Just two years ago, on a late Monday afternoon in a dreaded Research class, the teacher made an announcement. A two-week programme in London, he said, and you can participate by contributing your very own research that I will help you conduct. You could say I was intrigued, but I wasn't paying much attention. Two years later, I was standing in Heathrow, too jetlagged for the world and my head was buzzing with so much excitement, I couldn't think straight. Finally getting to represent our school in an international platform, my friends and I brought two researches that was later presented in the Science Bazaar Evening. The research my group and I brought was about finding the most suitable dose of a traditional medicine (a Piper ornatum decoction) that may be a potential cure for diabetes from a plant endemic to our country, Indonesia.
LIYSF brought me to a whole new world. Literally. As somebody who had never been abroad in her 16 years of living I was completely overwhelmed and mesmerised by being in the forum, surrounded with so many participants that shared one thing in common. The love for never-ending curiosity. We demanded answers to challenging questions from top-notch lecturers whenever we could. I was surprised to find myself signing up for lectures and visits and meeting the same girl in three of them. I may not have established a very close friendship with her, but I was pleased to know that somebody from the other side of the map shared my obsession for biology. One of the highlights in my 14 days of stay (other than the Bing Bong Announcements) was definitely the Specialist Study Day. Among an endless list of lectures, I found one topic under the branch I was so passionate about, autism and psychology. And to be in a roomful of people who shared the same enthusiasm for this particular topic, I was legitimately on the verge of crying.
Going to Jenner Institute of Vaccine Trials in Oxford had me fall in love head over heels with the city. Everything was so lively and pristine, rushing with so much energy. It did nothing but convince myself even more to go and pursue my higher education in Oxford.
The Traditions of Home, too, was one of the highlights of the programme. Preparing our traditional dance was the last thing on our minds that we practiced just the week before hopping on a flight passing through 6 time zones. I was really self-conscious about myself during practices and thought I could never do it, but I realised it was a great honour to perform my own country's traditional artwork in front of 480 delegates representing 67 countries. I was glad they loved it.
If anybody were to ask me: "So what's it like? Was it worth that much money you spent?" The answer will be yes. Absolutely. I'd do it all over it again in a heartbeat if I could, including all the days and nights stressing out over lab rats and overthinking the entire experiment.
So to my parents, my teammates, the lab associates we worked with, and my oh-so beloved chaperone (guess what - he was that same Research teacher from two years ago!). I thank you and I couldn't thank you enough. It was worth every single thing we've sacrificed, let me tell you that. And of course, to the LIYSF staff team - sorry I was always late to lectures - I thank you, too.
Here's to the Science Bazaar Evening and Traditions of Home, to running across the streets when the pedestrian lights are still red, to LIYSF's endless supply of sandwiches and KitKats, to our evening lectures, to the arguments on the train, to getting lost in the underground, to the very, very late midnight snacking to Tesco and Burger King, to the very unpredictable summer weather, and to twenty-hour flights. Here's to LIYSF.