Finally, M.Sc. in Sustainability.

Agung Prasetyo
3 min readAug 13, 2022

End of July 2021 — I suddenly remember how my journey was started. Born and grew up in rural Sumatra, getting a proper education was extremely tough, even beyond reach for some, unfortunately.

Going to the town using old wooden ‘taxis’ for hours through a lot of potholes to reach high school was one of the challenges. Interestingly, at this very moment was where my mind wildly imagining how it would be to study overseas — ignoring how unrealistic it was from reality at that time.

Public Transport in South Sumatra

Long story short, after striving to break through walls of privilege, countless failures and desperation, the dream was about to happen in 2019. The first semester in Tokyo was just magnificent, compelling face to face lectures, group works, discussions, field trips and all heavenly activities that students like me can never expect to experience.

Nevertheless, everything was about to change when SARS-CoV-2 introduced itself just before a new year and caused a massive spread of Covid-19 globally to date. I was never sure this would ruin my once of a lifetime experience that much until it does severely affected our study life — confirmed by thousands if not millions of other scholars worldwide.

The rest of one and a half years in 2020–2021 was the ultimate test. Taking prolonged distance learning despite being settled individually in another country was surprisingly difficult. I was perhaps quite arrogant to feel that living under pressure had already been part of my life, so nothing to worry about — but am I joke to you? said by mental health issues, changed research plan, cancelled field trip, state of emergency, infection surge, and the never-ending lists that keep continuing.

With the help of caring people and a supportive environment, I could finally complete my master’s degree, though losing family members amidst the pandemic is another test that I must pass. Certainly, I could not celebrate and grief at the same time.

For sure, I realise that this experience does not just unexpectedly come to me, even there are tons of other more difficult cases that have been shared in the last couple of months. Therefore, please allow me to deliver my sincere admiration to students, workers, professionals, parents, literally everyone who keep fighting harder every day. It requires immense adaptation skills to overcome these unprecedented obstacles. :)

I know that not everyone is keen on sharing their stories and struggles in this difficult time, but let me assure you once again that you are not alone. Let’s be grateful even just a little bit. May we all pass the test for being a more resilient generation.

Ps: I am sorry, even the file of a screen capture from my online graduation is broken. So instead I post a wonderful group picture during the UNU-IAS IC Course closing ceremony in 2019 that also marked the beginning of my study in Tokyo, Japan.

UNU-IAS Closing Ceremony for UNU Professional Core Courses

#education #environment #mentalhealth #experience #grateful #people#learning #motivation