Unforgettable Experiences – OSN, Training Centre and IJSO 2015


Hello! I’m going to tell you about one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. Actually it should be a long story as it took 3 months of my life, but I will try to condense it into a short one. Happy reading!

2015 was a very great year for me. There were a bunch of experiences I won’t forget in my life. They were OSN (Olimpiade Sains Nasional / National Science Olympiad), the Training Center, and IJSO 2015.

First of all, I will tell you how was the process of selection in OSN. OSN has three main major, which are Science, Mathematics, and Social. Not all students can participate in this competition as each school can only send one student in each major. The first was school selection, city level (OSK), and the next was province (OSP). Students who passed the province level can continue to national level (OSN). OSN 2015 was held in Palu, Sulawesi Tengah from May 17th, 2015 until May, 23rd, 2015. I went there together with West Java contingent, and some of them are also SMAN 3 student (Hilya Nadhira Iman, Syihabudin, Raihan Fauzan, and Daffa). I participated in Science (Physics and Biology) for OSN 2015. For Science major, there were 2 tests, experimental and theoritical test. I did the best that I could in those tests even though I knew the results weren’t perfect, and thanks God, I got silver medal.

My struggles didn’t stop there. Medalists from Science major would be selected again for representing Indonesia in IJSO 2015 (International Junior Science Olympiad) in Daegu, South Korea. There were three stages of selection, which were called Training Center 1, 2, and 3. I met a lot of smart students from various city around Indonesia there.

The first training center (I will call it TC 1) started on September  1st , 2015 until September 10th, 2015. It took place in The Silk Hotel, Dago, Bandung. 30 medalists were called to follow TC 1. In TC 1, each of us competed to be able to continue to TC 2. There were three main subjects that we had to learn; Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. We learned one of those subjects every day, alternately, in about two weeks of training from 08.00 AM to 10.00 PM.  We were taught  by lecturers from ITB (Institute Teknologi Bandung) and UI (Universitas Indonesia) and in the afternoon there would be a test. For the night session, there was a tutorial from ITB college students, we could ask them materials that we hadn't understood freely. On the last day of training there was a closing ceremony and some performances from the students. On that day we  were very sad as we had to go back home and also very nervous about the result of the training. There would be chosen 12 students to continue to TC 2.

And that was our condition when we went back home until the day of the announcement. On Saturday, September 12th  my mother checked Kemendikbud’s website (as the announcement would be there) and evidently, the announcement was there. Once again, thanks God my name was one of the name of the 12 students that would continue to TC 2. The other 11 names were : Hilya Nadhira Iman (SMP Al-Azhar 8 Bekasi, SMAN 3), Talitha Putri (SMP Semesta Semarang), Fadhila Mahardika (SMP Labschool Rawamangun), Rahmah Fadhilah (SMP Al-Azhar Palu), Christina (SMP Methodist Charles Wesley Medan), Ivander Jonathan (SMP Mawar Sharon Christian School, Surabaya), Bryan Nathanel (SMPK Petra Surabaya), William Nathaniel (SMPK BPK Penabur Cirebon), Muhammad Farhan (SMPN 25 Makassar), Anthony Steven Halim (SMP Saint Peter Jakarta), and Prawira Satya Darma (SMPN 115 Jakarta). 

TC 2 was started on Sunday, September 13th until October 15th (4 weeks) at the same place as TC 1, but with less students. There, we also studied Physics, Biology, and Chemistry with more specific materials and two tests every day.  We were also taught by lecturers and college students from ITB. The difference with TC 1 was in TC 2, there was experimental practice and tests twice a week. We did the experiment in group consisted of three people in ITB’s Science Laboratory. The group changed in every different experiment. In this training (honestly) I felt a lot of pressure but also a lot of fun because there were only 12 students so automatically we were close to each other. We spent almost all of our time together; being happy, sad, nervous, and stressed together. We were also given chance to go to TSB (Trans Studio Bandung) together when we had spare time.

When TC 2 was over, we continued our training to TC 3, without any selection again.  On Sunday, October 16th we went to Depok together. TC 3 was held in Bumi Wiyata Hotel, Depok until the day of the departure to Korea (6 weeks). In TC 3, we weren’t taught anymore, but we were tested every day by lecturers from UI. There were 3 theoritical tests each day for 3 days in a week, 2 experimental practice, 2 experimental tests, and a simulation of IJSO test every Saturday. We did the experimental practice and tests in UI Science Laboratory. The group for experiment in this training was fixed, and I was in a group with Christina and Muhammad Farhan. This group would be the group for IJSO Experimental Test. In this training, we were asked to be more serious and diligent, but that didn't mean we didn't have any recreation. For TC 3, we went to Jungle Land together to have a refreshing.

After 6 weeks of training in TC 3, at last, the time came for us to depart to Daegu, South Korea. We went to Korea together (12 students) with 2 lecturers in each major (in total 6 lecturers). We departed from Soekarno-Hatta Airport and after taking 7 hours of flight, we arrived in Seoul, South Korea to transit for 12 hours. We didn’t stay in the airport, but we took a one-day tour around Seoul. And at 19.00 we departed from Seoul to Daegu.

In Daegu, we stayed at Inter-Burgo Hotel, which was the student’s official hotel for IJSO 2015.We
weren’t in the same hotel as the lecturers as they would translate the tests into Bahasa the day before we took the tests.

The first test was MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) Test. There were 30 multiple-choice questions. The second test was Theoritical Test (essay), and the third was Experimental Test, which was done in a group. Those tests were held in different days. Between those days, there was a free day, when we would go together to Science National Museum, KAIST, DGIST, and some other places in Daegu to have a refreshing from the test the day before. I really enjoyed the tours but I felt really sad that two of my friends could not go together with us as they were sick. But thankfully they had already recovered  on the day of the test.

After all of the tests were done, we waited for the announcement of the medalists. It was held on the last day of IJSO 2015, together with the closing ceremony. I was very afraid that I would not get any medal, but as I had already done what I could, I prayed that God would give the best for me. At last, on the day of the announcement, when the medalists were called, my name was mentioned to be one of the bronze medalist.

Indonesian Team was so happy that day, as all of us got medal. But we were also very sad as that day meant our journey for IJSO 2015 was done and there were only some days left before we separated to go back to our home town.

On December, 1st 2015 we departed from Daegu to Indonesia (Soekarno-Hatta Airport). We arrived in Indonesia at about 20.30 and we were welcomed by Kemendikbud and our parents, then we ate dinner together for the last time. Some of us went back home that night, but some of us stayed at the hotel that was booked by Kemendikbud. I went home that night.

This was the real goodbye for us, as there would be a very little chance for us to gather again. We could just hope that we could meet again.


So, why are they unforgetable?

I would like to say that joining olympiad gives me so many lessons. Yes, I will learn materials beyond my grades but that isn’t the most important thing. There are some things greater. 

Firstly, joining olympiad opens my mind. One-time, I thought that only few people can work seriously / work hard - as what I see at school, only some students are serious about what they’re learning. But then when I join olympiad, I am completely wrong. Out there, so many people are struggling to finish tons of books and questions ((exaggerating)) and read journals, surfing the internet just to understand a concept, or even dying to find a reference book. They sacrifice their playtime to learn more and more. Moreover, I read that some people spent up to 5 hours a day to learn olympiad materials. For you to know, it seems easy to just say, “Okay I will study for it 5 hours a day!” But the implementation is extremely hard. You have to be really smart to manage your time between school tasks, school activites, social life, olympiad, and SLEEPING. 5 hours are much of time to be spent.

Secondly, I come to know the feeling when someone can’t understand a lesson how hard he/she has tried. Usually at school, it is not really hard for me to understand the materials (let’s say on a scale of 1-10, my effort is 8). But when I study for olympiad, … it took months of practice to correctly understand the concept and able to do a question in a different type. (I can say that on a scale of 1-10, I have to spare an effort of 20 ): ) Moreover, for some topics, though I’ve read the theory couple of times and practiced many questions, I still can’t understand it fully. If I only learn school materials, I will not know this feeling. Now that I understand why some of my friends still don’t understand Maths/Physics even though the teacher has explained it couple of times.

Thirdly, I realised that the quotes “hard work will never betray the result” is not totally right. If I do 1000 questions a day but it is all in the same type, I will gain nothing, but do I work hard? Yes, of course I do! Does it make me understand more? No, not at all. So, I would like to say that “smart” work is somehow more reccomended that hard work - even though combining them is the best way. Besides your work, you also need guidance from God. Do not ever forget to pray, ask, and thank Him for His blessings throughout your life.

And the last but not least, I find my best friends from this olympiad - students with the same struggle and pressure.

Okay, that was a short story of OSN, the Training Center, and IJSO 2015 from me. Thank you for reading! :)

P. S. : sorry if this is still too long

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