Anargi’s CAS Journey

Journey of an IB student

DP 1 CAS Reflection

I would describe this year as trying to ride a bicycle. In an effort to specify this generic analogy, I will return to its base interpretation; once I passed the initial glimpse into DP 1 in the first two months, come September I was thriving on the steady influx of assignments that were being scattered across the white panels of a clean Managebac calendar replacing the older greens and pale orange colored boxes into brighter purples and reds. My DP 1 timeline was also scattered with all seven of CAS Learning outcomes as evidenced below. This paradoxical feeling of never-ending exhaustion but also addiction to this frenzied mental state mimicked the panic I felt when first learning how to ride. I realized once I familiarized my muscles with the repetitive and circular motion of the pedals, I would not be able to stop as flat ground started to slope downward and was hurling my bike at blazing speed towards the pit below. However, after crash landing onto the desolate pit, drenched with my fears and insecurities, I weaponized these feelings and placed them in my arsenal of tools for later use. This pit symbolized the hollow mind space and stress I was overwhelmed with at one brief point in my DP 1 timeline. However, I ultimately picked up the tattered remains of my MYP mindset and rode hard uphill till I finally arrived at the finish line. This reflection is proof that I survived.



“If you look closely enough, even in the darkest depths of the night, a cluster of stars radiates light” – Earnest Hemingway

This quote is an exaggerated projection of my experiences in the creativity aspects of my DP 1 journey. Under the overarching umbrella of creativity, I embarked on a variety of creative projects; COMUN, ISTA, UN Day, watching Plays and RCCI Art Exhibition, while maintaining a healthy flood of creative endeavors to keep myself busy during COVID.


Along with my role as chair of the IPC, I worked with Secretariat on the technicalities of organizing the conference. I was tasked with placing and designing orders for Trophies, certificates, notebooks, magazines and the metal name tags. I admit that being a delegate, I took the organization of the event for granted and now being placed in the role; being responsible for so much, it was a not only a valuable experience but a necessary one to prepare me for the pressures of the real world. My main takeaway from this experience is to not only better organize one’s scheduling and enhance proficiency when completing and activity but to also communicate with other’s working within the Secretariat. For example, the order list that was meant to be given to the T-shirt, placards and name tag manufactures was different on each list and thus resulted in multiple order cancellations which ultimately led to the t-shirts on being available on the second day of conference. At some point in this journey, I felt as if I was overburdened with my role as Head of International Press Committee and my surplus externalities within the Secretariat, that I was propelled into the ‘darkest depths of the night’ and struggled to find my ‘cluster of stars’. However, I ultimately persevered as a result of support from the COMUN community and contributed in making this conference a success.


ISTA Taps was an unforgettable experience as it served as an elevated platform in which I could present and showcase my existing techniques, skills and knowledge in theatre, while exploring the other intricacies of the subject. The three days were filled with enriching learning experiences and fun – filled activities, that helped us to discover different angels of theatre, and personally, opened my eyes to a plethora of approaches to the subject and helped to engrain theatre conventions and styles into my practical work. However, I must admit, I had two distinct insecurities regarding ISTA. The first centered on inexperience because I was only two months into the IB theatre program, I would find it difficult to comprehend the contextual understanding and theory worked discussed during my ensemble, as I had only learnt of five directors and their respective visions. The second reason was more subliminal as I was worried that I didn’t encompass a wide array of skills, unlike some of the other students in my ensemble, thus struggled to bring new ideas into the group. However, I forced my way out of this defeatist mindset and ‘dark night’ when I reached into my arsenal of tools and found my ‘cluster of stars’.

UN Day – Presentation and Performance

Since UN day is somewhat student run as it is organized by the students of Model United Nations, the members of this club had to play massive roles during the initial part of the day. Staying true to the theme of Gender Equality, after the ‘flag parade’, the MUN’ers had to lead different seminars, educating the entirety of high school students of the intricacies of this subject. I specialized on three distinct aspects under this broad and ‘umbrella’ topic of Gender Equality, human trafficking, violence, and healthcare, and presented to a mixed group of DP 1 and DP 2 students. It felt exhilarating to educate my fellow peers on a topic that I am so passionate about, and help them comprehend the gravity of the situation. I, party, hoped to see shocked faces throughout the presentation, as these impulses proved how my presentation helped to broaden not only their perspective but attitude towards this topic. It was also crucial, for me, as I understood how sheltered and isolated our lives were from the chaos of the outside world.

Inspired by the theme of Gender Equality, I was excited to perform my Collaborate Theatre project (CTP), as I long waited to showcase not only my hard work but that of my peers. My main goal for the performance was for people to truly understand the underlying message of our piece and feel empowered to make a difference. Our artistic intention was to show the audience two contrasting perspectives of gender equality in order to provoke the reader to question whether people have been conditioned to think and behave the way they do by society or innate. By using a multi-modal platform of soundscapes, movement pieces; gesture spatial awareness, form and a unique stage structure we hoped to raise awareness on this topic in a non-conventional light and educate the audience on the urgency of change and a prospect of a better future. Our plans blossomed into fruition as the positive reviews from the audience explained how inspired they were to enact change and also how much our performance improved the clarity of the topic.


Overall, I am immensely grateful for this opportunity as I was able to not only grow and learn as a theatre student but was able to link this experience to my pool of performances, that I could later refer to. I felt so much of myself mirrored through the performance, as the realism and the 90’s culture that the play alluded really harmonized to my style of theatre, absent the sci-fi facets of the play. Furthermore, this experience has also inspired me to do something of a similar nature with my fellow theatre students, as a way of showcasing our skills and years of knowledge. This experience has also got me attuned to theatre scene in Colombo and I hope to see more plays in the future.

RCCI Art Exhibition

One of our focal points for the students in RCCI is to help nurture their social skills through empirical means, thereby allowing them to experience and understand the essence of what is taught. An excellent example of the students polishing the cognitive skills, and more specifically, collaborative skills was when my peers and I visited their center to help make art for their annual Art Exhibition. This trip was a crucial milestone not only because this was our first visit to the center this year but since these artworks could potentially be candidates for the t – shirt design.

Complementing popular belief, art has often been used as an explorative tool to discover untapped skills, especially in special needs students and is often considered an useful method of deciphering a student’s interests. Therefore, my peers and I were not only excited to play a role in terms of exploring their artistic capabilities but teach them valuable collaboration and communication skills, while, simultaneously, being engaged in the process. The theme of this year’s art projected was ‘spherical shapes’ and my peers and I were asked to aid the students to create an artwork that centered on ‘circles’. Transferring some of the skills that I had learnt in my visual art classes, in the years prior, I hoped to assess the students’ mirroring and listening skills.



“If you fail to do something, try again … maybe you can fail better next time” – Wilbur Smith

This was the mantra the I followed closely for the activity aspect of my DP 1 journey. Although a national, competitive swimmer, I would not describe myself as being ‘sportive’ as I was not comfortable with land sports, even conventional ones such as basketball and soccer etc. However, swimming was one area which I excelled as evident within my CAS goals;

“In terms of an ‘umbrella’ goal, I hope to make the SAISA team as I have done consecutively for four years. However, I have two main sub goals; the first requires me to improve my personal best for 100m breastroke, by three seconds as my current time is 1.23 and I hope to improve it to 1.20 seconds. Contrastingly, my second goal is geared towards enhancing my mentality to ‘losing’, as I feel that I constantly forget the importance of mistakes in terms of developing one’s self as well-rounded person. Overall, I wish to the transfer my newly formed mentality and important skills further in life.”

Throughout the academic year, I have pursued different facets of activities, namely SAISA, TISSL, and Nationals, while maintaining my physicality during COVID.


SAISA was a rollercoaster of emotions and sensational experiences. The only coherent feeling that I retained from being in an ecstatic and blissful state for three days is that indescribable feeling of both enjoyment contrasted with that inkling of dread when you know that ‘all good things must come to an end’. This was true in my case, as this would prove to be my final swimming Saisa, due to prior commitments. Thus, I made it a point to not only fulfill my sub goals for the season but to also make use of the limited time to create new friendships and expand on existing ones.

Towards the latter end of the Saisa season, I felt that I had drastically improved my mentality towards making mistakes in the process of heightening one’s self confidence and development. For example, in terms of training when I found myself in a difficult set, that I sought difficult to maintain, I always tried to have better technique and speed during the second round, negating any sense of backward thoughts such as giving up. I transferred these skills to the competition when, despite the fact that I knew I was in a slower heat, that could possible hinder my chances of making it to the finals, I flashbacked to the journey that I took to arrive at this moment in time, thus fueling me with much needed support before I dove in.

TISSL (and Nationals)

I participated in three races; 50m Breastroke, 50m Fly and 100m Breastroke. In terms of achieving my goals set for the swimming in my previous blog post about not only enhancing my physicality (improving my time by 2 seconds) but also fostering a positive mentality towards all facets of the sport, this Inter – internationals was a success in its entirety as I won a silver medal for my 100m breastroke, despite the fact that I did not lose three seconds off my time as I planned to. However, I felt that by experiencing this meet, I have learnt how to maintain a healthy and positive outlook on both not placing in the top three for 50m breastroke as well as failing to lose time off my personal best. I felt that the primary learning outcomes of this experience was my newly – adopted ability to overcome my challenges through perseverance and commitment. In term of staying true to the ‘action’ element of my pre – season prep post, I understood that by closely following the training sets that catered to my strengths and flaws, I ultimately became the swimmer that I aspired to be.


“The most horrible act we can do, is turn a blind eye and claim innocence” – Malala

I believe that this bold statement by Malala vocalized my sentiments towards the treatment of differently-abled individuals in Sri Lanka. Mental illness is often perceived as a stigmatized topic within Sri Lanka, with many, victim to the societal prejudices that are inflicted upon patients. The primary basis for the neglect and scorn that citizens with mental illness receive is the lack of education, inadequate resources and lack of integration into society, to allow for independency. Therefore, to combat these deficiencies normalized within our culture and communities’ overtime, I planned on raising awareness through the relatively, well known platform of RCCI and hoped to be an advocate for these marginalized communities. Thus, as service leader, I hoped to eradicate these prejudices within our close-knit community by correcting the misinformed, introducing those graduating from the school to job opportunities and finally investigating the possibility. Coupled with RCCI, service this year has also entailed MUN Donations as well as Flood Relief Program.

MUN Donations

This year, contrasting our usual agenda, during an MUN lesson, the SG and our Faculty advisor decided to donate not only the surplus bags from last years’ service run but remnants of a culmination of activities. The group organized ourselves into different sections, depending on the item, books, bags, stationary… etc. and furiously sorted through the messy clumps of materials, hoping to pack them into the multitude of empty boxes in time. These boxes were to be donated to an organization called, ‘Hope for Kids’, that centered on sheltering and nurturing a group of marginalized, poverty-stricken children.


Contrary to the norm, during the early weeks of the December Monsoon, the strait and peninsula of Jaffna began to overflow from both ocean and lagoon water pouring onto the streets of the town center. Stunned by the flash floods, the town provincial council were ill-equipped to deal with a disaster of this magnitude and called for funding and aid to combat this issue. However, the commercial and legislative capitals were facing flooding issues of their own coupled with the buzz of the presidential elections.

Therefore, my mother and I decided to create a youth team in order to raise sufficient funds to help alleviate the flooding issue. Our youth team spanned from fresh undergraduates from Colombo University to the Chemistry teachers at CIS Kandy and private owners of local businesses and encompassed 15 – 20 volunteers. Together, we targeted Multi-National Co-operations such as Careems, Hilton and Laughs, Keels by sending our prospectus and publicizing our need to find sponsors to invest in our Flood Recovery efforts. In total, Rs. 1.5 million was raised to fund the flood relief efforts. This funding was used to buy a plethora of basic essentials that the citizens in the Northern Districts lost when their housing was flooded.


This year was eventful, to say the least, and here’s hoping next year will be the same!





ajayakody2 • June 5, 2020

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