Indonesia is among the most culturally diverse nations in the world. We speak over 700 languages & dialects and come from more than 15 ethnic groups across the archipelago we call home. So, we thought that we’d set up our very own rendition of Humans of New York – Humans of BISA, as we like to call it – so that we could get to know each other better and hopefully inspire some!
Here are our stories. What’s yours?
Why did you start Humans of bisa?
I started Humans of BISA because I believe storytelling is a powerful tool that can bring a group of people closer together. We are a big group, and it is easy to forget just how special each of us are despite our common heritage. With this project, I wanted to cherish those differences. I wanted to create a space where people could be inspired to get to know more people, to go beyond a simple hi, and to live united in diversity.
AS a freshman, how would you describe your recent transition to Cal?
When I was a high school student, the idea of going to college seemed like an exciting but distant period in the future. Four years later, the reality of college life finally sinks in and all of that excitement dissipates into a plethora of fears. “What if I’m not good enough for Cal?” Questions of this sort began manifesting in my thoughts and only fueled my fears. As I meekly entered Sproul Plaza on my first day at Cal, I vividly remember being overwhelmed by a flurry of flyers and enthusiastic clubs trying to recruit members. This experience alone is an allegory to my experience at Cal so far: overwhelmingly intimidating, yet compelling at the same time. Despite my initial fear, experiencing the ambitiously driven community at Cal compels me to transform that fear into resolve.
What is your fondest memory of Berkeley?
Just one? Haha well I don’t have one particular memory, but in general, it’s definitely been the people that have made the last 4 years so memorable. If my life were a movie, this would be the cue for the dramatic flashback montage, complete with the voiceover, bokeh, light leaks - the whole shabang. From the “no door remains closed” norm in the dorms my freshman year, to the monthly Dominoes deliveries and rant/gossip sessions with my housemates and the spontaneous late-night drives after failed exams my sophomore year, to the picnics on Glade and possibly some the best trips to Mexico I’ll ever have my junior and senior year, I am very grateful to have met some of the best people here.
What is one value you live by?
I have always admired those people who seem to have it all, smart, kind, charismatic, successful, confident, you name it, but now I don’t think that’s necessarily the case - it’s not that they have it all, it’s that they understand their intrinsic self worth and feel so comfortable in their own skin that they need not compare themselves to others or beat themselves up when things don’t turn out the way they expect. They view each challenge with an optimistic mindset and each failure as an opportunity to grow. In a way, those who exhibit humility are confident but modest, and aren’t afraid to fail, and I think those qualities are some things that I strive to live by everyday.
Tell Us about your hobby of calligraphy that you recently picked up.
I want people to know that I am not afraid to express myself. The thing is that it is easy to express yourself when you are happy but when you are feeling not so happy, when you are feeling sad or troubled, for me, that’s when I mostly write. I am a math major and so like, math majors, you don’t really expect them to type numbers up on a computer. So you always see them like writing numbers down and doing equations and stuff, but now I am using writing in another way. I always write in black, blue and green. Black is a very stable color - people always write in black. Blue because Cal and green because it’s my favorite color and because I don’t have any other color pens, but I’m not planning to get any other color pens. I see myself as more of a mellow, introverted person and blue and green, they’re calmer colors.
HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE YOUR LIFE HERE AT CAL?
Here you see people with different passions, which inspires me to try out as many things as I can. Here, you have a lot of choices - you can pursue entrepreneurship, join sports teams, the list goes on. So my first semester, I decided to take a shot at applying to student organizations. Sadly, that didn’t work out for me. But hey, when life closes one door, it opens another one for you. Right now, I am studying Business at Haas, while also discovering my passion in IEOR and am pursuing a minor in it. Who knew? I always tell myself to be grateful for everything I have, and for everything that I don’t have.
I see you a lot in wurster... how did you end up in architecture?
I was originally a Chemical Engineering major. I did fairly well in my classes and all, but I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. One day, I was moving into my house when I saw an Architecture student bringing his model around. That moment changed everything. I suddenly remembered the days when I joined drawing competitions, and my artistic side was rekindled. So I thought, “Rather than doing something I am good at, why not try something that I also have a passion for?”
~Parama Pradana Suteja