“What feels like the end is often the beginning.”
At the moment of writing this blog, we’ve got less than 2 weeks of high school left. I remember it like yesterday when I first walked the halls of OSC in August 2019 and feeling slightly nervous for the journey ahead of me but also feeling excited for the new experience. Over the past 2 years, we have been through a lot from completing massive coursework to uploading IAs and going for a literal lockdown for almost one and a half years, thanks to Covid-19. This time embraced many highlights and downsets of our lives, with academics and others. And this blog is in fact a true memoir of this time. When I sat down to write my first CAS blog, it took me a lot of time to process my thoughts, communicate my ideas and meet the expectations. I viewed it merely as a task to be completed. But was I wrong! As time went by, CAS brought fun and enjoyment. It gave you the ultimate satisfaction when you publish that first blog. It helped me relieve my stress and encouraged me to get out and play instead of moping around with all the assignments due. Now, as I’ve reached the final stage of this CAS blog, let me take you through a reminisce of my time at OSC.
When I first initiated CAS, my goals for creativity involved performing arts and dancing. For me performing arts was an amalgamation of fun and creativity. It helped me forget about the scientific facts and calculus formulae and enjoy the moment. I was able to successfully complete my LCM Diploma in Speech and Drama with distinction and it works as an added qualification for me. I continue Kandyan dancing on the weekends and it benefits me with a weekly workout. At the beginning of DP1, I played Netball at my previous school but with the Covid-19 restrictions, it had to come to a stop. Moreover, it was really frustrating to not be able to go out for a run, swim, or walk. I tried out different workout routines but was unable to keep up with the time and constant work at school. When things started getting back to normal I was excited to start my dancing lessons, I also ran on the walking path every other day. I could stay healthy and fit and help increase the dopamine levels in the brain. My main goals for service were to bond with my fellow members and actively participate in all the activities. DLP stood against the lively service sessions and we had to meet virtually. But we formulated new ideas and made the most of them.
Overall, these two years have been nothing but enthralling. I have grown as a student and an individual that is now ready to embrace life outside the four walls of high school. I faced multiple ups and downs and learned the essential life lessons along the way. I made new friends both intentionally and by chance. I climbed the steps of high school and waved back at the trail we’ve all left behind. For all of this, I express my gratitude to my teachers – to those who taught me, and to those who didn’t, my family – for trusting me and believing me, my friends – for always sticking by me and finally to OSC – for been that epitome of strength and providing me with ample opportunities to learn and grow.
Let summarize this experience through the following learning outcomes;
- Identify strengths and develop areas for growth.
Throughout the IB diploma, I was faced with many instances where I was left at crossroads, questioning my strengths and weaknesses. One such situation would be my WWW trip to Hambanthota. It was a tiring week of digging and painting. It tested my strengths in working collaboratively, skills of leadership, patience, and communication. Especially when we had to prepare dinner, the whole activity based on our trust in others. In addition, doing exercises at home is something you can lose interest in very quickly. But every day I pushed myself to run another 2km or do 10 more squats. I refused to give up and let my physical fitness get lose. I think it paid up in the day and for that, I am grateful for my resilience and skills.
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
One of the highlights of my time at OSC is when I had to perform at the National Day Assembly. This was a challenge I encountered during my first year. The challenge was to overcome the fear of performing in front of a large audience, the challenge was to perform a piece of standard, the challenge was to prepare myself for the worst to come. I was able to complete my performance successfully and received an appraisal for it.
Another situation I can encounter is during DP1 Orientation where I had to challenge myself to go on long hikes up the mountain ranges of Kithulgala and abseil. It consisted of long hikes on both days through thick rainforests and heavy showers. We also took part in water sports like water rafting and canoeing. For someone whose a novice to this, it was certainly a challenge to put myself out there and keep up with the others. Nonetheless, I am proud to say that I achieved all of them successfully, and looking back I am glad I did so.
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
I think the perfect example would be how I planned and organized my CAS project. My CAS project was teaching MYP kids the Sinhala language. I coordinated with Ms. Dilini, who is in charge of MYP Sinhala, and initiated a lesson plan to teach them the basic vocabulary and review some lessons. I had to consider the class size, the mental capacity of the students, and their interest in the subject area. A great deal of support was received from both the teacher prior to the lesson and from the students on the day. But I believe that it was the befitting plan and organization that made this project a success. And am once again thankful to everyone who lent me a hand.
- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences.
Service is one of favourite parts of the IB Diploma program. Every Thursday we get to spend an extra hour after school devoting ourselves to a better course. As a co-leader of the service group ‘Girls for Girls’, I conducted different interactive sessions for the girls from Emerge Center during my first year. We played volleyball, made bracelets, and prepared tacos and milkshakes. However, during the pandemic, our options were limited, and had to limit ourselves to virtual debates and other creative stuff. As a DP2 student who’s trying to finish uploading all the due assignments in a single week, attending these sessions was a definite commitment. But the enjoyment I received surpassed my exhaustion.
- Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
The best example for this is the many IA trips and Week Without walls I have been on. I traveled to Kithulaga from my Biology IA, to Sinharaja for my Geography IA, and to Hambanthota for WWW. All of these were very educational and entertaining to be a part of. But none of these would bring out the expected outcome if it weren’t for the corporative work of the whole group. Whether it came to marking quadrants for biology or preparing a questionnaire for geography or digging pots at WWW everyone did their best collaboratively. This comes to show how as separate individuals we are at most mildly effective but together we can combine our talents to a powerful arsenal of academic excellence, athletic achievement, and community spirit.
- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
I participated in the Plastic Patrol organized by ‘Reefkeepers’ where we collected all plastic items around the school neighborhood and packaged them separately based on their origin and type of plastic used. The final packages were sent to the mother companies with an awareness letter as a measure of trying to inform them about the damages caused. The plastics that could not be sorted were sent to a plastics recycling center in Colombo. Moreover, during my stay at Hambanthota for WWW, we took part in a beach cleanup at Shangrila. Over the course of 2-3 hours, we collected nearly 15 kg of plastics.
In addition, we discuss timely global issues during our service hours, ranging from the legalization of abortions to human rights. These debates help us to be more educated in these aspects and also be aware of the different perspectives of the communities around the globe. I believe these present clear instances where I have engaged with issues of global significance.
- Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
When working with the girls from Emerge Center Lanka we had to consider their background and what is suitable or not. Each of these girls has undergone some kind of sexual abuse in their early days and even a brief mention of this could be quite sensitive to them. Thus, we had to take into consideration their side of the story and continue forward with the little information we possessed.
With that, my time at OSC has come to an end. All those times of coming to school early to gossip, doing missed homework at break, almost skipping lunch because we were gossiping, and staying after school for no reason at all will all be over; they will be missed, more than I count for but they will always be treasured as my best time at OSC. As I started off this post saying “What feels like the end is often the beginning.” It is true! After we leave OSC most of us will probably leave Sri Lanka soon and seeing our friends chilling at the locker benches every morning as we walk to school will soon become a memory that we will learn to appreciate. The year-long friendships and warm hugs will be missed; teasing each other till there’s no more; burning up labs and just messing around will be missed; and most of all we will miss the company, the different characters that emerged throughout the years and the laughs we had. But as we leave here with all these memories, universities and colleges await us with a whole new life filled with similar fascinating events and memories. So this is not the end but in fact the true beginning!!
This is a time of looking back on lessons learned,
adventures shared, bright moments filled
with special meaning.
A time for saying goodbye to all friends,
to good times you’ve known… a time for
packing away memories, treasures for tomorrow.
A time for looking forward, a time to set new goals,
to dream new dreams, to try your wings, and see
what lies beyond.
Source: High school
Till we meet again;