Living a Balanced Life
One of the most difficult parts of the diploma program is maintaining a balanced lifestyle. The rigorous focus on academics, activity, and service leaves little time for much else, and as such one of my major goals, this year is to maintain a sense of equilibrium in terms of my studies, extracurriculars, and other facets of my life such as my passion for reading and my ability to spend time with my family and friends. To achieve this incredibly beneficial and stress-relieving goal, I will attempt to sleep, read, and meditate much more often, doing at least an hour-and-a-half of the latter two each day. Furthermore, I will maintain my previous goal (from the beginning of DP1) of sleeping eight full hours each night, and as a final step, I plan to spend at least two hours each day performing some form of physical activity. Ultimately, by placing a focus on these objectives, I will be able to radically reduce my stress, improve my quality of life, and ensure that I am mentally healthy.
Planning Swimming Lessons
Since regular service activity is currently on pause due to the overarching issue of a global pandemic, I had to find an alternative way to serve the community without putting myself or others in danger. Thus I began brainstorming and eventually settled on giving private swimming lessons to a member of the embassy community. This would largely mitigate risk as the only people involved would be me and my student. I began looking for someone to give the lessons to, and an opportunity to teach a 7-year-old named Josie quickly came to light. So far, we have been working together for about one month in a 20-yard pool. As of now, she has learned to dive fairly well and can swim the length of the pool without stopping. By the end of the year (or at least the time regular service begins again), I hope to have given her at least 20 creative and well-structured swimming lessons. To achieve this goal, I will create a lesson plan for each session and follow it completely (after which time some games of Josie’s choice may be played), and hopefully, this ambition will allow me to achieve my ultimate aim of making Josie a much stronger swimmer.
Since June, I have been regularly going to the gym at Sri Lanka’s US Embassy. I began attending to improve my strength for swimming, and while this is still the activity’s primary purpose, I have begun to genuinely enjoy it and to continue going because of the changes in my body and general self-esteem that I have noticed. To see more positive results, I will need to be consistent in my work, and as such, I hope to frequent the gym at least four times a week for the remainder of the year. In my third week of attendance, I attempted to reach my maxes in the bench press, incline press, squat, deadlift, and pull-ups in order to gain a general gauge for my starting point. They are as follows:
- Bench press: 215 lbs/97.5 kg
- Incline press: 70 lbs/32 kg (per arm)
- Squat: 300 lbs/136 kg
- Deadlift: 275 lbs/125 kg
- Pull-ups: 20
By next May, I hope the numbers will look something like this:
- Bench press: 280 lbs/127 kg
- Incline press: 90 lbs/41 kg (per arm)
- Squat: 390 lbs/177 kg
- Deadlift: 360 lbs/163.5 kg
- Pull-ups: 30
For the last two years, swimming has become an increasingly large part of my life, and my goals have accordingly become much loftier as time has gone on. One year ago, my major goals included winning two individual medals at the South Asian International Schools Association (SAISA) swimming meet and setting SAISA records in all three relays. Now, I hope to work enough this year to be competitive to walk on to the team at whichever university I attend. Above I have attached a list of times that I compiled in ascending order from past meets in which D1 universities that I am applying to participate. Below that, I included a five-number-summary as well as my current time and my target time for August next year. Over the course of the last 6 months, I have transitioned from timing my swims in meters to yards, and I have seen my personal bests drop slowly but steadily all the while. Ultimately, my goal for this year in terms of swimming is to reach my target times in at least two events and, in the future, to swim in college.
Gecko Inc. (COVID Edition)
As I mentioned previously, in place of my regular Gecko Inc. activity, I have been giving a seven-year-old named Josie lessons for about two months now, over the course of which she has made amazing progress; learning to dive fairly well and swimming the length of the pool without stopping. While this progress is certainly noteworthy, I have very ambitious goals for her for the rest of the year. By May (or the time that regular service activity resumes), I hope that Josie will be able to swim to full laps without stopping and that she will be able to swim one full 20-yard lap in 30 seconds. I also hope to develop her other strokes, and while butterfly may be quite difficult for her, backstroke and breaststroke will definitely be manageable and thus I hope she will be able to swim one full lap of each.
- Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
- Creating a table with all of my swimming times has certainly caused me to evaluate my areas of strength and events that I have room for growth in.
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
- Going to the gym regularly is an extremely unfamiliar activity to me, and my willingness to undertake it with a positive attitude and a learning mindset regardless clearly demonstrates that I have undertaken new challenges and that I am developing new skills in the process.
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
- The very basis of my creativity goal is that I will be able to initiate and effectively plan a CAS experience every week.
- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
- In my final year of the diploma program, the level of physical activity and commitment to athletics while maintaining high quality and intense focus on academics clearly demonstrates perseverance.