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. 

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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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Reflecting on Issues of Global Importance

(Wikimedia Commons)

After returning from the winter break and beginning a new year, a reflection upon my activities from last semester are long overdue. In particular I’m going to reflect on issues of global importance that concern some of my activities:

In Model United Nations (MUN), I actively engage with these issues by listening and discussing during practice debates in the sessions at school. As a whole MUN is researching, speaking, and debating and drafting with resolutions about complex issues internationally. It is simulation of the UN which strives to solve and discuss issues from different nation’s perspectives. My first practice debate especially showed me so many stances on gender equality across the world. Sometimes in MUN I feel slightly useless, discussing and speaking on issues but not being able to directly take action. However, MUN is still incredibly important in my understanding of issues of global importance because it provides me with multiple viewpoints from countries all around the world and that understanding is a good way to take action and help me be already aware of why I do service and why we all do community service, or why we learn what we do in History class, or in other classes. I can’t speak as well as the other experienced MUNers, but I hope I can develop that skill more as it’s important, especially considering world leaders today; its important to speak up about an issue locally & globally. 

Scuba diving with PADI also taught me certain issues related to the ocean that are of international concern. I learned a lot about environmental concerns in scuba diving, especially about global warming and ocean acidification and conserving marine wildlife. All the e-learning and even short bursts of information from our instructors reminded us of this concern. When we went diving it was made clear not to remove anything from the ocean back to shore, like coral; and our instructor even was able to remove garbage from the ocean in one of our dives. We were also taught certain safety measures and those are important skills to have. The course especially strengthened my knowledge about ocean acidification, pollution, the bleaching of coral reefs and importance of corals and the protection of marine wildlife. Knowing all this allowed me to become a responsible and eco-conscious scuba diver. Since I want to be able to dive in other places besides Sri Lanka, it is good to know the issues associated with scuba that affect other parts of the world as well.

Imprisonment is a huge issue globally. The treatment of prisoners across different countries varies and it is something that must be taken into account when considering the degrees of crimes and punishment. In my opinion, there is a huge stigma surrounding prison and prison culture worldwide. Through this service, I was able to see a different perspective, through the surroundings and my own experience. Outside of the Welikada Prison that we visit as a service group, there are murals of prisoners doing work and underneath it, it states “Prisoners are human beings”. When we drive up to the women’s ward, there are more murals of women nursing children. On a local scale through my service group, Prison Outreach, we were able to more thoroughly understand sensitivities associated with prison and reach out to the imprisoned women and even their children. In particular we heard a lot of interesting things about the prison and the likelihood of fights breaking out in the women’s ward, etc. These sort of stories molded a negative image in my mind of what the children had to face and made me a little nervous to go in the first place. However, getting a chance to see inside the prison and do small things for them like provide them with food, play with them and teach them, really changed my view of how I perceived prison to be. I joined this service initially for helping women reestablish themselves and restart their lives after prison, but interacting with the kids let me see that they were such bright, happy children who deserved more than the image of miserable kids stuck in a dreary prison. I personally never really thought I could get along with kids, especially ones 5 years and younger. Yet any opportunity we can give them to smile is always my favorite thing about this service.