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Novel ini berisi tentang kehidupan tokoh utama yang menjalani kehidupannya sebagai seorang mahasiswa aktivis pergerakan.  Tokoh Mayong seringkali menemui permasalahan berupa pertentangan, pertentangan ini tak hanya pertentangan dalam artian berhadapan dengan tokoh lain akan tetapi juga pertentangan dengan realita sosial yang dihadapi oleh tokoh utama selama menempuh pendidikan di perguruan tinggi.  Dalam novel ini, pengarang membagi cerita dalam 10 bagian dimana tiap bagian memiliki cerita yang unik, mulai dari kisah awal kuliah, cinta, kehidupan organisasi, kehidupan pergerakan tokoh sampai dengan kisah persahabatan mayong. Tema-tema pendidikan dan aktivitas pergerakan mahasiswa menjadi topik yang kerap disinggung oleh Danang Pamungkas.

Novel ini diawali dengan menceritakan latar belakang Mayong saat berada ditempat asalnya, diawal novel ini juga diceritakan bagaimana Mayong mulai merasakan pahitnya kenyataan saat mendapatkan biaya kuliah yang dirasakan cukup tinggi untuk keluarga kelas menengah. Sebagai mahasiswa di kota besar mayong banyak menemui berbagai kesulitan dan pertentangan-pertentangan mulai dari, masalah akademik, masalah pergaulan, sampai dengan cinta yang bertepuk sebelah tangan. Mayong adalah seseorang yang memiliki ekspektasi tinggi sebagai mahasiswa—terutama pada pergerakan mahasiswa— akan tetapi ekspektasinya tidak terwujud ketika ia menemui realita sosial didalam kampus, terutama pada acara OSPEK yang dipandang sebagai sarana pencitraan senior. Mayong, diawal cerita digambarkan sebagai seseorang yang pasif di organisasi ia lebih suka bermain musik dengan bandnya, akan tetapi berkat kekagumannya terhadap salah seorang wanita membuat mayong kelak menjadi terseret kedalam arus bernama organisasi.

Kehidupan mayong sebagai mahasiswa terus berlanjut, kini ia merupakan bagian organisasi Himpunan mahasiswa. Sebagai anggota organisasi nampaknya mayong menemui kebosanan karena sering tersingkir dalam organisasi. Walaupun ia bosan dengan kehidupan organisasi, mayong nampaknya menemukan arti kebersamaan dan pertemanan ketika mengikuti organisasi bahkan ia menemukan cinta berkat organisasi yang ia ikuti.

Kehidupan Mayong sebagai mahasiswa tak lengkap jika tak membahas masalah akademik. Mayong dihadapkan dengan realita jebloknya nilai mata kuliah yang ia ikuti, padahal ia terhitung mahasiswa yang aktif dalam aktivitas perkuliahan akan tetapi hasil yang ia peroleh berbanding terbalik dengan usahanya selama ini. Kritikan-kritikan terhadap keadaan sosial kampus, dan juga sistem pendidikan dilontarkan tokoh mayong dengan tegas dalam novel ini. Terasing dalam pergaulan karena pemikirannya yang dipandang berbeda dengan teman-temanya menjadi makanan sehari-hari tokoh mayong.

Entah benar apakah yang dikatakan Paulo Freire, tentang pendidikan modern bagaikan penjara yang menindas siswa. Siswa dipaksa mengikuti segala peraturan yang ternyata malah mematikan kreativitas dan imajinasi mereka. Mungkin yang dikatakan Paulo Freire ada benarnya juga. Karena semenjak aku aktif berorganisasi seringkali para birokrat maupun dosen seringkali mengekang kreatifitas mahasiswa. (hlm 82)

Mayong memang seorang mahasiswa yang cenderung berani mengkritik permasalahan dan kebijakan kampus, ia sering berkumpul dengan mahasiswa pergerakan. Ia pun tak segan mengikuti berbagai aksi selama ia berkuliah. Dalam cerita Mayong kerap menyampaikan kritikannya terhadap aktivitas pergerakan mahasiswa kini.

“Dunia telah berubah dengan cepat, gerakan mahasiswa telah menyusut secara kualitas dan kuantitas. Gerakan mahasiswa menuju degradasi dan dekadensi keterpurukan. Semakin menyusut dan semakin tak mempunyai taring dalam permasalahan dan isu sosial.” ( hlm 100)

Akan tetapi dibalik sifatnya yang berani, ia juga memiliki kelemahan yakni dalam hal cinta. Mayong beberapa kali gagal mempertahankan hubungan asmara, ia adalah orang yang sering tergila-gila dengan wanita akan tetapi saat menjalin hubungan ia kerap mengalami kebosanan dan hubungan asmaranya kandas ditengah jalan.

Pada bagian akhir novel ini kita dapat melihat bagaimana tokoh Mayong menjadi sosok yang lebih dewasa, lebih santai dan tidak menjadi orang yang pemilih dalam bergaul. Hal ini digambarkan dari kegiatanya di akhir masa kuliah, seperti pada aktivitas cangkrukan dan gambusan yang ia lakukan dengan teman-temanya yang berasal dari berbagai latar belakang. Mayong diakhir kisah novel ini digambarkan masih menjadi aktivis kampus yang masih ikut dalam aksi. Satu lagi, ia juga masih mengalami kegagalan cinta untuk kesekian kalinya

Saat membaca novel ini, kita tak hanya disuguhkan dengan cerita tentang kehidupan tokoh utama saja, akan tetapi kita juga disuguhkan pengetahuan-pengetahuan dari tokoh-tokoh kegemaran pengarang. Hal ini dapat membuka pikiran pembaca akan realitas sosial disekitar kita—terutama pada bidang pendidikan— yang selama ini sering kita abaikan. Isu-isu pendidikan yang dimuat dalam novel ini begitu kental, sesuai dengan latar belakang pengarang yang sering menulis artikel tentang kritik pendidikan. Pemikiran berbagai tokoh dapat pengarang sampaikan secara ringkas, sehingga mudah dipahami.


Setiyoko – [Mahasiswa Pendidikan Sosiologi FIS UNY]


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