Ramadhan Fasting, seven-month pregnant, and final exam altogether

Alhamdulillah, surprisingly I manage to do Ramadhan fasting while being 7 months pregnant and having the final exam for this semester.

I actually only gain benefits from fasting during Ramadhan in relation to my last term of pregnancy and final term exams. As for the pregnancy, I feel less heartburn and could sleep more comfortably. I noticed that consuming more intake of supplements and healthy snacks with less fat and salt would be advantageous. I consume dates (kurma) and dates extract (sari kurma) and I have been fasting for about a week now. Hopefully, I could complete this Ramadhan. When I was expecting my first son and breastfed him the next year, I did not even try to fast. And I regretted that knowing that I am actually able to. Since my first and this second pregnancy are not quite different, I don’t really have things to complain about (just have to listen to my body more often).

As for my final exam, I think I have better time management to study and to do the take home assignments. I find it funny but yes I could be more focused while not thinking about food. MasyaAlloh, what a blessing.

Two things that I always keep in mind is always to think positively/ optimistically and listen to my body whenever I feel slight discomfort. By having good suggestions, the baby I carry would have been accustomed to it. It was like when I was in my first son’s labor. I had few contractions and I did not have water broke. When I consulted to the ob-gyn, she said that I should be ready to deliver the baby but with the lack of amniotic water. If we were late just the next day, I would have delivered the baby via Caesarian. However, my husband encouraged me to have really strong faith in me and my baby that we could get through with the best possibility. Finally, I delivered my son after a shot of induction via IV and four hours of unimaginable energy intense process. I cannot describe the pain when he finally managed to get through the birth canal. I saw my husband cried. Then, the nurse put the baby onto my chest while the doctor and nurses cleaned up the mess down there.

Learning from my first pregnancy, I think I am not just lucky and blessed, but rather I realized that things I have invested way back before I am planning on raising a family are truly paid off. Although I was not that active on regular exercise, I had cycled from my university years and work until before marriage. Moreover, I do not like carbonated drinks, simply cannot afford to eat junk food often, and not a fan of staying up late.

Recently. I am more active than when I was in the office. I have to go up and down by stairs to attend classes and exams. In addition, my son is soooo active that the only time he could manage to be still is while he is sleeping. AND we are not having helper or babysitter to juggle with child-rearing, house chores, work, and school. I know these sounds surreal, but it’s real, many families could manage to do so and it was one of the investments to raise a happy, well-functioning, and solid family.

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We are turning four in July (or August)!

I have to count my blessings anyway. Since so many surprises emerged from last year and this year. At the end of the year, I was surprised to find out that we are expecting a new member of the family which will be due at the end of July (or early August at the latest). To add more, this very early year I got accepted to a university in Japan which I least expected to be.

I have so many things to write about actually but I do not really have the consistency to do so. The assignments on this semester are more challenging and interesting. For example, issues related to decentralization reform and local government in Indonesia, public sector reform in all over the world, public sector finance and economics, and last but not least about human resource development in public sector. Alongside with me turning into a heavily pregnant woman, there comes also my concern on how we will manage the post labor: how will I leave my latest issue while the baby should have been in his exclusive breastfeeding moment. I just keep on praying to manage the best option we could make for the baby.

Besides all of the tit bits on my family and academic life, I found it funny to have interests in work-life balance issue and political issue, particularly in recent US’s Trump presidency. About work-life balance issue, I feel more positive and optimistic after I read this article of Ruth Badder Ginsburg (aka The Notorious RBG), Justice of Supreme Court of The United States. She speaks about how as a woman in her age gets to gain such a path of career and still enable her to rear children and raise a well-functioned family.

Personally, I like to feed myself with empowering messages for working mothers. Someday (yeah definitely), I would love to write something about work-life balance in this anything’s possible era. By attending higher and better education, I hope I could contribute to myself as a mother of my children and as a public sector worker.

As for the latter issue of Trump’s presidency, it does give me awareness about political and governmental issues. We should not ignore just because we assume that politics, governments, or bureaucrats (name it) are disgusting. We should figure out on how things are right or wrong. We should continuously learn to improve and be able to survive in this anything’s possible world era. Due to my interest in the US’s politics and government these days, I have a new addiction to keep myself updated by watching Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, or Trevor Noah’s shows. Comedically, these guys are criticizing their leader and people around him, like entitling Trump as the worst president of the US. He surely makes history (in a bad way).

The silver lining throughout these hard days to the Americans is that we get to see an utter example of how a single figure could lead to a catastrophe in a well-established free country which has a massive influence on other countries. Furthermore, check and balances system in a government/ administration is crucial to keep things checked and balanced.

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Mastery Motivation-Oriented

This is actually parts from my exam paper for Statistics. The lecturer gave us a take-home exam which we adored very much indeed. He asked us to do a review on an article taken from Scandinavian education journal entitled “Classroom Social Structure and Motivational Climates: On the influence of teachers’ involvement, teachers’ autonomy support and regulation in relation to motivational climates in school classrooms” by Tor Stornes, Edvin Bru and Thormod Idsoe. This article was published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research Vol. 52, No. 3, June 2008.

I have no idea, but I did have a good time reading this article and worked on its review. I enjoyed the work uncannily 😀

What we could reflect is this scientific work might be by taking a look at how contrast is education system in Indonesia and in Norway. It is clearly indicated in this article that Norwegian education system has been devotedly supporting mastery motivational climate for their students to achieve expected outcomes in the classrooms. While, in Indonesia, clearly on the opposite, generally our education system stimulates performance motivational climate.

As aforementioned, mastery motivational climate is characterized by several features. First, it is beneficial through allowing a wide range of important motivational, cognitive and affective outcomes. Mastery motivational climate is defined closely as a high level of intrinsic motivation which is characterized by learning for its own sake, and for improvement of ones who own academic capability.

On the contrary, performance motivational climate is strongly characterized by the existence of external cues. Its basic characteristics are contradictory to the features of mastery motivational climate in several respects.

The relationship between students’ perceptions of the social structure in the classroom and perceptions of the motivational climate, either mastery motivational climate or performance motivational climate was investigated in the research. The social structure here refers to teachers’ involvement, autonomy, and regulation.

In Norway, generally, teachers involve students by building close relationships, giving sufficient feedbacks, and evaluating students’ outcomes based on their references. These approaches are stimulating mastery motivational climate for students. On the other way around, less involvement and poor feedbacks may predispose students to set their assessment based on comparison to peers and lead them to grow performance motivational climate. Previous findings indicate that students who feel emotionally supported by their teachers are more likely to experience mastery, enjoyment of learning, and motivation for academic success and to display on-task behaviors (Fraser & Fisher, 1982; Merrett & Wheldall, 1987; Moos, 1979).

Another social structure observed is the degree of autonomy provided by teachers. Previous studies provide evidence that students who have a certain degree of autonomy are more committed and intrinsically motivated than students who regard the climate as more controlling. Autonomy may allow students to have more power to select their own learning goals and, accordingly, experience more control concerning learning and school results. When students take more responsibility for their own outcomes, they are likely to become more hardworking, self-driven, and invest sustained effort for improvements. On the contrary, lack of autonomy support may be followed by authoritative attitude from teachers which believed to be stimulating performance motivational climate. Teachers would likely to set rewarding system by extrinsic cues and therefore, the competitive climate will dominate the learning drive.

Last but not least, the social structure of regulation is also important in determining the motivational climate. However, relationships between regulation and the motivational climate may vary depending on what goals teachers pursue. Since some teachers would likely to set the rules in terms of efficiency or to give preconditions which will allow more inclusive ambiance.

Realizing these benefits provided by mastery motivational climate and its preconditions on social structure, developing country like Indonesia should follow this approach in providing more sustained climate for students learning. However, as mentioned in this paper, on why the researchers took evidence from students’ perceptions instead of commonly taking measures from teachers’ reports, they also considered the involvement of students on education evaluation as valuable and valid as scientific evidence. This indicates how researchers consider students as not merely passive recipients in classrooms, but they are truly the face of the nation’s future from which contributions cannot be taken lightly.

Hopefully, Indonesian government would seek more for improvements through actively exploring young students to be actively involved in giving feedbacks and seriously taking their considerations into account in education policy. This study could be one of good examples and references which have proven their success and could spark intentions of policy-makers for improvements of education in Indonesia.

 

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Dear Fellow Public Servants

While I am doing my paper exam, I found these lines which struck me to awe. to relate these to my fellow public servants who might face this situation in daily basis.
 
“How many of us have seen what happens when an idealistic public
servant comes to a public organization and is treated as if his or her idealism is naiveté—and is told that what is expected and rewarded is to do what they are told and keep quiet? If we treat people as bureaucrats, as self-serving and self-interested individuals, we encourage them to become just that. Believing in the public service, and our role in serving the public interest, is what allows us to sacrifice, to give our best, to go, as the firefighters and police officers did in the World Trade Center disaster, where others would not go.”
 
Denhardt, Robert B. and Denhardt, Janet Vinzant (2007) in The New Public Service: Serving, not Steering (Extended edition)
I am working on to review this book. During the work, I get so many insights which are actually could be good food for thoughts. Hopefully, by doing my assignment thoroughly, I could reflect and make difference starting from my very self. If I get to finish this assignment I would like to share this review.
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Assignments are Waiting in Line

I am about to have end-of-term exam on early of December. Master’s degree really is different in to which how I learned during bachelor degree. I have to read  a whole lot of materials (particularly academic articles), doing reviews, making summaries or papers out of those. For me, this is challenging. Since, I have to be able to allocate my very limited time (especially for my early toddler). However, this is just temporary. Hopefully, if I get to managed this through alive, I might be an inspiring mom for my kids in the future.

When I am writing this, I just listed my assignments as substitutes of the exam. Almost all of the lecturers give us take-home exams (paper assignments). Well, it is a quite long list. I hope I could share several of my papers here. There are various subjects which are related to public administration, public policy process, development theories, organizations, and research method. Hmm, sounds hefty T_T but I strangely feel excited about it. I fully understood that these paper won’t even matter if get back to my office desk. However, I feel positive that I would likely expand my worldview.

Soon, I will share several of my academic papers here which I think would be worth to be published. Additionally, I also have to prepare my research proposal. Japanese professors are about to come and interview us on early next year. I better be prepared with not only one proposal.

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My Writing Nook

I have always yearned to have my own space but less eagerness to share. However, I got a scholarship which requires me to have a comprehensive skill in English, particularly in reading and writing skills. The logic is, I have to read a lot to produce good and logical writings. Then, to figure out whether my writings are good or bad, coherent or messy, logical or discursive, I should be open to any response and criticism. Conclusively, this ‘space’ hopefully will allow me to be more open toward improvements. I committed to dedicate my Friday afternoon (or any fraction amount of time) that I have to shed or share tit bits of my daily routine that cannot be said random.

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This so-called my writing nook will likely help me to deliver or simply share a number of my thoughts about books that I have read, academic article or book reviews, or sometimes just about daily observation from my perspective as a muslim woman, a mom, a student, a wife, a sister, and as a public servant (the last one is related to my occupation).

Ok better start anyway! Ow wow I have started it anyway! Well, one of my favorite authors is Neil Gaiman, ever since I read Neverwhere and Good Omens. Here is a part of his aspirational commencement speech delivered in May of 2012 at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.

When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.

This one really gets me fired up. Awrightey, enjoy the rest of the day!

P.S. : Here, I share several images of reading nook from here. I would like to have one for me and my children someday in the near future.

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