It all started out when the head of Aviation Engineering department announced that Technische Universität München (TUM) has opened an opportunity to conduct research for thesis for a selected number of students. I was captivated and thought to myself “This is an opportunity of a lifetime”. The head of department explained on how to get accepted and listed the requirements and other qualifications that were in order to acquire the opportunity.
So, there I was, listening to the explanation, carefully. TUM demands the best of the best students and they were in charge of the selection process, so, they requested the students to make a CV, Cover Letter, and most importantly, a Research Proposal. The head of department even gave us a link to the TUM website which consists of different research groups and topic areas. As I looked at the website initially, I felt anxious. All the research areas were very advanced and sophisticated that I felt I could not do it. I did not have the capability, the knowledge or the intelligence to do a research at TUM’s level, so I decided to let the opportunity slip away.
Some weeks later, during the last week of the odd semester, the head of department gathered the students once again, asking who was interested. Since I have decided I would not do it and was afraid of the high expectations, I just remained silent. This time, the head of department gave us a deadline to apply and submit all of the required documents. In the midst of holidays, I took some time to reflect upon myself. I was thinking about my future, what I wanted to do with my life, and I was thinking about possibilities in my 7th semester. After the reflection, I realized that I have to make a plan, and the research opportunity may not cross my path again. So, what I did then was to clear my mind out of fear and anxiety, chose one topic, and creatd a proposal. By this time my mindset was “Apply and forget”, while looking for other alternatives.
I submitted the requested documents to the head of department and waited. Fast forward to the start of the even semester, I got an email from a professor at TUM. He has looked into my proposal and was looking forward to make a Skype call along with the representative of the research group to discuss the matter further. Upon this time, the anxiety kicked in again, but it was in the glimpse of excitement that I really made up my mind into doing the research at TUM. I reviewed my proposal that I have forgotten a few weeks back and read some literature about the similar topics. Furthermore, I discussed the topic with my lecturers in the effort to prepare myself for the Skype Call. It turned out, all my work to prepare for the interview was not in vain. Not only could I answer some basic questions about the topic, but also, I was also able to discuss deeply about what I would do during my research to the prospective thesis advisor. The prospective thesis advisor looked satisfied with my answers and just about three days later I got an invitation letter from TUM.
For the whole period of my 6th semester, I was busy doing extra work to prepare for TUM. Administrative things such as visa and finance, learning toolboxes that will help me solve the research problems, along with projects, quizzes, exams, and OFSE preparation of the semester exhausted me. But I kept my head up and built up lots of motivation to do all that because at the time, I knew clearly what I was doing, for now and for the 7th semester. I prepared myself physically and mentally so that at least TUM will not regret the decision of choosing me. I have chosen this path and I was determined to work hard and to commit to this decision.
After OFSE, I felt fully relieved and by now I am fully prepared for the research. By the time I arrived at TUM, they gladly accepted me as if I am a part of them. My thesis advisor introduced me to a lot of people at the institute and I have no regrets of making that proposal during my holidays. I am aware that I will face difficulties during my time at TUM, I do believe that, however, with determination and hard work, I can get through it all and make this research successful. I am eternally grateful for IULI, the department of Aviation Engineering and TUM for this golden opportunity. Now, I am at TUM, working on Low-Level Flight Trajectory Optimization for Noise Abatement Procedure, with the best advisor and institute I could ever imagine.
(Vincentius Nuring Saptadi Suryo, Aviation Engineering 2016)