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 ❤

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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US Trip Notes: (2) Art Galleries and Museum

Following the previous notes about the Tournament of Champions, I made this notes which focus about the  art galleries, museums, and other tourist attractions I visited while in the US. Hope you enjoy!

*A Short Visit to Boston*

I had a chance to go to Boston with my friends on the free day during the WSC program. We then decided and went for a stroll around the Harvard campus area, before we were freezing because of the weather and entered Harvard Museum of Natural History.

To sum it up, the museum is full of things like stones, minerals, as well as collections of ancient animal skulls, bugs, and some traditional items from around the world. Although the bug and animal skull collections are not necessarily the things I would enjoy to see, it’s pretty interesting to go around and find out what other kinds of collections they have.

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US Trip Notes: (1) The World Scholars Cup – Tournament of Champions

It was just two months ago, when I found out that my team in the World Scholars Cup was qualified to enter the final of this competition; the Tournament of Champions in Yale University, which also marks the end of this year’s season. So after many consideration, I think it’s best for me to write down my 2 weeks trip in the United States by dividing it into two posts due to the amount of experiences I’ve gained there. And I think it’s best if I start this series of posts with a notes about the Tournament of Champions itself.

Since the end of the Manila Global Round I had in September, my team tried our best to manage our time so that we could fit in a fair amount of practices within 2 months. Because after we committed to join the ToC (Tournament of Champions), we knew that the competition was not something to be taken lightly. It really came with full dedication as well as large enthusiasm to learn and be much better than we were before.

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SMA Selamat Pagi Indonesia | A Journey Beyond the Past

In today’s era, a totally free education is something we rarely see in our surroundings. And our society nowadays still have the mindset that the more expensive a school is, the higher the quality would be. But since today, SMA Selamat Pagi Indonesia has proved me wrong.


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World Scholar’s Cup | Manila Not So Mini Global Round 2019 (2)

We have gone through the days of the World Scholar’s Cup Manila Not So Mini Global Round in my previous post. So the experience would not be complete if I don’t talk about the last day of WSC, when we had the Talent Show and most importantly, the Award Ceremony.

In the Talent Show, I performed a piano cover of BTS’ song which is Mikrokosmos. As you may know, before I went to Manila, I already created this cover and upload it on my youtube channel a while ago. So for preparation, I only practiced it more to lessen the chance of mistake.

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World Scholar’s Cup | Manila Not So Mini Global Round 2019 (1)

After a long wait since the Regional Round of WSC I had in May, I was finally given the opportunity to join one of the Global Round in Manila from 6 – 11 September. Same as the Regional Round before, it feels amazing to be there. To be in the same program with these people from all around the world that have the same enthusiasm in learning and celebrating it. Therefore, I will try as I hard as I could to capture those moments and feelings in this post.

Screenshot 2019-09-23 at 7.17.14 PM
The 2 teams from Sekolah Cikal Surabaya

Just like what I stated, of how this Global Round brought together a bunch of people from around the world, that is exactly what happened during the first day. As a part of the opening, all of the scholars did Scavenger Hunt around the area of the venue which was actually a mall. Around 800 scholars were divided into 40 teams in this activity, making up 18-20 scholars in each team. 

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World Scholar’s Cup | Regional Round 2019

As someone who’s introvert and was rarely doing any public speaking, it is very challenging for me to talk in front of a lot of people, and this also apply with debate. But lately, I really want to prove myself that I can actually do public speaking. So then, when I know that there is this debate competition called ‘World Scholar’s Cup’, I feel like it could help me improve my self-confidence and public speaking skill. And that’s why I joined this competition.

Right now some of you might be thinking, what is World Scholar’s Cup? Well, as I said before, it is a team debate competition with 3 people in each teams. But that’s not the only activities they have in this event. There are also Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Challenge, and Scholar’s Bowl. I will explain these activities throughout the story.

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27.04.19 // Playground of Ujung Pandang: Behind the Scenes and My Experience

Playground of Ujung Pandang has become one of the unforgettable memories in my mind. The event was full of nerve-wrecking experiences, happiness, frustration, and tears. All of Cikal students tried to show the best of themselves. And I believe that everyone succeed to do it. But actually, in my opinion the most important is how we really put our time and heart in the preparation for this event. And also how teachers, students, and every member of the Sekolah Cikal Surabaya create bonds of trust and understanding during the entire preparation months. So I will try to include all of those ethereal feelings in this notes.


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