It’s officially here. My last year of high school. I remember when I was in like 7th grade, I’d see seniors and think “Wow they are old It’ll take so long for me to get to that point” and well, here we are. It’s not off to the greater of starts if i’m being honest. We are still in DLP so we couldn’t meet each other in person. I did meet a few of my friends over summer break however which was fun. But this year I really want to make it worthwhile. DLP or F2F. It’s my senior year. It’s supposed to be the more exciting, the most eventful, and of course the most emotional. One thing i’m really not looking forward to is being separated from my friends. I’ve grown to love all of my friends at OSC and to be honest, I don’t want to drift apart from them, considering i’ve only known most of them for just under 2 years. It seems surreal that I’ll be graduating in just 9 months. Hopefully in person.
This year, I hope to be more engaged in school activities. Service, ASAs, Productions, etc. I also hope to improve myself as a person overall. Improving my grades, thinking skills and my participation. Should school reopen sometime soon, I really hope there will be either Basketball or Volleyball try outs. 1 thing I always regretted was never doing sports at BSC. Corona hit shortly after I joined OSC so there was no proper chance to participate in sports.
Another activity I want to be more involved in is service. As this is my last year, I really want to bring good ideas to the table as service leader along side my classmate Zoe. Being service leader helped me further understand the service group as a whole and who we were helping, especially through the hardships with the coronavirus. Should we open up in person, I want to ensure that we do as much as we can to help the surrounding schools in our area, as well as set an example for the next generation of service leaders after Zoe and I leave OSC for good.
And finally, I want to enjoy my final year in school. DP2 is going to be challenging for sure. But I want to embrace the fact that this is our last year of high school. After this, most of us are going our separate ways and may grow apart. That’s why I want to make the most of in person time (if we have any) with my peers to really make it a school year that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I felt it was time to reflect on the roller-coaster of a year we have had over the past couple of months.
We returned to school F2F in August of 2020 and I was excited to be able to socialize with my friends again. I had some ambitions for DP1. I wanted to try out for Volleyball and Basketball. Despite there being no formal practice of either sports, I gained little knowledge about Volleyball as me and a few of my peers and SAISA Volleyball players like Chloe, and Anish spent most of our lunch breaks playing. More so, I also realized how much nicer it was to be able to learn in person after being forced to learn online for the prior months in the end of MYP 5.
I also became service leader this year and I had absolutely no idea what I should be doing. Thankfully I was leader along side my friend and classmate, Zoe Pringiers and I learned a lot from her about leadership, confidence in speaking to our fellow service members, and how to initiate ideas for the service. We held a literary afternoon in February, 2021 as a fundraiser and raised funds for the school that our service is planning on helping rebuild a functional library space for them. I am satisfied with the knowledge that I have gained through the year being service leader and hope to do more for the service next school year.
Towards the end of DP1, we went into lockdown yet again as the 3rd wave of COVID-19 hit Sri Lanka. During this time I decided to try and be more productive during my time alone and inside. I spent a lot of time with my family as I realized that ever since the previous lockdown ended, I spent most of my free time meeting friends and staying out of the house. considering that wasn’t an option, I figured that spending time with my family was the least I could do. I also spent a lot of time playing my drums as I realized that that was probably the most fun way to pass the time. Keeping my spirits high during lockdown seemed to be the most challenging. I missed my friends a lot and I don’t remember the last time I met any of them. People from OSC or outside of school. It was rather challenging at first but thankfully, I had soon got used to it. It’s weird being stuck inside because you basically have nothing to look forward to. You can’t just get in your car and go to a friend’s house, you have to make do with being imprisoned in your own house.
During my first year of DP I feel as if I have developed not only as a person but also as a member of the OSC community. I got closer to my friends as we all helped each other one way or another during this pandemic. I feel more confident to approach people and socialize or even reach out to people if I need help with something. I’ve enjoyed my time as OSC so far and I hope that my final year will be filled even more happy memories and other events like OSCars, Gecko Factor, and so on.
During my final year at OSC, I want to be more engaged in the school. Do more both for and with the school and make an impact. Senior year of High School is supposed to be the best and I really want to make it worth while. Let’s just hope and pray that this pandemic will be gone by then or at least not to prominent to the point where we can’t enjoy ourselves in our final few months of being together. As DP1 comes to an end, I look forward to my last year here and hope to make it one of the most memorable years of my life. Good friends, good times, and good memories
Following my skateboarding journey, I took advantage of the 2 off days we had because of 3WC by going out to further improve my skateboarding skills. I called up Enya and she was more than winning to come join me in this dangerous and treacherous journey. Unfortunately Anouk couldn’t join because of her exams but of course I went and stole her skateboard anyways (I really need to get my own). I picked up my friend Enya and we drove to racecourse and immediately got to work. On this day, I didn’t have a specific goal per say. I just wanted to keep my balance and be able to turn with relative ease. I realized that my balance was getting fairly good and I was pleased with the progress I had made. Now what I really need to focus on is my turning abilities. I find it easier to turn when your feet to a 45 degree angle. This also helps me keep me on my feet should I lose my balance and fall off my skateboard. Enya and I were short on time so we had to keep this session relatively short. However, I did achieve one of my goals in was doing a timed lap of the parking lot. By doing this, it made me bring in my concentration and really try to keep my balance and work on my turning abilities. Being tall, leaning into the side that I want to turn to is rather challenging because I have to work extra hard to keep my balance as it is really easy to fall. I managed to do a timed lap of around 40 seconds which I was satisfied with. After about 1 hour of fooling around, me and Enya went to Popeyes (it’s trash don’t go there) and we bought some food for our friend Anouk to show our gratitude for letting us use her skateboard. That day I learnt 2 things. 1, Do not go skateboarding in the boiling hot sunlight. And 2, for god’s sakes I need to go buy my own skateboard.
LO1 Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
LO2 Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
LO4 Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
As a car obsessed person, the first priority on your mind in Sri Lanka when you turn 18 has to be Getting Your Driver’s License. It’s a rule that MUST NOT be disobeyed. But take it from me, for the love of all that is holy, get your license through a learners. They make the process so much easier. I didn’t for some stupid and I had to go through hell. Let me walk you through the process :). In July of 2020, I did the written test which gives me my Learner’s Permit. Meaning I can drive legally, provided that I have a licensed driver with me in the car. So you can imagine my excitement leading up to my 18th birthday, anticipating the day I can steal the car keys and just drive. I went sometime in early March to secure a date to do my trials and I got March 22nd. The day after I turn 18.
So I went to the RMV at 12:30 PM to do my test. I had taken my own car to do the test. I stood in line for about an hour and a half, only to come to the counter that would send me to my instructor telling me that I didn’t have the proper insurance details for my car. I was devastated and was told I might not be able to do the test today. But mama didn’t raise a quitter. Me and my driver drove to an insurance branch 5 minutes down the road (Just by chance was the insurance that I use) and I got the papers. Only to come back to the RMV to be told off by the instructor that it was the wrong kind. Knowing that I had dug too far to turn back, I went back to my insurance where they told me “Yes this is the right kind of paperwork, only your instructor didn’t look properly.” By this time it was almost 4 PM (the time which the RMV closes) and I thought I wasn’t going to get my license. But again, mama didn’t raise a quitter so I raced back to the RMV and asked around where my instructor was. They said he had gone out on a test but would be back soon. So I sat in the parking lot just waiting. I took the time to reflect on my experience that day and realized that the RMV is a terrible place and that I never want to come there ever again. I was waiting for around 45 minutes and I was slowly starting to lose hope. But right when I as about to throw in the towel, my instructor appeared and I showed him the paper work. He approved and thankfully, agreed to do the test despite being super late. I had never concentrated so hard in my life. At the beginning of the test, I had to park in a narrow space. Seems easy enough right? Not when you’re in a big truck. Thankfully I successfully parked (just) and we went on the final road test. He complimented my driving multiple times, saying “Very good driving” and when we got back, I had the best news I had ever gotten this year. He handed me back my learner’s permit and said “Congratulations you passed. Very good driving. Your license will be mailed to you in a month.” and I literally jumped in excitement. I drove home and on the way, called one of my best friends who is basically my big brother and invited me out to celebrate. Later that night I drove to dinner on my own for the very first time while blasting the song “Driver’s License” By Olivia Rodrigo and I realized how much louder I sing when I’m alone.
Getting my driver’s license has taught me some new things. 1 being how to handle police. I got stopped once while driving to pickup my parents late at night and they said they could smell alcohol from me. I had the windows down and sunroof open so they were clearly lying but I stood my ground and said “Go on then, breathalyze me. Do it” and then they said “No it’s ok you can go.” Driving alone is weird. Normally i’d have someone to talk to but now I have more time to myself and more time to think about things I need to prioritize like what school assignments I have and so on.
Karting has always been a fun past-time but I didn’t expect for me to have a large passion for it. In 2019 I qualified twice for the monthly race that the track has because I was in the top 10. And last year I competed in the national championship. I came 6th out of 12 which was eh but I was satisfied with it. Unfortunately the coronavirus taking over the globe, I wasn’t able to partake in one of my favorite past times. I recently went again as I will be taking part in a championship that is taking place on the 3rd of April, 2021. There are 2 kinds of karts you can use if you’re going to kart just for the fun of it. The red karts and the black ones. The black ones are the faster ones and harder control so in order to qualify to be able to use them, you have to get a sub 47 second time in the red kart. On the day I went to practice, I had one of my friends, Induwara, who is a race car driver and has a lot of experience in Karting. I decided to watch him do his laps first to see how he takes his lines. The idea is to take the most straight line possible through the turns. So basically go wide and cut in as close as you can to the corner. This After his 10 minutes were up, I had a go while being accompanied by him in his car ahead. I was very happy when I learned that I was only 0.7 seconds behind him. His time was 45.666 and mine was 46.382. The day after that, I went back for more training and I used a black kart this time. My time dropped to 43.648. The black kart is much harder to handle and I spun out twice which did not help my average lap time. I look forward to April 3rd and seeing how well I do.
In continuation with learning how to skateboard, me and my 2 friends, Enya and Naadira decided to go back to the racecourse parking lot and try and improve our skills. Unfortunately my friend Anouk couldn’t make it but that didn’t stop me from stealing her skateboard (don’t worry I returned it later) and using it for myself. We started off fooling around as usual because we’re kids at heart, but after about half an hour of just messing around, I decided to actually focus on trying to improve my balance. I realized that my feet are too big for a penny board. Though it is doable on a penny board, one of my feet are nearly completely hanging off the side which impedes my ability to balance. The skateboard on the other hand is much easier to balance with. After practicing for about 30 minutes I was able to complete a whole loop of the track. I was super happy because I was figuring out not only how to balance but also turn. I realized that keeping both feet parallel to each other, both at an angle made it much easier to balance. I also learnt how to do a flip trick where I flip the board with my feet and land on it perfectly.
After a few hours, it started pouring rain so me, Enya, and Naadira went and got cheesecake and discussed about our skateboarding achievements. We all came to the conclusion that while we were absolutely trash, we were a lot more productive than we were last time.
LO1 Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
LO2 Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
Ever since Online School started, I have barely been active. One of my close friends asked if I would be interested in learning how to skateboard with her. I hadn’t met her in months and having been bored at home, I said yes. I had a skateboard around 8-9 years ago but I never really got fully into it. Unfortunately, I no longer had possession of this skateboard so I had to borrow one of myy other friends’ penny board. The friend who I was going to learn with, Anouk, was also not very skilled at skateboarding so I was curious to see if any of us would get injured. We brought in a 3rd friend, Enya, who also had interest in skateboarding. We all met up at independence square and immediately came to the conclusion that all 3 of us were absolutely trash and had ZERO skill. We then walked over to the Racecourse parking lot as I knew that would have a smoother surface and we found things much easier. We spent a good 45 minutes just fooling around and testing our limits. There were a few falls and close calls with passing cars but thankfully, no one was injured, hurt or killed. After we had got too tired we went to KFC and got drinks to cool down and had deep conversations about the meaning of life. I quite enjoyed, not only skateboarding, but also fooling around, meeting my friend after months and just getting out and doing something I wouldn’t usually do. We planning to go again and hopefully that time we end up being more productive in actually learning how to skateboard rather than be immature like little kids.
I’m not the only person in my household who needs to be more active. My overweight beagle, Jackson, is also a couch potato. So last Friday, I decided that enough was enough and it was time for not only me, but also Jackson to get out and go for a walk together. Bonding with him is something I feel I should do more of so this excursion to the great outdoors, better known as the Thalangama lake, was perfect. I met up with a friend who has a white Puppy and we took both dogs on a relaxing stroll around the beautiful lake. It was oddly refreshing. I don’t usually do something like this so it really cleared my mind. I think moving forward, I might make this a weekly occurrence with Jackson and hopefully other dogs in the neighborhood. IMG_3362
Life often throws many unexpected things at you that you might not always be fully prepared to face. Turns out, my dad’s car had a flat tire and whilst i’m overly obsessed with cars, sad as it may seem I have never changed a tire before so… I decided to take up the challenge and see what I can considering that during my CAS block I had to get something productive/ active done. OK to be fair I did kind of expect this since I was out the day before and was aware that the tire was losing pressure at a substantial rate but I thought it would still be a good experience to get my hands dirty and see what it takes. Turns out, not a lot. A long reach and a jack was pretty much all I needed. Still, I had a big fear of the car collapsing since I hadn’t done this before but thankfully, it stayed in place. Luckily the tire wasn’t so severely damaged and only had a puncture so it was an easy fix.
Life often throws many eye opening experiences at you. Both expected and unexpected. This experience I had was both of those things. Back in April, my friend Keshan from my old School, BSC, contacted me with the idea to collect donations and give them to those who have been affect by the pandemic outside of Colombo. But the idea went quiet with not much being heard from it since life pretty much went back to normal with the lack of community spread of Covid-19. However, when this second wave hit, I remembered the idea and I contacted Keshan saying “Hey, now’s a good time to do this. Let’s make a move” and so began the project.
We created posters and advertised on social media, asking people to donate any old books, toys, clothes, and anything that would be of use. One Saturday afternoon, me and my friend Ayush, also from BSC spent a good 6 hours driving all over the city collecting donations from people. It was heartwarming to see how much stuff people were willing to donate. Books, toys, clothes and other items that would be of great use to the people who have been effected negatively by the situation ravaging the country. The back of my truck was filled to the brim with absolutely no space for anymore donations. But we weren’t complaining. In fact, we couldn’t be happier with what we had collected in the 6 hours we spent roaming the city. 1 week later, we spent another 6 hours organizing what goes to which family (there were roughly 50 that we would be helping) and we organized who would be transporting what. This proved challenging because we ended up needing more vehicles due to the number of people coming on the trip, as well as what we would talking on the trip. The toys, food, and books, etc. Thankfully, right at the very last minute, my dad let us use his car as it had enough space for what we needed. On the night of the 20th, I went over to Keshan’s house to drop off my dad’s car and load up my truck with what we needed. I would be transporting primarily the clothes that were donated. My dad’s car would be transporting the rice and other foods. Aysuh’s car would be transporting toys, and Keshan’s car would be transporting the books. We also had our friend, Devin, bringing his truck to for additional space.
And so on December 21st, 2020, our convoy, 5 cars strong, set off at 5 AM to Kurunegala. The drive was relatively easy and we made good progress. I was at the back of the convoy following Devin’s truck. Keshan’s car was at the front of the pack. Reason being is because his car has a flag pole and this would lessen our chances of being stopped for the Rapid-Antigen tests. Thankfully however, there were no check points even though I highly feared seeing one. After around 3 hours, we arrived and got straight to work. Now I mentioned earlier that this experience was eye opening in an expected and unexpected way. Expected in the way that these people were in dire need. The pandemic wasn’t easy on any of them so it was great to see them being helped. The unexpected aspect of it was the reality check that it gave us. Yes, we were doing a good deed, but at the end of the day we got back into our fancy cars and went back to living the good life. These people had barely anything and they were so overwhelmed and appreciative of what we had done for them. It really puts things into perspective of how lucky we really are. Most of our problems are first world problems. Nothing compared to what these people faced on a day to day basis.Now this whole project didn’t come without its challenges. First finding out what goes to which family took an age. Second, figuring out who would transport what, who’s cars would be needed, whether we had enough space for the donations and the people coming on the trip, so on, and third, the safety measures we had to take throughout. We all made sure to be wearing not only our face masks, but also our face shields, maintain social distance, and sanitize our hands as often as we possibly could. It took us around half an hour to unload all of the donations we had brought. It was so great to see so many people helping each other out by distributing the boxes among one another. No one fought over anything. Everyone waited their turn and were profusely grateful for what they had received. It was truly a very moving experience for me and i’m sure for everyone else who went on this trip. I definitely look forward to hopefully doing this again sometime this year.
At the end of the day, we all drove down to Kandy to our friend Ashan’s hotel for lunch (and by chance, ran into Anya from my grade who was also staying at the hotel with her family), where we all reflected on the day and what we had accomplished. In true Christmas spirit, we were happy that we had contributed and made an impact to these people, even if we couldn’t greet them and meet them all personally. After a couple of hours of rest, we made the long drive back home. It took us about 4 hours but we all made it back safely. We stopped at Mcdonald’s Kiribathgoda to say one final goodbye to the group and we all went our separate ways. I highly encourage anyone to do something like this because of the reality check it gives you and the feeling of satisfaction from giving back to the community.