Kampus Merdeka : experience more than just an internships

Irfan Maulana Nasution
12 min readFeb 20, 2022

MSIB for most people is just an intern. But behind the curtain there is a lot of things happening and incidentally, I was part of it

Last week (10 February 2022) I represent students of MSIB Kampus Merdeka batch 1 in “Pisah Sambut MSIB Angkatan 1 dan 2”. This is an offboarding and onboarding ceremony for MSIB batch 1 and 2. Closing Kampus Merdeka batch 1 this even also reminds me of the National onboarding batch 1 and the story that unfolds between it and a reminder while the story has come to an end but not the lesson will lasts forever.

National Onboarding Poster & Pisah Sambut MSIB Angkatan 1 dan 2 Snapshot

How it started

Kampus Merdeka this Kampus Merdeka that. While waiting for my games party I keep hearing my friends talking about this. And not only once. I play often during summer vacation and I keep hearing this term. “What is it?” I wonder. Reading here and there I found that they are talking about Magang dan Studi Independen (MSIB) Kampus Merdeka a project by the ministry of education that lets students have real-world experience. Well, any intern could achieve that I thought. But the intern in this event is counted as twenty credit courses (SKS). Now, wait, twenty is a LOT! especially for me who for some reason need a lot of course credits. And so I thought this is the chance. I always need real-world experience and now it’s blessed with twenty credit courses. “This is God answering my prayer and I need to take this opportunity,” I thought.

I start applying. I apply to around 20 companies. I apply to all companies that are open for my position and have great working culture. I also look for the information regarding the administration in my campus, especially my faculty and start sharing with other students who are interested too in a group chat. But then the problem arises.

#Dilemma1

No one is responding to my application even after several weeks. But around two weeks before the deadline, there is a company that contacts me. “Finally!” I thought. I get interviewed and passed. They give me an offer. But my dream company has not responded yet. Not even a rejection. Not even one of them. So I brace up and ask them politely to give me times. They said “they will think about it” and never respond. At the time I regret it. I thought to myself “have I missed my chance to get twenty credits?”.

#Dilemma2

More responses start to fill my email inbox. At this point, I know that the chance I will get this Kampus Merdeka intern is getting higher. BUT! The problem is I’m still on my previous intern. I actually already think about this from the beginning but at first, I thought “Well it’s not even sure that I will be accepted”. I have to either have two interns at the same time or leave the first one. having two interns is probably possible since my first internship is coming to an end. and the new internships are still on onboarding and the first week of work won’t be hard, I thought. I even consult with seniors that have the experience of having two internships at the same time. At first, I decide to do both internships. But as I work my work I realize that I cant do it. So, I again brace myself up and talk to my manager about what is happening and if I can leave before what we agree in the contract. And beyond my expectation, my manager understood my reason, is being supportive, and give me an okay. He even gives me advice and such (manager. if you read this. You’re the best ;). So now, I’m ready to accept an offer!

#Dilemma3

Finally, one of my dream companies respond. We have an interview and I passed the test. They give me an offer (a great one!). And it is also almost the deadline of the registration period for Kampus Merdeka. But this dream company is not the first on my list. And I really want to go to my dream company and check my bucket list (hehe a bit greedy am I?). But, while not yet positive. My first in-the-list dream company starts responding and I pass the first test. this is really a dilemma! The deadline to respond to the offer came and I decide to pass this one. Very risky but even if my first in the list dream company rejected me I might still be able to intern in another smaller company. So I go with that option. Goodbye, the good offer from a good company :’).

I forgot how many days exactly but it’s around 2–3 days to Kampus Merdeka registration period deadline. Finally! Gojek, my first in-the-list dream company, give me an offer. There is no dilemma this time. I read the contract and sign it. Finishing the administration. I celebrate myself. I jump around, scream. I’ve never been this happy for a long time. This is what a dream come true feels like. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m accepted in Universitas Indonesia. In another article, I write of how ambition-less my life has been. And at this point, I know this is what life is about. Fighting for something and get it. Facing a lot of problems to get here. But I did it.

#Dilemma4

The onboarding day come and I try to be as active as I need and can. One time, one of the HR need information regarding something from the interns. So she asks us in the group chat. But it’s really chaotic answering in the group chat. I already answer for myself so I thought I can just leave it. But I think it will be better if we fill in this information via a google spreadsheet. But it’s none really of my business and I already leave my laptop and chilled in my bed so I was kinda lazy. “It’s not really that hard making a spreadsheet and sharing it to the group chat,” a thought said to me. I wake up create the spreadsheet and propose it to the group to use this instead so it won’t be chaotic. the HR and others accept my offer and use the spreadsheet. So that is that. Or so I thought.

Suddenly there is a call introducing himself as a person from the ministry. I thought what is it? is it a scam or real? but I try to respond as politely as possible (even though I thought it was a scammer). Turn out it really is from the ministry offering me to be the representative student of MSIB Kampus Merdeka batch 1. I’m surprised why did they randomly offer me an offer this cool. So I ask. And I found out that my HR has put a good word on me in a talk with the representative from the ministry team. Of course, it’s not just because of that spreadsheet. There are other small things and the impression I left to the HR. but the spreadsheet story is the deal-breaker at that time. It leaves a mark in my HR mind which makes me get recommended. And that’s how I was recommended to be the representative.

The Side (or Main?) Journey

After the “Kampus Merdeka National Onboarding” the internship starts. I will talk about the internship journey in Gojek next time in another article. But here in Kampus Merdeka. besides the internship itself. There is another journey. A side journey that is worth as much as the main journey. It all started after I was elected as one of the two representatives for Gojek intern. All the representatives of the company that participates in Kampus Merdeka are gathered in one group. and that will be the start of the side journey.

Representing the Representative

Not long after the group was established. The head of Kampus Merdeka made a gathering for all the representatives. That gathering discuss a lot of things including unsolved problems, the purpose of the representative, and lastly, the head of Kampus Merdeka proposed to make a group to represent all the representative (200++ students). Since communicating with that much of people might be hard on them. At first, I’m not planning to be part of it while it seems like a good opportunity it also seems it will be a hassle. So I don’t propose myself at the question “who wants to propose himself/a friend to be the representative”. But a lot of people are proposing my name. That time I decide “Then lets fate decide for me. I’ll not propose myself but if I’m chosen I’ll take the responsibility”. Finally, at the end of the election. I was chosen. With this, i became a team under the Kampus Merdeka team. What happened that night is definitely something I’m not regretting now.

The First Chaos

The team was at first established only to help the communication between students and Kampus Merdeka Team. If there is anything urgent we will directly contact the Head of Kampus Merdeka. If there is any information from Kampus Merdeka we would deliver it and try to make it clear to the students. We clean the group chats as clean as we can so it’s easier to discuss and ask. We collect all the groups document like guideline books etc in one place so it’s easy to find.

But then things happen. It was found that there is a lot of students that have not finalized their administration due to a lot kind of reasons, a lot of problem regarding recommendation letter from a lot of campuses, and then the biggest of all the problem comes “allowance”. At that time we work day and night to help Kampus Merdeka with this problem. A lot of things need to be communicated. A lot of things also need to be worked on. There is even a time when we need to screen 12.000++ data of students to report the error. And a lot of other serious tasks that had to be done that I can’t share.

And not to forget I still have to do my job as a Gojek intern representative. Which I later forgot a lot :’) thank you my representative partner for covering for me.

The Representative Team (excluding Dave) meeting until midnight

The First Unofficial Gathering

Problems keep coming and even now I sometimes wonder how did we even survive that. Especially for the other representative of the representative. Because most of them are literally way busier than me. Sometimes they have to work till night. Some of them participated in this and that event. Even I, who is not that busy already feel how tiring handling all this Kampus Merdeka task (shout out to them). And that’s why we decide to hang out together when it gets a bit free. To bond and just to release stress. The first gathering was for some reason and accident can only be attended by four-person. Didn’t think these guys would be so fun! I definitely do not regret meeting them. the conclusion of that day gathering is that Theo sucks at board games and makes jokes.

The Strategic Project

After problems like administration etc from the early time start to calm down. The team starts to think about what we want to do with this little group/organization we have. What we want to make for a better Kampus Merdeka. At the time I thought why do we want to do more than the responsibility? it was a hassle and I’m part of the representative who vote “No” to do this idea (hehe). But luckily I lost the vote. So we start to discuss a lot of projects. Like creating social media for the representative branding, coaching training with all the representatives, appreciation night, etc.

random snapshot of what i do as National Coordinator Kampus Merdeka batch 1 (Representative of representative)

Become a Trainer for Batch 2 Preparation

One of the best strategic projects we made is the trainer for batch 2. Several people chosen by Mas Nurhadi (head of Kampus Merdeka batch 1) was trained to be a trainer for the next batch. It starts with the offline training for us (the trainer) where we learn, practice, discuss, play. We even made a mini-training to practice what we have learned that time. We invite several people from around us to evaluate how we train. Later on that night some of us enjoy the beautiful Jakarta (since some of the trainers even come from outside Jakarta. shoutout to them!).

Later on, we train students to prepare for batch 2 Kampus Merdeka. We also do the socialization for Kampus Merdeka. Until the end, we visit fifteen campuses or more. And there is also several national training like “Sosialisasi dan Training Persiapan Seleksi MSIB”. During this time. We, especially our manager Samuel Juan meet a lot of amazing people from around Indonesia.

The end of Kampus Merdeka batch 1

Besides the story I have mentioned on top there is, of course, a lot of happening that I can’t share the detail due to my limit as a human to remember it and write it down. But all of them have been an amazing experience and learning. During this trying time (corona) they have been the people that make me keep myself sane (even though sometimes the problem that comes from this team is insane). dispute, love, friendships happen within the seven of us and are definitely something I’m glad it happens. If for any reason I have to go back to the time I was asked in the first gathering will I join the team? The current me will assertively say, “I will, I will dive through all the problems for these experiences, friends, and lessons”.

But everything that starts will come to an end. And so Kampus Merdeka batch 1. With Kampus Merdeka batch 1 coming to an end our responsibility in batch 1 will come to an end. Some of us might continue to work under the ministry but some don’t. Before closing this article please let me give my thanks to Ka Mutia from Gojek who became the bridge to this opportunity. to Mas Nurhadi and the team who have given us all this trust, responsibility, and opportunity. And of course special thanks to my tea tom who turn out never have a photo together.

Thank you, Samuel Juan Pranoto — The most diligent member. The most contributive. I never understand how people can be this contributive. May God repay your kindness to everyone. May you have a smooth sail in your batch 2 journey.

Thank you, Madeleine Nathania — The most supportive member. Smartest. Mature. The smartest girl I’ve seen for a long time. Thank you, your always supportive attitude has helped me a lot of times. May your mini-thesis and career continue to succeed.

Thank you, Erwan Cerentio — The most innovative, active member. Most of the strategic projects started because this guy want to keep working. hate him for that. I’m tired T,T. But I’m glad we create all of that so thank you. I believe you will. But I’ll say it anyway. May your batch 2 journey and your pursuit of your goal will succeed. May you find what you want to find.

Thank you, Theo Gerald Parluhutan Napitupulu — The youngest, The achiever, The most dual meeting. May your journey goes smoothly. Anything you want to achieve. Competition, intern, blablabla. May the dream we discuss in the training will someday be achieved!

Thank you, Dewi Fortuna (Chyntia) — The most understanding, The hustler(?). Love your name. Our team might have been blessed because of your name haha. Thank you for all the hard work. Looking at how much you work in batch 2 I realize how hard you work in the back. May your batch 2 journey and career success.

Thank you, Valentinus Dave Sugiharto — The latest member (literally), The coolest public speaker. Thank you for all your health advice doc haha. Thank you for your public speaking lesson I do learn a lot from you. If anyone realize I’m smiling all the time during the “ Pisah Sambut MSIB Angkatan 1 dan 2”. It’s something I learn from him. Turn out just to keep smiling during an event is not easy for a newbie like me.

Thank you Irfan Maulana Nasution — The me :D. Thank you for joining this and not rejecting the opportunity that time.

--

--

Irfan Maulana Nasution

Your everyday software engineer. Ex average student. Always striving to be excelent and what im working on. And this is where I share my thoughts and experience