The Beginning

Written by Marhamah Ika Putri
Edited by Salma Maulani


Since early dawn, Renata has been busy checking all of the requirements for the orientation activities held by her campus. Today was the day she started her first year as a freshman in one of the colleges located in Yogyakarta. The campus orientation and campus introduction will last for three days straight.

If Renata could be honest with herself, she was not that eager to follow the orientation. She had already imagined in her mind since the night before everything she has gone through for the next three days—including this day. It gets worse because the first day of the orientation scheduled before the sun came up until the sun set in the late afternoon. Without realizing it, she let out a long sigh. 

Renata made up her bed lazily before she went to campus by walking—it only took five minutes to walk from the boarding house to the campus. “Bude are going to tidy it up again later, anyways,” she mumbled as she locked the door. Renata was looking at the sky, the sun had not even set yet, she went down the stairs and opened the gate slowly. 

As Renata walked towards the campus, she saw so many people around her age wearing black skirts/trousers and white shirts just like she wore. Some of them walked along with their friends—some of them were walking alone like she did. Deep down inside, Renata actually felt a little bit worried how to make new friends because of her personality. She often felt shy at first impressions, talked less, and most importantly, she always felt afraid that they would think she was a weirdo.

However in fact, whether she would make new friends or not did not really matter to her. He used to be alone, and it always will be. Since high school, she has often heard—too many times until she forgot—people did not want to talk to him because they thought she always looked fierce and arrogant.

Though, she was never angry about it. Why would she be? She cannot change her face. She even laughed whenever someone was honest about it to her. For now, Renata is more worried about how she is supposed to endure the day with packed activities, which she thought was unattractive and filled with loud voices from the crowded stranger. She hated it.

The campus gate was getting closer. from a distance, she could see rows of people lining up to enter the campus area. There were many seniors there. Each of the seniors was wearing a blue jacket, and there were names tag filled with their name and their job desk. At first, Renata walked normally, then she ran hurriedly when a senior suddenly stared at her. Renata joined in the new line.

Finally, it is her row’s turn to enter the campus area. She was looking around the campus and she wondered why there were not many people. Then she realized it was 06.00 in the morning, there was only an elderly walking on the other side. While she was observing the campus, the seniors suddenly stopped her line. It must be the post where the seniors will check our belongings, Renata guessed. Exactly! all of the seniors started to check the freshmen belongings. 

Renata saw several girls get caught carrying make-up and it was being confiscated by the seniors. Why on earth are they still bringing it? Hopefully it will be returned to them at the end of the day, as she spoke indistinctly. Not long after that, a senior approached her and checked her belongings.

“Okay, this one is clear, next one!” said the senior. It took about 15 minutes to complete the entire screening process of the freshmen belonging to Renata’s line. The line continued to walk and entered a large field. There were many groups of rows on that field which have their own characteristics and Indonesian hero board sign as the code for each group.

Renata checked the distribution of the orientation groups as she walked into the field. She was in the ‘Jenderal Soedirman’ group, She began to look for her group. There it is, she whispered to herself while she walked to her row. Her group row still looked quite empty. There were only two other guide seniors—which surely Renata did not know who they were. 

Kak—a common and polite way to call a senior—, I’m Renata from English Literature major, I am a member of this group”, she said to the senior. Renata was allowed to sit and wait for other members. 

Renata looked around, there were several guys she thought were from her group were already getting along with each other, they even laughed together. Then Renata saw the girls from her group, each of them seemed busy with themselves, without bothering to mingle with others. “Today is going to be a very, very, very long day”, as she was breathing heavily.

“Hello Kak, I’m Kirana. My name is written in the Jenderal Soedirman group”. Renata was looking at the girl that just arrived, with a happy voice talking with the seniors. Renata analyzed that girl from head to toe and their eyes met. Kirana smiled at her and Renata cleared her throat to ease the awkwardness.

Unexpectedly, that new girl walked toward Renata after she finished talking with the senior. Renata immediately fixed her sitting position and acted like she did not see her. “Hi, my name is Kirana, I saw you while I was talking to the senior” she greets Renata. Renata freezed for a moment and she realized that she needed to greet her back. “Hello, I’m Renata”, she gave a brief answer. Without Renata’s permission, Kirana suddenly sat beside her. Renata unconsciously put some distance between Kirana and tried to avoid making eye contact with her. 

“I saw you sitting alone here, that’s why I sit next to you, it is okay right?” asked Kirana. Actually Renata felt very awkward. Renata was unable to think clearly and on how to react towards Kirana, “Yeah, that’s fine,  it’s empty anyway” she answers briefly. Actually she had no idea how to act normally.

“I’m from English Literature major, how about you?” Said Kirana to break the silence, Renata nodded as she answered Kirana’s answer, “we are in the same major”. Suddenly Kirana holds her hand with a happy expression. 

“Yay! We are the same! Finally I found someone from the same major as me!”, Renata laughed awkwardly as she saw the excitement on Kirana’s face. Kirana was typically a girl who is energetic and has a cheerful personality, the opposite of Renata. Long story short, she listened to everything that Kirana said including her perspective about the campus and how she arrived late today because of her boyfriend.

“Renata, I hope we can have a good friendship!” said Kirana. Renata’s heart felt warm. He smiled slightly and nodded at her face. What Kirana said sounds very sincere and maybe this is a sign that today is the day they begin their friendship. While they are still having a fun conversation—or to be exact only Kirana who lead the conversation, suddenly a loud sound from the middle of the field tells them to gather closer.

“They asked us to go there, Let’s go!” Said Kirana. They immediately stood up and picked up their bag. Kirana casually grabs her hand to walk together which Renata never expected. She never thought that she would experience this on her first day as a college student. This is not as bad as I thought it would be, thought Renata. In fact, she gets a new friend and she hopes that this girl will be her best friend in college. She smiled widely as she tried to maintain her footsteps with Kirana.

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