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. 

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. 

End of DP1 Reflection

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.

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DP1 IB CAS Goals

Welcome to my CAS blog! This post marks the beginning of my journey in the IB.

My CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) Goals, Sept. 8, 2015

Creativity
This year, I’m participating in yearbook, MUN, and (hopefully) looking to continue digital art and traditional painting. I have yearbook experience from my previous school even though I did not join yearbook last year. This time I would like to improve my graphic design and experiment with the yearbook team. MUN is an activity out of my comfort zone; although I like to engage myself in global issues, I have severe stage fright and lack of public speaking skills. With my involvement in MUN I will learn to combat this. This is my more prominent commitment in the creativity area. Otherwise, in a more relaxed environment, I am continuing self-taught digital art and painting, something I have been doing seriously for a good 7 years. Since I am not taking Visual Arts as a IB course, I think it’s important I still pursue art as a hobby. I could join the art club to aid me as well.

Activity
My Activity activities are a work in progress. For the future, I would like to participate in badminton and scuba diving. Previously I had joined badminton, therefore by continuing to work on my badminton I can evaluate my progress from last year. I hope to learn how to play more competitively by developing and strengthening certain skills and my own general determination. Scuba sparked my interested after I visited the ocean near my father’s hometown in Malaysia. It seems demanding in terms of commitment, swimming skill and knowledge, yet I’m willing to take the challenge in order to explore the oceans of Sri Lanka and try something completely new.

Service
I joined a brand new service group for the next year, currently called Prison Babies. It’s a service dedicated to aiding imprisoned women and their children that are born behind bars. Not only will we care for their children, we’re looking towards generally improving their prison lives; in the long run, we’ll learn how to teach necessary life skills to the women in order to ease their transition when they are released out of prison. By working in this service, I hope I can understand the problems that women in prison face, while making a positive impact on their lives. I believe this service will allow me to become more open-minded by being exposed to conditions I am unfamiliar with. Personally, the communication and thinking involved might pose a challenge, especially as a new group of people in a brand new service. However, I hope I can contribute my fullest in planning and working collaboratively beforehand in order to establish a good foundation for the group.