To Grow Up is To Embrace Uncertainties

As I got older, birthdays that were once full of hope and dreams turned into a day full of anxieties that only reminded me more and more of the uncertainties of life. The hope and dreams were still there. But there were also lingering feelings of disappointment whenever I realized that my childhood birthday dreams would continue to be just that. A dream. A past expectation stuck in my memory. A reminder of how I wish everything could have been.

So for the past week, I have been asking myself. Am I going to let this disappointment wash over me on every future birthday I’m going to have? Am I going to let my future birthdays be ruined because of the anxieties I have about my uncertain future?

Most of my life has always been me attempting to fulfill all the impossible expectations I had for myself. Expectations of getting straight A’s at school, winning every competition I have ever joined, or volunteering in an organization. A mix of luck, hard work, and privilege have allowed me to do all that. 

But a series of unfortunate events that happened these past years taught me that I’m not always in control of my life. Somehow, I need to learn how to conquer my fear of the unknown. I need to shift my perspective and understand that my life is intertwined with the lives of my family, my friends, or even strangers I haven’t met yet. I need to accept that sometimes, my life is in the hand of fate and sheer luck alone.

The whole process of understanding and accepting would continue even 10 to 20 years from now. Because I’m guessing that adult life is even more unpredictable compared to the one I’m living right now. So perhaps, 20 or 30 year-old me is just as confused as I am now on what life is about to throw my way.

And that is okay.

After all, what is growing up if it isn’t about understanding that our lives are finite and we only have a short amount of time to enjoy it. What is growing up if it isn’t about making the best out of our limited time and opportunity. What is living if it isn’t about embracing and welcoming uncertainties, as there won’t be rainbows without rains.

A Letter on Middle School Reminisce

Coming from an academic background that values grades and achievements more than anything, those were what I strived to accomplish when I was a new student in Cikal. Never have I thought that what I gain from being here has so much more value than just being a booksmart student.

When I first came to Cikal, like many of you, I was not used to being trusted in leading my own learning journey. And I think that is what makes Cikal so special. We have met teachers who would willingly ask us about our needs. Which brings us a sense of liberation, as we are able to explore our personal interests inside and outside of the classroom. 

With events like Playground, MYP Exhibition, and Community Project, I understand that my learning process in the last 3 years is not only for the grades. But also for finding my sense of purpose and independence. I want to thank all of the teachers for that. Because you have believed in us, even before we believe in ourselves. 

And even if there are any of us who made mistakes in our assignments or projects, rather than punishing us for it, teachers always ask us to look back at it again and reflect on how it could be better next time. That, I think, serves as a good reminder that there is always an opportunity for us to grow, despite whichever choices we make in our journey.

Other than the teachers, something that makes the community in Cikal extremely supportive is you and all the support we gave to one another throughout the years. I can’t describe how grateful I am to be able to meet such amazing friends like all of you here. Despite a lot of our differences, in terms of hobbies, dreams, and personalities, we always found a way to understand each other. I’m guessing it is because we want to be accepted for who we are, and thus we accept each other as well for who they are.

I would be lying if I say that I don’t miss our daily interactions in the classroom. I especially miss the little moments that shaped our friendship dynamic into how it is today. From the silly banter and arguments, to the comforting discussions when we were all stressed about school assignments. 

Because of all of that, we went from being a group of children who are oftentimes worried to take the burden of the responsibility of our own choices, to being a group of teenagers who can finally believe in ourselves enough to lead our own learning journey.

After this, many of us will go our separate ways. And I know that the goodbyes will leave a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, our friendship will not be the same again as some of you move to different schools and maybe meet new friends. On the other hand, whether you will stay here or move somewhere else, that choice is yours to own.

There is no guarantee that the path we choose will be the best one. But if there is anything that Cikal has taught us, it is that in our learning journey there is rarely a good or bad path. As long as we are able to reflect and learn from the path we took. So even if there are any obstacles, mistakes, or challenges that the future might have for us, we should know that we are capable enough to make any negative experiences into opportunities for us to grow into a better person and a better learner.


Damai ❤

“Malu Bertanya Sesat di Jalan”, Cukupkah Pepatah Ini?

Sejak kecil, satu kalimat yang selalu muncul dalam kertas ujian, dalam buku pelajaran bahasa, dan terus digaungkan oleh guru di masa TK dan SD adalah:

“Malu bertanya, sesat di jalan.”

Pepatah ini tentu baik artinya. Mengajarkan kita untuk tidak segan bertanya atau mencari bantuan orang lain ketika sedang menghadapi persoalan.

Tapi pepatah ini seharusnya tidak menyebabkan misinterpretasi yang akan berdampak tidak diinginkan pada murid, atau siapapun yang menggunakannya. Sebagai contoh, apakah melontarkan pertanyaan itu harus selalu didahulukan? Ataukah ada hal lain yang seharusnya bisa lebih dulu diupayakan untuk mendapat informasi?

Continue reading ““Malu Bertanya Sesat di Jalan”, Cukupkah Pepatah Ini?”

2020 Reading List

Throughout 2020, I have discovered a lot of books that I enjoyed reading and became my personal favorite. So, since the year is coming to an end, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share a list of all the books I have read as well as some of my thoughts about it, in case any of you need inspirations for your TBR list next year!

  1. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
    Honestly, it’s one of the best books I found in 2020. All the characterization and overlapping plots makes the story intriguing from page 1. Therefore, despite the fact that  I enjoyed Celeste Ng’s first book more (Everything I Never Told You), this is still something I would recommend to everyone.
  2. Make Learning Personal – Barbara Bray
    I remember reading this for a competition in early 2020. The book itself explains everything about personalized learning. From its meaning, purpose, and implementation. As a student myself, this gave me a clearer understanding of how I can be more independent of my learning process, and gave me ideas of how I can incorporate my interests and likings into the topics I’m studying. That said, the book could also be helpful for teachers who want to improve their teaching methods so that it can be suitable to each of their students.
  3. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    This one is definitely one of the harder reads, considering that the language used is old English from around the 19th century. But the conflicts and plot line kept me going until the end. The story is set in London and Paris (1775-92), before and during the French Revolution. It follows the story of Lucie and Alexandre Manette, and its supporting characters, Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay during the event. I especially love how the book interweaves personal grudges of each character, until one way or another, it affects the French Revolution itself.
  4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
    With no doubt, this book is one of my personal favorites. I read the first volume of the book many years ago, and decided to read both volumes in February before I watched the movie adaptation. It is about 4 sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, and their stories from childhood to becoming adults. To some, the book can feel quite lengthy and boring since it doesn’t exactly establish a main conflict. Though personally, it’s heartwarming and packed with important life lessons, as well as certain feminist values (Jo March is my feminist icon, obviously).
  5. The Traveling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
    Discovered this book from my school library. It tells the story of a man and his cat, travelling through Japan in order to visit his old friends and relatives. The catch, it is written from the cat’s perspective. I had some laughs (and tears) while reading the book, though it’s not exactly my favorite.
  6. Bumi Manusia and Anak Semua Bangsa – Pramoedya Ananta Toer (re-read)
    I’m pretty sure I have read these two books a couple of times before, and I decided to read it again for a school assignment. The two are about Minke, a native Javanese boy who is discovering the world around him in the middle of the Dutch colonization in Indonesia. And these two are my personal favorites, by far. It manages to explain the importance of the characters’ social-economic status during the colonization era, and it also highlights the role of mass media in starting a change in the society.
  7. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
    Another great find in the middle of the pandemic. This book was quite unexpected and extremely different from any other books I have read. It is about Kafka, a 15 years old boy who is trying to run away from his fate. But the adventure he went through has so much more meaning. Definitely became one of my favorites.
  8. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    When buying this book, I never thought I would love it so much, as the main genre is romance. After I read it, I realized that it’s way more than that. Elizabeth Bennet, the main character here, blatantly refuses her family needs for her to marry quickly. Rather, she focuses on her individual needs of self growth and marrying a man of her choice, not her family’s. Which is something radical, especially when the book was published in 1813. So that’s why I might do a proper review on it later!
  9. The Story Factor – Annette Simmons
    This book illustrates the power of storytelling as a method of communication that can be useful in influencing or persuading others. Despite it not being something I would read over and over again, I learned a lot about how to improve my communication skills and implement it properly on a daily basis.
  10. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
    This one is also from my school library. The story focuses on Eddie, the main character, in his afterlife. The language style is light and easy to read, while also maintaining the philosophical message in the story.
  11. Inilah Esai – Muhidin M. Dahlan
    As the title suggests, this book gives an explanation about the meaning and purpose of the essay. As well as examples of revolutionary essays in Indonesian history.
  12. Inilah Resensi – Muhidin M. Dahlan
    Similar as the previous book, this one explains about the meaning and purpose of book reviews. The book also mentions the characteristics of the book review created by several notable figures in Indonesia.

Besides those books, there are some other I have started reading but haven’t finished yet (not a good habit, I know), and it’s worth mentioning:

  • Max Havelaar – Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker)
    I found this on my parents’ bookshelves, read 2 chapters from the book, but haven’t managed to continue again. There is nothing wrong with the story, but reading this book feels like reading a historical manuscript. So it might take a lot of commitment to finish it.
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
    I have actually read the short version of the book a year ago, and it influenced me to buy the full book. But after reading a few chapters, I find the language style to be very depressing and sad. Which is a good thing for the author, but as a reader it’s kind of emotionally draining. I will, however, try to continue reading it next year.
  • A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
    I was very excited buying this book as it has been in my wish list for so long. Yet I haven’t continued reading since I started during finals week at school, and there was little to no time for me to read it. But of course, I’m continuing it right now :D.
  • Shadow and Bones – Leigh Bardugo
    I rarely read YA contemporary books, but the good reviews I read about Shadow and Bones made me buy it several months ago. Some of the romance in the story made me stop reading (I’m not a big fan of it), but I’m committing to at least read this and the second book before the Netflix adaptation gets released next year.
  • Quiet – Susan Cain
    I initially bought this because I heard it talks about introverts and how society undervalues them. So as an introvert myself, I was interested to read it. But again, I haven’t had the chance to continue reading it yet.

Video Kelas Kemerdekaan Temu Pendidik Nusantara 2020

Hari Pertama – Proses Refleksi Berkelanjutan untuk Peningkatan Kualitas Belajar

Bila video tidak bisa muncul, silahkan klik link berikut: atau search AKEM1023.

Hari Kedua – Dokumenter Pendek: Covid-19 and Its Impact on Teenagers’ Mental Health

Bila video tidak bisa muncul, silahkan klik link berikut: atau search BKEM2068.

StudyTube Culture: Discouraging or Motivating?

study hour 1 | Free stock photos - Rgbstock - Free stock images | lusi |  January - 29 - 2010 (273)

As much as YouTube is usually used for entertainment purposes, there has been a new subgenre in the YouTube community that defies from that stereotype, called StudyTube. Just like the name suggested, these StudyTubers exclusively make content related to studying and education.

Within this genre, you may expect an abundance of study tips and methods videos, alongside ‘study with me’ videos, which is a long video (some reach 4 / 5 hours or more) of people studying, and stationary hauls, ‘journal with me’ videos, and many more. These are basically the types of video StudyTubers makes over and over again, or perhaps with some variation of vlogs and routines videos. Whatever it is, videos they make not only attempt to encourage productivity, they also romanticize and make studying as a part of their identity.

Continue reading “StudyTube Culture: Discouraging or Motivating?”

Passion vs. Expectation | Dead Poets Society (1989)

The movie; “Dead Poets Society”, is a must watch classic. The story is about Mr. Keating, a literature teacher, who taught his students about how important it is to ‘seize the day’ and think for themselves. Although they’re in a conservative highschool that defy those kinds of mindset.

Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.50.36 PM

Personally I discovered this movie several months ago. And I was immediately attracted to the fact that the story feels very relatable and honest in portraying the truth behind our education system. Even when I’m watching this years after its release.

Before I continue, I will warn you that there will be major spoilers of the movie. So unless you’re fine with it, I think it is better for you to watch it first.

Continue reading “Passion vs. Expectation | Dead Poets Society (1989)”

Book Review: Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami


“It’s all a question of imagination. Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine. It’s just like Yeats said: In dreams begin responsibilities.”

Through this book, Haruki Murakami explores the theme of consciousness and unconsciousness. It’s very interesting, since the book follows 2 storylines simultaneously.  For every odd numbered chapter, it is about a boy named Kafka Tamura, who lives with his dad; a famous sculptor, in Tokyo. On his 15th birthday, he makes up his mind to run away from home with hope to break the Oedipus curse that his father made about him. Meaning that based on the curse, Kafka will kill his own father and sleep with his mother and sister.

Continue reading “Book Review: Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami”

Coronavirus and Our Mindfulness Towards Others

Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
Director-General of the World Health Organization

During these uncertain times, it’s not a rare sight for us to see tons of news about the Coronavirus pandemic regularly. We see hundreds of people getting infected. We see countries that are forced to do a lockdown. Added with the large amount of schools, offices, and other public spaces that are continuously shutting down.

These significant changes everyone is facing can feel somewhat surreal. In result, almost everyone began to panic over the pandemic. Which I don’t necessarily blame by itself. But sometimes, these uncontrolled panic may cause a whole new set of problems.

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Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

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“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”

– page 324

Celeste Ng’s book has once again amazed me by the way she portrays her characters and the unpredictable plot in the story. This time, it was ‘Little Fires Everywhere’. A bestselling book published in 2017 that receives a high rating on online bookstores and other social media platforms.

Continue reading “Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng”