school

World Hijab Day (2019)

Hi internet explorers!

I hope that wherever you’re reading this from, you are healthy and safe. I am sure most of us are still trying to comprehend the fact that we’re living through one of the most historical moments in our lifetime, or maybe even the century. And all of us, from the richest to the poorest, are affected by the coronavirus, to varying degrees. But during challenging times like these, we have to stay positive!

So for those of us blessed with the ability to stay at home, I want to share my writing. I hope that these words can bring a moment of reflection for both you and me.

Because on Friday Ramadhan will start, I want to share an essay I wrote about World Hijab Day, which is on February 1st every year. 🙂

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Starting with ABC (Academics, Birthday, and CCE 2019)

Hi, beautiful people! 🙂 Honestly, there are times when I feel like I have no right to write, that my words don’t matter to the universe. That these frail sentences won’t matter to anyone but myself, as a way of letting go of the feelings that pent up inside my heart or as a way to express the things I can’t control or put in order. Yet, I promised someone important that I will write more regularly. So, dear reader, despite the doubt, I will do just that. Starting with… a recap of January!

A.

School has been pulling me in like the tides of the sea that draw in sand–eroding the land ever so slightly until one day there’s no land left. But don’t worry, I won’t drown! Once I told you about the subjects I’m taking, right? Well, I forgot to mention how I changed a lot of things. The subjects I’ll permanently take over these two years are Biology HL, Economics HL, English A Literature HL, ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies), Math SL, and Chinese ab initio. HL  means higher level, meaning there are more class hours dedicated for it, hence it’s more rigorous. IB is… demanding. It feels like a never-ending stack of homework or that pile of laundry that you keep putting off. It’s manageable though, don’t worry. And as much as people talk about how little they sleep or how stressed they are, I believe that if you can discipline yourself you’ll do fine…kinda. Hehe.

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Brave New Year

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

-Abraham Lincoln

2018 ended with the sky bursting asunder in tears. Fireworks scantly glittered the black curtain of sky last midnight–before the rain hushed them to sleep. I lay under my covers, next to my cousin and little sister, just as last year. Except this time, no message from a special someone would greet me in the morning, wishing a splendid new year. So instead, dear reader, I’ll wish you one! 🙂

For me, 2018 was full of contradictions. There were countless beautiful new memories and experiences where I felt that God was giving me the best present in the world–yet perhaps just as many days where grayness filled my heart. 2018 was a year of growth.

To be sure, going to UWC was one of the most life-changing events that have ever happened. For that reason (and a few others), perhaps 2018 has been my best year so far. This year I learned about what it means to love someone–family, friends (old and new, far and close, young and not-so-young), special someones, and random strangers. It means trusting that they will be there for you, and carving out a space in your heart for them–despite doubt, lack of proximity, or even distance. I created bonds with people who I will appreciate endlessly for their kindness and patience in dealing with an annoying dork like me. 😛 I hiked for the first time in my life. I slept in a grassy field next to an Irish and an Australian in the Wu Gong Shan Mountains, where for the first time in my life I saw an unfiltered sky winking its twinkling stars upon us. I met people from all walks of life, and became their friends so that now the problems which seemed so far away from me previously now feel much more personal. I’d have to say, that is one of the best things about UWC–the things you learn from simply living and growing together with people, and of course, tolerating and accepting all their differences.

Thus, I want to encourage you to go beyond your boundaries. Step out of your comfort zone. To put it in terms of a hiking trip: you might be the last one in the team, you might be gasping for breath, sweaty, and scared beyond your mind, or you might feel dizzy as you look at how far the ground is as each step leads you to yet more thrilling heights–yet the view and the swell in your heart at what you’ve accomplished is so worth it. Besides, there will always be people willing to look out for you, and make sure you don’t fall. Trust me.

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Orientation

On Monday (tomorrow), school will finally begin. Right now, rain is drizzling down as the sky rumbles. It’s beautiful to watch, especially from the window view of my room–like a watercolor painting of subtle grays and urgent flashes.

Frankly, I’m pretty excited to start because I haven’t gone to school for about… um… three months, I think? Yeah. My brain will probably have to load for long periods during Math and Chemistry class, but who cares? I can’t wait to experience the IB curriculum, have discussions and debates with my classmates from all around the world, and learn subjects that I actually love. By the way, the subjects I’m taking are: Geography HL, Chemistry  HL, Economics HL (I’m still considering Philosophy HL instead of this), Math SL, English A Literature SL, and Chinese ab initio SL.

The first time my heart raced here was not when the plane landed in Shanghai. Neither was it when Dinda, Jill, and I joined the group that would ride the same bus as us to the school. It was not the hello’s, what’s-your-name’s and where-are-you-from’s. It was the way I spent half a day with my mom and yakked at her in the way I yak at people I’m very close with. It was the way we hugged tightly before the Taxi drove off from the school, and the thoughts that raced along with my heart. Darkness enveloped me for a half second. I thought of the oceans that would soon separate us. Then, I noticed once again the moon’s resplendence between clouds and the blare of building lights. Breathing in the night, I walked back to my dorm.

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UWC Changshu China (A New Beginning)

This is a post that I’ve postponed for a long time now.

Originally I’d planned to write about UWC starting from the selection process but a part of my heart whispered,

“You shouldn’t write about it unless you actually got in. What if it turns out like AFS?” So I never wrote, except to parchments of paper.

For those of you who don’t know, UWC stands for United World College. In short, it is an international two-year school using the IB curriculum. There are 17 schools across the world. Each country undergoes a unique selection process. Each selected student would then be sent to his or her nominated UWC school. Besides through the national selection, you could also directly apply to the school, however, that method wouldn’t grant you any scholarships. In my case, with all thanks to God, I got accepted to UWC Changshu China with a partial scholarship. Besides me, there are eight other Indonesians sent to the UWC schools. Two of them, Jillian and Adinda, are going to UWCCSC with me. 🙂

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An Experience of Trial and Error (a.k.a. Science Olympiad)

Hi internet people! It’s been a while since I last posted, but I’m excited to be writing again. A lot of things have happened recently, one of the two biggest ones being my experiment in joining TOSKA (Tim Olimpiade Sains Kharisma Bangsa). In this post I’ll share with you my experience studying geography for the science olympiad, in the point of view of a science-major Indonesian student, and what it all amounted to. 🙂

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Living in a Boarding School

Hi guys!

Maybe I’ve mentioned it before, or maybe I haven’t. But something really different is happening in my life right now.

I’m in a boarding school. 🙂 The name of the school is Kharisma Bangsa. And so far, it’s brought me so many new experiences.

The first thing that I noticed when I came to this school was… well, how smart everyone was. To be honest, I regret my middle school days a little bit, because I did nothing special during those three years. Yet here at Kharisma Bangsa, everyone around me is smart and talented. In fact, in my block there are two people who won the science olympiad. One of them, Fadhila Mahardika, even went to international! Isn’t that so cool? My other friend who won the science olympiad is Eva Maisaramita Gayoris.

I’m so astounded by their achievements. And I feel so small next to them. What have I done in my life that I can be proud of? Why didn’t I do something extraordinary in middle school? How come I wasted it doing stupid, silly things?

However, it wouldn’t do to just sit and complain, would it?

I’ve made a resolution to myself that during high school I want to try to be the best person I can be. And I want to try everything. Like in that Shakira song. I want to participate in as as many competitions as I can, be really active in class, and still have time for having fun(hopefully). 

I think that confidence is the key to success. You should have confidence not only in others, but also yourself. You must believe in your heart that you can be whatever it is you want to be. At the same time, you have to make sure that your reason is right. It mustn’t be for pleasing others or so you can get good grades. It should be because you want to be an inspiration, you want to help or motivate other people, and it should be for God.

I still hope that I can make a difference. In my heart I believe that I can. And I will always dream, and I will never stop dreaming.

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doodling in words

And yet, in the end, the kids of 7B would still erupt into a frantic craze of yelling and play. I wonder if we would ever learn to be quiet and disciplined and motivated. The way the teachers want it. Sometimes when it rains, the classroom would turn dark. Combined with the sound of the powerful torrents outside and the howling wind rattling at the windows, the room became something like a clown’s version of a haunted house. The chatter was like that of monkeys rampaging through forest canopies. A parade of shouting and chaos. It was a jungle. Meanwhile, the teacher sat at the front of the class, waiting patiently for the class to quiet down, fanning herself to keep cool in this wretchedly hot room.