“Aftermath: Population Zero” Film Analysis

The documentary “Aftermath: Population Zero” ponders what the earth would be like if humans suddenly disappeared. It promotes the theme of the interconnectedness of human life and nature. Multiple times, the documentary emphasizes the fact that humans are so dependent on nature. To the point where we control the force of nature to serve our needs until it reaches the issue of global warming. But unlike humans, nature is not dependent on human life as it can sustain itself and go through positive changes without us. Thus, the purpose of this film is to remind us how disruptive our lifestyle could be toward other beings such as plants and animals.

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It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

A feature article (Year 10 English Acquisition assignment) for Sekolah Cikal Surabaya Student Council‘s Bilik Ekspresi Program.

It was 11 pm when Sarah, who was already half-asleep, nearly jolted awake due to what she guessed were the 10th intrusive thoughts she had that night. From school-related anxiety to an existential crisis. The number of things her mind can worry about is endless. Yet she doesn’t know how to stop it either. Hence, sleep deprivation has somehow become a habit for her lately.

While others might not experience it as worse, Sarah’s story represents the lives of millions of teenagers during the pandemic. Even though they long to wander and explore the world, for over a year now, they are confined in their own house with a puzzle that seems unsolvable; their negative thoughts and emotions.

Before the pandemic, most teenagers are used to distracting themselves from facing these thoughts. So when the pandemic hits, they are forced to face all their negative emotions without any preparation beforehand. As a result, the pandemic worsens their conditions further. Lack of peer support, miscommunication in an online school, and other stressful situations have all contributed to the deterioration of teenagers’ mental health.

According to UNICEF, teenagers in half of all households in Indonesia showed signs of difficulty concentrating and sleeping. Behavioral and emotional problems have also gotten more severe as a necessary psychological intervention has not been done.

While recovering from these negative conditions might feel impossible, turns out it is still feasible to do. “Although I’m an extrovert, I have learned that some alone time gives me so much more time to do self-reflection, figure out what is the cause of the problems I’m facing, and then improve my well-being from there,” said Dea, Sarah’s friend, when they discussed mental health.

Teenagers’ coping mechanisms may vary, but the key to all of them is the ability to accept and reflect on each of their conditions. Some might apply it through writing their thoughts, some others through painting or art-related mediums. Whatever it is, validating their thoughts and emotions should be the first step for teenagers to cope and heal through this hard time.


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.