On my previous story, “Lesson Learned #1: Appointment”, I have told you that I have to meet my primary supervisor on Monday. After I sent him an email to inquire about the possibility for me to meet him on that day, I was waiting for about an hour, but I have not received any reply yet. My flatmate from Indonesia (Hadi) invite me to went Campus together—mainly because I did not know yet the way from our flat to VUW. After leaving our flat, practically I did not have any internet access, so I was not able to check my email.
Hadi escorted me to my primary supervisor office in Waiteata Road, and then he left me alone. When I entered the office to meet my supervisor, the front office staff asked me whether I have an appointment or not. I said that I just arrived in Wellington and my supervisor told me that he will be on campus on Monday and be looking forward to meeting me. So the staff make a telephone call to my supervisor and he will pick me up at his office.
After a few minutes, my primary supervisor, Mark Sheehan PhD, MA, BA, Dip.Tchg. took me to his office and I got a very warm and friendly welcome. The interesting part is, it turns out in Monday afternoon when I have already back to my flat and get an internet access, actually he has already replied to my email and asked me to come to his office at 2.15 pm to meet him and as well as to meet my secondary supervisor, Sydney J. Shep, PhD, PGCertHELT, MA, BA. So actually I came without an appointment on that morning—because I did not have internet access on my phone.
Although without an appointment, Dr Mark Sheehan still accepts me in his office very kindly. After having an informal chat to get to know each other, he invited me to have a “campus tour”. He showed me some places in VUW and introduce me to some VUW staffs related to my enrollment process. He took me to School of Education office in Waiteata Road and then we went to Faculty of Education office at Murphy Building level 8. On the way to Murphy Building, Dr Mark Sheehan showed me some interesting places. The Hub, sort of informal learning spaces close together with Library, cafes, food outlets, and pharmacy. On the Murphy Building level 3, he showed me about “Tuatara” kind of ancient reptiles from New Zealand, it is “neither lizard nor dinosaur—just an ancient New Zealander.”
After took me to Faculty of Education office on Murphy Building level 8 and introduce me to Valerie Dowd, he took me to Faculty of Graduate Research office at 10 Kelburn Parade. Finally, we have to split up in The Hub after showed me the bookstore nearby.
At 2.15 pm, I have met him again and my secondary supervisor, Dr.Sydney J. Shep. We have an informal introduction and a warm conversation. Dr Mark Sheehan offered me to have something to drink, and I got a cup of tea that he made for me. Finally, our first meeting end at 15.30 pm.
I got so many valuable lessons learned from that meeting, especially in terms of student-supervisors relation. What I experienced in VUW is something impossible to get at any university in Indonesia. I feel that I am being treated equally. This is obviously different “culture” in Indonesia, which is believed that the supervisor is more superior to the student. In Indonesia, it is impossible for the supervisor to take the student to have campus tour together. It is also very impossible in Indonesia, the supervisor makes a cup of tea or coffee for the student. Which often happens is the opposite.
From this experience, someday, when I have returned to Indonesia, I will treat my student equally in Indonesia!