations on malam Jumaat. Ustaz ada banyak kerja lain selain meronda kampus untuk tangkap orang dating.
Everything is based on your own initiative. If you don’t make that extra effort to find spiritual substance, it will be very hard to find. But Alhamdulillah (I think) I’m now a secretariat for Jawatankuasa Penggerak Masjid (JPM), along with a few others. And there was this usrah session that was supposed to be conducted in the futsal court, but ended up being conducted in my living room (22 people!) due to rain. It was amazing, insightful, fun, and some people actually cried because they missed their family. Terima kasih kepada akak-akak naqibah yang sudi datang kongsi ilmu!
Maybe the people around me in university think I’m the ~pious~ or whatever but I don’t like that title. I wish it was given to someone else. At MRSM there were far more pious people than me — people who were best friends with the Qur’an, people who enthusiastically learned about religion, people who spread love and joy wherever they went — and when the ‘pious’ label is put on a flawed, dirty, human being like me, I really feel the burden of it.
But I try to remember.
Laa yukallifullahu nafsan illa wus’aha. Allah tidak membebani seseorang melainkan sesuai dengan kesanggupannya.
On to academics.
I have seven subjects in total.
- Mass Media and Communication
- Public Speaking
Well, they all have much longer names, but I can’t be bothered to remember what they are. For example, English is actually something like, ‘Integrated Language Skills: Listening’ and Agama is ‘Fundamentals of Islam’. Oh, and Ko-ku actually affects your CGPA. And all students of program MC110 are required to join Kesatria Negara. Sigh. I spent most of my high school life wriggling my way out of badan beruniform meetings. But the rest of the subjects, and their lecturers, are pretty cool. I’ll be stuck with the same classmates for two years and a half, so I’ll have to love them.
The insults towards Mass Comm students in real life are a lot more subdued than they are on Twitter. Hah! But I can see why other courses may think of Mass Comm students as attention-seeking, over, bajet artis, yadda yadda yadda. The ones who stand out, really make sure the spotlight is always on them. However, there are many Mass Comm students who are introverted and refuse attention. And well, yes, our faculty is famous sebab selalu langgar dress code. Kalau pelajar TESL, semua ayu pakai baju kurung okay.
Someone taking a course I would never take, ever, said that Mass Comm is for people who don’t know what to do with their lives.
Excuse me??? I know you’re confident that you’ll have a safe, secure, 9-to-5 job in a bank, dealing with spreadsheets and calculators, but with all due respect, I can be a communication officer or a journalist or an editor or a translator or a marketing officer or a social media consultant or a radio DJ or a TV host or a HR officer or a content developer or a graphic designer or a professional publisher or a news producer or a PR officer or a media strategist or a photographer or a filmmaker or a lecturer or a event executive or a talent manager or a branding executive or a videographer or a scriptwriter or an animator or a broadcaster or a writer or a production specialist or a corporate consultant.
So, don’t be so narrow-minded.
Well, university life has its ups and downs. As is life. But I’m aiming for Anugerah Naib Canselor and the MPP.
Oh, and please pray that I’ll actually have a driving license after Part 2.
Till then, I’ll be riding the university shuttle van, whizzing down a hill with many sharp turns, and the sky is vast and blue, and Hindustani music is blaring from the radio.