This year, there were many activities that I dedicated to myself to in terms of CAS, and I learned so much from my experiences, regardless of how difficult some of them were. CAS successfully allowed me to consider how to become a balanced student, even pushing me to try new activities that I never thought I would enjoy so thoroughly. Below is my reflection in all areas of CAS with reference to specific Learning Outcomes.
At the beginning of the year, I had the following goals in mind for creativity: I wanted to engage myself in global issues and to improve my public speaking skills via MUN; to improve my graphic design skills and experiment with a new digital art medium & to work in a group and with the school community to make the yearbook.
With MUN, although I am still not as confident as I would like to be in public speaking, I hope to continue to become committed to addressing this weakness of mine (LO1). I did, however, learn a lot through my research and about the many perspectives around the world regarding certain global issues (LO6), and I continue to keep up to date with current affairs and formulate an opinion on them as a result of MUN. I think it was important that even though it was outside of my comfort zone to join MUN, I still learned from my experience and am trying to weigh the benefits over the times I was stressed or felt pressured by it (LO2).
Simultaneously, I found myself experimenting and improving with every spread in Yearbook. We learned a lot from each other just by checking each other’s spreads. I truly believe that yearbook was one of the best ways to combine the importance of collaborative effort and design into one. At times it was apparent that sometimes it was hard to get people to cooperate, like when someone had a different vision for a page, or when people just weren’t meeting deadlines. However, from my experience, discussing page designs, errors and tips and tricks with my seniors, other page editors, and teacher editor Ms. Mora, was nothing but beneficial for my growth as a designer (LO5). In taking on new pages, going to meetings regularly, talking with the other members regularly, I found it interesting that I also showed a lot of dedication to Yearbook despite only being in it for a year, it felt like we were a team that had been together for a long time (LO4). Read my final reflection on Yearbook here. I hope after the release of the 2015-16 Yearbook, people are interested in learning and contributing to it!
it’s all about editing and revising in yearbook design!
For activity, I wanted to commit and learn how to play more competitively and improve my skills in badminton; to take a risk and improve my swimming skills and knowledge of the ocean in scuba diving.
I was able to actively play badminton for the first few weeks it ran for during SAISA season, but it started to coincide with my scuba diving sessions. It made me sad I couldn’t do both, but I had to decide. I know within the first few sessions that I did attend, I still enjoy badminton as a competitive sport. For the future, I think it might be possible to still try and join next year, and maybe externally go and play badminton in my free time during the summer. I know it was what I said last year, but I still hold strongly to my interest in badminton no matter how average I am at it! I want to change that.
Out of all the activities this year, scuba diving was the one that I learned so much about and was one of them that I am most enthusiastic about. With the online learning I got sufficient background knowledge about the ocean and therefore made me aware of issues of global significance such as ocean acidification and coral bleaching (LO6), and then I got into the core of the challenge and skill development in a type of physical activity I was completely unfamiliar with (LO2). I didn’t think I would enjoy it because I had so many fears when I got onto the boat in my first session, but then I realized it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Read my final reflection on scuba diving here. I can’t wait to scuba dive during the summer and hopefully in senior year, it’ll provide me a way to escape the stressful environment of the land and feel the relaxation of the sea.
Something unexpected that I tried in activity was to try something completely new and a different type of physical activity to understand my wellbeing through yoga. Our yoga instructor within this time was helpful in having a balance of many different types of exercises I was unfamiliar with, even incorporating mental and mindfulness exercises into our classes (LO2). I did wish it was a little more challenging and rigorous but it provided a good wind-down to the intensity of the scuba diving from the first semester.
For service (Prison Outreach), I wanted to work with a group of people, cooperate to organize and plan events and visits to the female ward and to understand the struggles that women and children face in prison both locally and globally. Our service group went through many different stages, and really tested our ability to plan and organize as a new service group. Within the first semester, I can confidently say we achieved a lot: with a small Christmas party we held for them and with the waffle bakesale for buying them food and spreading awareness of our service. In the second semester, we went even further to plan a Holi fundraiser and visited them as much as we could, even finding sponsorship and provided them with paint resources to redecorate the daycare area in the prison. However, I didn’t expect to also face some ethical dilemmas when carrying out our service, although I did understand the global significance of engaging with this community (LO6), when we had to reevaluate to what extent we were making a change for the prison and if they really wanted us there.
in conclusion of our service this year to the prison, we brought toy cars and played with the children one last time.
We tried to make a lasting impact to the prison, and we exposed ourselves to a community that was and continues to be stigmatized. In the end, despite our diligent involvement and conscientiousness, the Prison never reached out to us in the same way we wanted to reach out to them, making us reevaluate whether or not the service should be continued (LO7). I will never forget this service experience, especially the first time we went to the prison. It made me more open minded whilst also strengthening my planning and organization skills.