Everything Is Not The Same

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I cannot move on from olympiad world. That is the fact for now. It was something that made me become here right now, and that is why I always want to help every training conducted for my juniors for the sake of giving thanks for everything I have received when I was a participant.

This summer I had the chance to train my juniors in DKI Jakarta more than I could last year, because this year I was not competing anymore. I came to the training almost everyday, except when I was invited to meet Ibu Ani Yudhoyono (and the gank). I got some teaching sessions, higher responsibility compared to last year when my tasks were only to create try out questions and solutions. I have improved though, I could feel that I taught much better this year.

Talking about the students, this year DKI Jakarta did not have some kind of already-veteran-but-unlucky-year-before like Dino last year or me two years back. Therefore we had to develop those students from beginning. Actually I knew that Hana almost did it last year (but her progress was not as good as Ryan, her schoolmate) so that she was at the same position with me and Dino, but during OSP all alumni agreed she was not as ready as Dino or me to be stamped as “soon to get gold”.

And then a newcomer came surprisingly by topping the first test. He was Fachri. Bu Eka was not surprised because he also topped East Jakarta’s test, but for me he reminded me of what I did in 2011. On the first test, I was first, above Sabrina and Raymond (two times IOAA silver medalist that time). I was surprised, and it boosted my confidence a lot. But we know what happened next, I failed miserably on the most important test: OSP. So I hoped he got the confidence boost, but not to be arrogant like me.

Besides they two we actually have some potential students, including my highschool juniors (Nicholas and Deni). Surprisingly, I also had some potential juniors from other PENABUR schools, which was not a common thing since only SMAK 1 has been constantly (except 2011 and 2013) sending students to national level for Astronomy. But then… They were not trained well. They had good Math and Physics skill, but they were not taught Astronomy before. And also some of them didn’t have “get a gold in Lombok” as their motivation, but “skipping final exam” instead. Yah hopefully next year they will come again.

From those mixed inputs, I did not know how many students will qualify to national level. And in the end, I was surprised (and happy of course) that 8 students qualified, including Nicholas. Knowing that if OSP was already OSN, all of them were on medal range made me even happier. None of them were on gold range, though, but based on their progress in training before OSP I expected some of them could get to the gold range. Of course, the target was to get at least a gold. Matching 2 golds achievement last year will be even better.

But sometimes things do not go as we want.

I told them on the first day of half-intensive training about their position. My expectation was that they will be more motivated to get that damn gold, just like me when I was told that I was the 2nd rank in OSP 2012. I was very motivated to make sure that I will stay at gold range. Yes, if they thought like me, they may have been better. But I should have known that I cannot push the same method to everyone.

Since I had to be back in Singapore from August 1st, I could not monitor them that much. I relied on Bu Eka since she is the coordinator. However, as time goes, it was reported that they did not progress well. They were below expectation and last year’s team. Of course it was not a good thing, although I knew that 2 years ago I was told the same thing but in the end my team managed to break the “1 gold 1 silver x bronzes” curse. I still hoped it was just a hyperbola.

I started to get anxious when I gave them a set of simulation one week before OSN. And their results were not good, especially for essay part. Since OSP did not put too much multiple choice part, I was afraid OSN will be the same and their essay were not good. I told them to push their limit for the final 1 week, but I still did not have power to control their training.

Then they went to Mataram.

I had planned to go there actually. Skipping classes were not a problem since I always do it, but the obstacle was that I was waiting for my Dikti scholarship contract to be ready. Since I have sent my report in early June, I expected I would have signed the contract before I went to Singapore. The reality is, I just signed it last week in Batam. Looking at the situation, I decided to cancel the plan because I did not feel good to spend 3 million rupiahs when my scholarship is still uncertain. I could only pray for them.

Everything seemed to be fine, because we tried to make them relaxed. In the end, they have prepared and it was time to show how good they were. We were anxious because they were not that ready, but let it be. When a test has been finished, I always asked them how was it going for them. Their answers did not look that bad, but I did not know what actually happened. I could only see their message, so I thought everything was fine.

Bad signs started to appear when Mr. Ikbal told me after theoretical round via Facebook that contestants from DKI Jakarta did not perform as well as usual. I could not know how below expectation they were, but this was not a good sign. Later on, Pak Wid (DKI Jakarta’s so-called Guru) gave a riddle “magnitude 6 star is brighter than magnitude 1 star” which also did not look good.

On the closing day, I was waiting for the result at UTown NUS. UTown is of course a place for chilling (except if you’re an NUS student having lectures there), but I really could not enjoy the time there. And in the closing ceremony, it was a surprise that gold medalists were called first instead of bronze. We did not get a single gold. It was still not that bad, though. Everyone got medal would have been good. But when silver medalists were called and only Hana and Adhy got the silver, a new question raised: “How many will not get a medal?”. In the end only Nicholas and Fachri got bronze; which means Via, Adam, Reyhan, and Wibi did not get anything. I was shocked.

Mr. Hakim later said to me that 3 out of 4 among Via, Adam, Reyhan, and Wibi were in top 40. One of them was even exactly below Nicholas, who was ranked 30th to grab the very last bronze. Fachri was ranked 26th, in lower bronze range. Hana and Adhy were ranked 10th and 15th (last silver), so they were also in lower silver range. Later on I was told that Hana could have gotten a gold, had she focused the telescope to the light which was the only thing she missed in the observational round…

Why could this happen? I learnt a lot from Prof. Yohanes Surya’s book (Mestakung) that golds are grabbed with an intensive preparation. Sometimes a so-so preparation can still be good enough, but you are very volatile when you are not in your top performance. And I think that was the problem. By telling them they were all in medal range in OSP, I have made them a bit too relaxed and lost their focus. Now, they have lost the chance to get that gold.

For me, even though I am one of only few Indonesian students who were able to get a gold in IAO/IOAA, it is not that awesome if I cannot make my junior successful. And this time, I cannot consider myself triumph because this year is the first year DKI Jakarta did not win any gold on Astronomy. This year will surely be a lesson learned for future that I cannot train everyone the same way I want to be trained, but at least for now I have to wait one more year….

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