Memoirs of a Pioneer Generation (Writing our Article and Building Friendships)

CAS, Service Learning

LO2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process

This season, I faced a significant challenge in the form of a language barrier. The woman I was interacting with, Yapiang Aunty, could only speak mandarin. Initially, I thought I could overcome the barrier by engaging in drawing activities or card activities with her. However, instructions were also hard to explain and I could find out anything meaningful about her life. Ultimately, I convinced one of my friends, Karen, to help me translate. This was a more effective long-term solution and we ended up shaping a powerful story of aunty’s fierce independence throughout her life. Despite finding a translator in the end, I learnt that there are ways of overcoming a language barrier without one. Miming and acting were my best friends in this process. I realised that persistence, resilience, and patience were also key during the season.

By the end of the season, we were able to write an article about Aunty, which I consider to be a measure of my success in overcoming my challenges.

I was able to work on a range of skills, especially my communication abilities and collaboration. I learnt to become more patient, open, and clear when trying to express my thoughts, because I didn’t want anything to get lost in translation. I am also quite introverted, so this service was a great opportunity for me to push myself out of my comfort zone and work on my collaboration.

EE Writing Day Reflection

Researcher's Reflection Space

I spent the majority of today working on my experiment and gathering my preliminary data. One thing that I learnt was that it is crucial to be flexible with experimental design. I seriously underestimated how long it would take to gather meaningful data. I ended up spending a majority of my time improving elements of my design (such as the audio analysing software I used, the range of notes I was testing on, and the settings on the microphone). However I’m still proud of the progress I made today. I managed to gather data for three notes across my chosen range. This data was consistent across all the trials I did and comparable to the results I found in other research papers. It was honestly such a relief to see my experiment working after all the things I had to modify and change. I was really proud of the way I kept working through every problem I encountered.

Next, I’m planning on analysing my data and graphing it. I want to see if it matches my predicted theory.

 

Reflective Conversation 1

Researcher's Reflection Space

For my EE, I knew I wanted to integrate my love for playing the piano with my interest in physics. I narrowed down my research by watching videos on MinutePhysics and ultimately chose to investigate the effect of tension on piano string inharmonicity. To further my understanding, I also read a few research papers about the topic.

 

During the research phase, I encountered two challenges. The first was the complexity of inharmonicity’s theory. I lacked the mathematical knowledge to understand it, which was why I asked my mom to explain differential equations and fourier transform to me. My experimental design wasn’t successful either. I had to suspend my piano string under enough tension to hear audible frequencies when it was strung. However this failed even after using gym weights, and I realised I had to take a different approach. Now I need to contact my school’s music department to ask whether experimenting on a real piano would be a possibility.

STEM Club: Individual Projects

CAS

LO3: Planning and initiating activities

LO7: Considering the ethical implications of actions

Over the past two seasons, our club transitioned from a discussion based format onto a project-based one. The other leaders and I introduced an individual project which would allow each member of the club to explore a chosen field of stem in the context of society, economy, or policy. We would then publish their projects (coming in a variety of forms like videos, reports, infographics) on our own website. Like last season, the other leaders and I had planned a timeline for our initiated activities and made sure to give a clear overview to the other members of what we were looking for. We were going to check on progress by giving feedback on first drafts of the projects. However, this was a major hurdle we faced. A majority of the group did not stick to the given timeline and we had to end up extending many deadlines. Under normal circumstances, we would have reprimanded the club a bit more, but we made a conscious choice to let everyone have more time because we realised that everyone was under a lot of pressure. We decided not to make people more stressed, but we did set a final deadline which was still realistic.

There was a significant ethical challenge that I faced as well. As the leader of the club, there are certain responsibilities that I need to take care of. However a lot of the time, this comes with the challenge of balancing what my friends want. A few of the members of the club are some of my closest friends. At times, they ask if I can bend the rules (e.g. extend deadlines or help them edit early) for them because I’m their friend. As a friend, I would have loved to do that. But as one of the organisers, I know this would give them an unfair disadvantage. Although I knew it would be an awkward choice to outright tell them I couldn’t help them, I decided to anyway because I knew the principles I needed to uphold.

 

SEAMC: Action + Demonstration

CAS

LO3: Planning and initiating activities

LO5: Working together to achieve an outcome

LO7: Ethics

Planning and running SEAMC was one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever done. This year, our organisational committee was faced with the challenge of preparing students for the competition while also partaking in the logistical aspect of hosting. I can confidently say that the outcome of our efficient and targeted planning was a success, especially in regards to how our school’s team performed. We were able to take home many medals and placed 2nd overall, which was an unprecedented feat in UWC’s history.

A major challenge that my fellow planners and I faced was during the week of the competition however. We were given the task of opening the competition with an hour long presentation as well as providing help with running the different rounds. We were only given a week’s notice for this and without our effective communication and organisation, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. This was also a personal challenge for me, because I absolutely dread public speaking. I grew into a more confident and self-assured person after presenting to over 300 people and helping them throughout the weekend. It was a great experience of personal growth.

It was thanks to the fellow organisers, teachers, and staff that we were also able to execute this event successfully. We obviously faced challenges with logistics, timings, delivering questions, and the results, but it was ultimately through the support of everyone that we were able to overcome them. For instance, Joanna (another organiser) and I faced the problem of having a lot of volunteers drop out on the last day, so we had to divide the work between ourselves to get everything done instead. It was challenging, but worth it.

Something interesting that we also had to address was an important ethical dilemma. As the organisers of the competition, we had access to everyone’s tests, results, and the questions in the rounds. But we had to be incredibly responsible about maintaining their secrecy. It was an interesting for me to experience such an unfamiliar responsibility, because normally this sort of stuff is taken care of by teachers or other adults. I think it was an important lesson for us to learn for the future; we now knew the etiquette and the trust that comes with leadership.

SEAMC Highlight Reel

Yoga: Final Reflection

CAS, Uncategorized

LO4: Showing perseverance, resilience, and commitment to activities

I participated in yoga for two seasons and I can say with confidence that my fitness level improved. Since I am asthmatic, it was very important that I stayed committed to this activity. I was able to demonstrate this resilience and commitment by attending the weekly sessions, challenging myself with harder poses, and practicing yoga at home with my mom. Maintaining motivation for me was easy because of the wonderfully supportive community during the sessions. Additionally, I knew I was doing the activity to improve my health, which helped me to keep working hard. Although at times it was challenging, especially going on a Monday afternoon (during which I just wanted to go home and sleep), the positive outcomes from the activity outweighed any arguments I had. Every Monday, I saw myself going home relaxed and calm, ready to work.

Kahaani: Final Rehearsals + Performance (Demonstration)

CAS

LO5: Working together to achieve an outcome

LO4: Showing perseverance, resilience, and commitment in activities

Kahaani Full Dress Rehearsal

This phase of Kahaani, I feel, is the most important. I saw this as the time as our group showed the most development and growth. It was remarkable how we went from being sloppy and uncoordinated to one of the most in-sync and energetic performances in the show. I think there were so many important factors that shaped this process. The first was definitely our collaboration as a group. We initially faced a lot of challenges (which were expected of a dance show), but it was our ability to put aside our differences and continuously make time for extra practice which was what helped us overcome them. Everyone’s enthusiasm and commitment throughout the process only further motivated me to stay committed to the process. Their supportive attitudes were also key in making me more resilient when I failed. I would say that this collaboration was crucial in shaping our performance to what it was on the day of the show. I think this experience was spectacular and completely worth it, despite all of the time I had to dedicate to it. This time commitment only helped me manage my time and balance my school work with activities better. I would not have traded this experience for the world.

Kahaani: Initial Rehearsals (Action)

CAS, Uncategorized

This year, we performed dances which symbolised the progression of a blind man’s life in order to raise awareness for Voice of the World (Kolkata GC). I was placed in the dance which represented the part of his life where he fell in love.

The initial rehearsals were probably the most challenging for me. There were probably two major hurdles that I worked to overcome.

Learning the dance: I hadn’t danced in probably a year, and getting back into intense Bollywood choreography was quite a challenge for me. It took a lot of practicing outside of our group sessions as well as attending extra practice for me to become comfortable with the dance.

Coordinating with the other members: The fact that I had my friends in my dance really helped motivate me and build resilience. They were an important support system for me. However, coordinating with them in the dance was a completely different story. Since this was a new environment in which we were collaborating, we had to develop different strategies to effectively communicate.

Naturally, our initial rehearsals were not perfect. Our group’s most significant weakness was that we kept forgetting choreography. We definitely had to make the most out of our allotted rehearsal times during this phase of the preparation of the show.