It’s finally time. I’ve spent two years toiling for this moment, and despite the unforeseeable ups and downs (e.g. COVID), I’m nearly there. Over these two years, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a variety of service opportunities, creative activities, and sports whilst balancing my academics.
My CAS Blog, over 22 posts, sums up my experiences at the SGA, Advocate, learning various skills such as Photoshop, trying out various sports such as Track and Field, Volleyball, and attempts at various services such as Gecko Net, the Reefkeepers, and more recently Eco-schools, along with group events combining my prior skills such as the Zoomathon. In addition to looking back at all of my experiences, I want to use this post to reflect, with a focus on the CAS learning outcomes.
1. Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
I feel that this area has been addressed the most thoroughly over these two years. In particular, before the IB program, I wasn’t, particularly into fitness/athletics, and that had been an area for growth. Since then, I have participated in South Asian Inter-Scholastic Association (SAISA) Track and Field meet, along with various recreational sports such as volleyball and football. Even with the coronavirus, I’ve worked on this with various bodyweight exercises.
Similarly, I lacked leadership experience before and had one or two unregular creative activities. During CAS, I joined the SGA (Student Government Association), organizing various events such as the Oscars (Prom), Haunted House, Gecko Factor (Talent show). This was difficult in the second half of the year with COVID, but we are endeavoring to continue organizing events. In addition to this, I learned how to use photoshop, and apply those skills in the Advocate.
2. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
Most, if not all of my activities have some form of challenge, which requires the development of new skills. The challenge may be physical (e.g. endurance in Track and Field, hand-eye coordination in volleyball/football), which came with practice over time. It might have been logistical, due to working with a large group of people and having to get an agreement or finding a common time to meet. This developed my communication skills. It might also have been learning a new skill to achieve a certain task, for example, learning Photoshop and editing, along with website creation for the Advocate.
3. Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
I am interested in a multitude of activities, and that involves deliberately choosing and planning activities, and then figuring out how to start them. In particular, I kept CAS in mind to have a large variety of balanced activities. In retrospect, demonstrating my thought process (regarding choosing and starting an activity) more in prior posts would have been ideal. Nonetheless, the breadth of the activities I’ve done over the two years, and the dedication I’ve shown to them shows that I can initiate and plan a CAS experience. This is particularly noticeable in the Zoomathon, my CAS project. In short, I and my peers fundraised to donate to the UNICEF, helping with the COVID crisis in Sri Lanka. This fundraiser was particularly difficult due to it being organized during the pandemic as well.
4. Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
The IBDP is a rigorous program, and such has a large number of requirements for coursework, such as the various internal assessments (IAs). Thus, it is often difficult to find the motivation to continue partaking in all the activities, due to the stress and sheer time it all takes. Nonetheless, I continued to persevere and have attended almost all sessions of my various activities such as the SGA, Reefkeepers, Eco school, the Advocate, SAISA Track, and so forth. This is because I understand the importance of these activities, along with the fact that I greatly enjoy them as well.
5. Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
Collaborative work has been an integral part of most of my activities. In all of those activities, there are a large variety of responsibilities that need to be handled, and it is simply too much for one person (e.g. in the SGA). Similarly, taking into account the input of other people often leads to a more nuanced and thus better result (e.g. when designing for the Advocate). Therefore, working collaboratively, and communicating effectively have been crucial over my DP years. This skill of communication and collaborative work will undoubtedly help in the future as well.
6. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
Being aware of global issues, and working towards addressing them is crucial, and arguably the backbone of our society. During my two years, I’ve recognized the importance of the environment, and as such have worked in both the Reefkeepers (helping with the local environment and beaches) and Ecoschools (working towards making OSC an environmentally friendly school). I truly feel as if I have made a difference.
In addition to the above, I have also engaged with an issue of global significance in my CAS Project. In particular, I worked on helping reduce the impact of the coronavirus in Sri Lanka, which has had devastating impacts on the economy and the lives of people. The CAS project raised awareness on what people could do to help and simultaneously served as a fundraiser.
7. Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
Ethics is something all of us inadvertently consider throughout all of our choices. Throughout my CAS blogs, I’ve ensured that I am not doing unethical or causing any harm to anyone, and instead am actively helping. This, in particular, can be seen in my service posts. Nonetheless, actively thinking about ethics is insightful, especially in the context of global issues (e.g. coronavirus and environmental issues). This is because these issues have a variety of stakeholders, with differing opinions, and as some people gain from certain decisions, others lose.
Endeavoring to ensure that we don’t actively harm anyone, and aid others when possible should be the basis of our decisions. It’s extremely difficult to dedicate your entire life to bettering others, but being conscious in daily life is also a step that would be immensely beneficial for everyone in society.
Seeing as I was able to address all of the learning outcomes in a holistic way is extremely satisfying, as it is indicative of the fact that my activities during my two years were all beneficial in one way or another. Balancing these activities with coursework has been tough but rewarding, and I am more aware of the importance of having such a wide variety of activities. In the future, in whichever university I go to (still waiting for some decisions!), I will continue to engage in a large variety of activities!