Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 15:07 WIB

Her concern about COVID-19 handling brings her to Harvard


Jakarta, IO – A graduate of the Faculty of Medicine at Airlangga University, Dr. Maria Cellina Wijaya, who is currently pursuing her studies at Harvard University, has shared an interesting story about the world of medical students. 

“Students of the Medicine Faculty are often stereotyped as studious, which is true. Because if we don’t study, we can’t survive. Not only me but also my friends experienced the same phenomenon. That’s why we have a strong bond,” said Dr. Cellina, as quoted on the Airlangga University website. 

Dr. Cellina deemed herself lucky for having succeeded in enrolling in in the Faculty of Medicine without passing any tests; she got in based on her school report cards alone. Therefore, she was determined not to waste the opportunity to study at Airlangga University. After leaving Jember Regency, Dr. Cellina was quite shocked by the competitive campus environment, especially in Medicine. However, although medical students are identical in being studious, she decided to be different. Her focus did not only revolve around studying. 

Maria Celina Wijaya had pursued her bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Medicine at Airlangga University, Surabaya, from 2013 to 2017. She completed her degree at the age of 19. 

“At the elementary and middle school schools, I got into acceleration twice. So, it only took me four years. I was only five when I enrolled in elementary school. So, I entered college at the age of 15,” said Cellina. 

CIMSA (Center for Indonesian Medical Student Activities) gave her the opportunity to visit various countries to attend workshops, one of which was Taiwan. “Actually, I really enjoy sports. I once created a running community called FKRUNNER,” she added. 

One of the most memorable moments for her was the public health course, where medical students were deployed to the regions to apply the knowledge they learned on campus. 

Cellina never imagined that she would study in the United States. The poor handling of COVID-19 made her aware and motivated to study public health. When she browsed the internet looking for universities that provided this study program, Harvard popped up first on the recommendation search result. She immediately registered, and now, she has become a second-year Master’s degree student at Harvard University. 

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“When I did my medical practice at a public health center in Mojokerto, and as we know, at the beginning of COVID-19, the handling was unbelievably poor. It motivated me to delve deeper into public health. Perhaps that is what Indonesia needs now,” Dr. Cellina explained. 

Dr. Cellina also applied for a scholarship from the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) after being accepted by Harvard. She shared that the most important aspect of receiving the scholarship is through the written essay that includes the goal, the benefit for Indonesia and a personal statement convincing that the candidate deserves the scholarship. She also gave a tip for the interview session, “We must thoroughly find out what the university is looking for, what they want and what kind of candidate they expect,” said Cellina (*/rp)


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