Bye bye! (CAS Final Reflection)

As the senior year comes to an end, I would like to reflect on the past two years I’ve dedicated to maintaining a balanced lifestyle by taking the IB. During the first year of IB, I experimented by taking two activities for each CAS component and narrowed it down by the end of that year.

Creativity
➢ COMUN      ➢ Yearbook      ➢ SAISA Art
I feel as though I’ve had the strongest engagement with creativity, I would even incorporate it into service – for example, making a big mural and making posters. Although I began my journey by exploring debate and COMUN for creativity, and to take on an unfamiliar experience and allowed me develop research and speaking skills. Furthermore, COMUN allowed me to engage with issues of global significance directly, especially social and humanitarian issues which interested me.

I didn’t continue onto senior year, mostly because I took on a big commitment to Yearbook, which truly encompassed all learning outcomes from collaborating with other page designers and the community; identifying my strengths and weaknesses in graphic design and how to develop them; and, as editor-in-chief, I also played a big role in planning for the overall yearbook team.

On top of that, I also participated in SAISA Art 2016’s new media workshop. As I continued to make digital art in my free time, this was a good way to extend my experience and take on a new challenge with new resources. Overall, creating a unique piece of artwork during those few days demonstrated my perseverance and ability to experiment with art based upon the theme of justice.

Activity
➢ Scuba Diving      ➢ Yoga      ➢ SAISA Badminton       ➢ Body Conditioning
The two main ways in which I maintained my fitness was through scuba diving and badminton. I achieved a lot during this period, from becoming a certified open water diver in DP1 and making it onto the SAISA badminton team in DP2. Scuba Diving was something completely foreign and therefore a big challenge for me, who definitely wouldn’t consider myself a strong swimmer, but it taught me a lot about being patient with my mistakes and the consequences of my actions, as nowadays we must consider how we treat the ocean and marine life.  Badminton was something I was not very strong in from the beginning, but I am most proud of my progression especially when I didn’t expect to make the team at all. I improved my skills so much during the practice periods and during the actual SAISA, and I would definitely consider it the highlight of my activity activities in CAS. I learned how vital teamwork is in mixed doubles and girls doubles, while growing as a badminton player. 

On the side between these big commitments I also did yoga, body conditioning and fun badminton weekly when these two big activities above were not running, and these can be summarized in their respective posts.

Service
➢ Prison Outreach     ➢ Girls for Girls
Service was also a large part of my CAS experience, as both services were new and posed the same challenges. However, in DP2 when I took up the leadership role in Girls for Girls I definitely developed skills from the previous year such as how to conduct fundraisers and how to engage with global issues – for Prison Outreach, the issue of proper conditions for children living with their imprisoned mothers, and in Girls for Girls, the rehabilitation for young women who have survived sexual abuse. As a founder and leader alongside Ariana for Girls for Girls, this showed my ability to plan and initiate many new activities considering the service AND the Emerge transitional center we were working with were new projects. We communicated as a group often and this was a good example of overcoming previous problems with collaboration, especially because the foundation we worked with were so receptive. I’m most proud that we were able to create a strong foundation for Girls for Girls to continue as a service in the following years through working with all the learning outcomes. 

~*~Fun~*~ Badminton

Despite exam season, I wanted to keep up my action for this last half of the semester by playing some relaxed badminton every week on Mondays, especially since I learned to truly love playing badminton (both competitively and casually) after SAISA!

It was hard to get a court and play badminton with the correct rules but it was interesting because somehow we managed to squeeze 3 people on a court and play 3vs3 match with some 7th graders. I mostly tried to move a lot and practice playing in the back of the court. One of my missions that session was to teach Sadira how to serve (to no avail) but, this attempt meant that, alongside working on my own skills, I should try to take on the challenge of getting Sadira from a not-so-good badminton player to a sub-par player. Hopefully teaching the little I know will also help me develop my own technique. Next week we should definitely try to play a game with proper rules. After a few more sessions, we were able to play on courts doubles and singles, this significantly helped me develop skills more. I worked on my control although it was a big change to go from several practices a week to only on Mondays for ‘fun’.

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playing singles with my disciple, Sadira

I think the casual environment is a good way to wind down the senior year but still keep up my fitness. On top of this I have been going for walks over the weekends and so I hope this all will help me continue to be a balanced person later on after the IB.  

Color Holi Run – For Charity!

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Celebrating 5k with the squad!

On the 11th of March 2017, my friends and I participated in a charity run for 5km, beginning at Independence Square, for the Rainforest Trust of Sri Lanka. In order to participate, we each sponsored saplings to be planted in the Uda Kirawa forest corridor. This is globally significant as the NGO is focused on saving and protecting Sri Lanka’s rainforests in a time where these rainforests are barely surviving the negative impacts of deforestation and climate change. The organization is also interested in sustainability which is something that everyone should be concerned with, keeping in mind future generations. 

In terms of ethical issues, not only did we have a great morning of exercise in the Sri Lankan tropical weather, we were able to contribute and understand the significance of what the money we raised went to support and become more aware of a local issue, and connect it to a larger global problem.

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refreshments – photo credits to Illuminate Artists

 Overall, it was a great combination between action, service and fun, which truly made Holi even more of a meaningful celebration than it already is! As you can see, the powder colors thrown at us (which were apparently also biodegradable!) really bring life to the streets of Colombo.

Girls for Girls – Exercise Sessions

Above, you can see what we did for our introductory session where we met a few of the girls we would be working with, for the first time. We used a map to show where each of us was from and shared a cake and other snacks with them while talking. For the past few weeks after introducing ourselves to the girls, we planned two sessions focused on physical activity.

1. Yoga on the Balcony
We planned out this session knowing that the girls had also done their own yoga classes without us, meaning it wasn’t something completely new and hard to follow for them. In the beginning it was led by Alex, Ariana and Diana who did yoga after-school activities in school. I learned a bunch of new yoga things myself, such as the sun salutations sequence.

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Yoga with the girls – led by Alex, Ariana and Diana. Picture credits to Kaavya

Afterwards, each of the girls came up to the front and we copied the yoga move they demonstrated. They had big smiles on their faces and weren’t afraid to take the lead! On top of that, we even created a fruit bowl with ice-cream and sat and talked with the girls downstairs. Overall, it was a good way for us to bond and wind down!

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Creative fruit bowl! Picture credits to Alex/Diana

1. Zumba/Just Dance
This session we brought in tutorials from Just Dance and using the projector in one of the classrooms in the center. I haphazardly tried to follow the moves with my limited dance abilities… nonetheless it was a very exciting session at the center. It helped tons that the songs were interactive – during the last part of the session, we all partnered up with a girl from Emerge and did a duet dance and that was definitely my favorite part of the session. I’m glad the girls enjoyed it and one of them even asked for the videos afterwards to dance on their own!

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SAISA Badminton Recap and Tournament!

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SAISA OSC A & B Squad 2017!

The first big surprise for me was being chosen for one of OSC’s badminton teams, OSC B, to participate in SAISA which was hosted here as well! I was extremely excited but also anxious because over the winter break, I wasn’t able to practice very much and not at all with the team, since I was abroad in Malaysia. The 2 weeks after the break and before the tournament, however, I made sure to show up to every single practice and really do my best to improve my skills and work with my doubles partners, Shreya and Jamaal. I also worked on my singles more and because the final team players were chosen, I was able to play more often and apply strategy and gameplay tips from other SAISA team players. 

It all began with the team matches, which were the highlights of the whole SAISA, because it really bred camaraderie between us as a team. During my singles matches I tended to get very nervous and make a lot of mistakes, but I think I really did try to play my best and improve my gameplay throughout. It was definitely disheartening whenever I I lost a match, but I knew to learn from those mistakes and felt more confident as I played more matches. Following the advice of Mr. Pradeep, if a strategy is working against them, keep using it; if your strategy isn’t working against them, change it. I was able to catch up in terms of points when I was playing against during the second half of the match most of the time, and I was proud of myself for that, even if ultimately I might’ve not won. I’m also very proud of the teamwork between my doubles partners, although Shreya and I ran into communication problems as we played more matches, we were able to mend that. I made so many mistakes when playing with Jamaal that we did encounter during practice, but I’m glad he was still supportive and we won a lot of games together through teamwork nonetheless! 

In the end, OSC B placed 5th in a total of 11 schools in SAISA, which was definitely impressive! I tried my best in the singles tournament and doubles tournament and the following consolidation matches that followed as well, although I wasn’t able to place very high. Overall, I couldn’t have done it without the help of my coaches, Mr. Pradeep, Andre and Ms. Tharu. This was the most unforgettable experience for me, and taught me how to persevere and enjoy in a competitive sport, both for myself and for a team!

Body Conditioning – A Brief Session

The Body Conditioning after school activity was something new I tried in order to stay fit within the first few months of the school year, before I started Badminton. I definitely ventured outside of my comfort zone by doing Body Conditioning. It was extremely beneficial because it taught me many different ways I could stay in shape. We ran laps around our field; we skipped using jumping ropes; we even used the machines in the weight room; or we just did intense drills of a combination of squats, burpies, jumping jacks, etc.

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example of an EMOM workout, which I was introduced to through Body Conditioning (credit)

Unfortunately, I was unable to document this experience using pictures because I was quite exhausted afterwards! Nevertheless, I hope to incorporate some of the different exercises throughout the year whilst I do other activity/action.

 

DP2 IB CAS Goals

Creativity
This year I decided to focus all my attention to Yearbook, especially as I step up to the position of Yearbook editor-in-chief this year! Yearbook has always been a joint effort between a team of students to plan and create one final product that embodies the whole school year. I already familiarized myself with graphic design and I feel confident using the program, Adobe InDesign. The Yearbook team this year is even smaller, which is both a disadvantage and benefit. The communication and discussions will be more organized, but it means everyone must have a good chunk of pages to make by certain deadlines. I am responsible to make sure this happens.

I need to maintain my commitment from last year. On top of that, I would like to develop my leadership skills and ability to teach others the skills I know. Last year’s seniors were great role models for me-they demonstrated the willingness to give feedback and collaborate. I also would like to work on incorporating variety, while still following a unique theme, into the design of the yearbook.

Activity

In the beginning  of this year, I am going to do Body Conditioning because my fitness is definitely a big area for growth… I also enjoyed Yoga last year, so I might continue this within the next block of after school activities. Yoga helped me balance out my priorities mentally and physically, even though honestly it was a challenge for me to be patient. 

This year is my last chance to commit myself to Badminton and truly improve! I’ve been making small steps in improvement since Grade 10. Before I lacked a lot of determination, but now I know I definitely have a lot more determination when I have less on my plate than I did last year. This time, my badminton will not coincide with my other activities such as MUN. This did not allow me to play to my fullest capacity with only half an hour to play instead of a full hour. It also coincided with scuba sessions. My biggest goal for badminton or activity this year is to improve my skills, rather than to attempt to make it into the SAISA team. I have already thought of different ways I could tackle this and plan and initiate my progress into becoming a more competitive badminton player. My dad plays badminton regularly with his colleagues, so I will also dedicate this semester before badminton season, to practice new skills on the court. 

Service
In cooperation with the organization Emerge Global, Ariana and I are now leaders of a brand new service group, Girls for Girls. The service aims to raise awareness but also develop a relationship with young girls who are survivors of sexual abuse. Starting a new service is always a challenging task. Ariana and I are well aware of the obstacles in organization and communication issues because of Prison Outreach last year. However! We hope that this service will engage our community in a dialogue about the rights of sexual abuse survivors and women’s empowerment. We have already been planning many different activities; some are creative, some are activity/action, some have to do with business and IT skills! We will be consistently communicating with representatives of Emerge throughout the year. The organization has also opened up a transition home recently and they were enthusiastic about us helping them prepare the home and volunteer to teach skills to girls who are ready to reintegrate back into society. Ariana and I are working towards creating a strong foundation for the service in order for it to continue for years to come.

I know I might face some challenges emotionally. Honestly, I had doubts about how I, someone who has never experienced such hardships like having the courage to go to court or to cope with trauma, would communicate with them. I realized that should not stop me from engaging myself in this issue of global importance. I have so much to learn from them, and through the activities we have planned they will learn so much from us too. Nevertheless, I have optimism that I can build a strong relationship with the girls at the shelter and make a lasting impact.