Although I was initially unsure of what topic to choose, after brainstorming my interests I decided to focus on the novel, The Poisonwood Bible. This choice was stemmed from my interest in colonialism – which I had learnt about in my history class – therefore I believed it was a topic that would sustain my engagement and enjoyment throughout the EE process. My first obstacle was to carefully read through the book as I had realised little progress or further decision making could commence since my understanding of the novel was quite little. I was then interested in possibly comparing the novels The Poisonwood Bible and The Heart of Darkness and analysing their contrasting angles on colonialism in the Congo. My supervisor suggested that I read some external sources of postcolonial literary theory so I could become more comfortable with the specific jargon used, advance my vocabulary and cultivate new ideas.

After discussing with my supervisor, I decided that focusing on the portrayal of disability in The Poisonwood Bible would provide me with a more manageable scope, as well as an engaging topic. Using textbooks, journals and online academic papers, I then sourced research on disability studies done by professors and authors. Though it was initially overwhelming, the theories I found and applied greatly strengthened the claims I had derived from my novel. Because of my great intrigue, I would often write off tangent, straying away from the focus of my paper. My supervisor advised me to minimise this habit by prioritising information whilst referring back to my plan. Furthermore, she suggested I embed more literary context in the first few paragraphs as it had been overpowered by narrative analysis.

During the revision stage, I focused on structuring my writing to better guide the reader through a logical and congruent progression of my thinking. I did this by adding more context in my introduction and the character’s background information before beginning any analysis, to ensure the direction and purpose of the essay was clear. My research and secondary reading largely improved my language and allowed me to focus on the topic of disability beyond the specifics of my particular novel. The concepts I gathered, such as the idea of normalcy, heightened my analysis as I linked my findings to larger cultural paradigms and conventional discourse. I believe that this EE was much more than an academic exercise. The ideas of differently-abled representation and the need for conformity under rigid frameworks of identity are ideas that are still critical in our current day discussions for fairer and more equal societies. Though my essay was anchored in literature, it was critical for me to express how differently abled people should not solely be vehicles for our motifs, symbols or artistic performances. They are individuals deserving of their own narratives. Although the multiplicity of issues that disability studies are often connected to were too vast to include in my essay, I hope I can investigate those intersectional areas more in the future.


The SEASAC Championship tournament has always been the highlight of the volleyball season, and this year’s SEASAC was no exception. Our Dragon’s girls volleyball team was incredibly excited to face the annual SEASAC competitors after a few months worth of intense training and development. The rigour and tenacity that has developed within every team member was invigorating to watch. As captains, we are not only very proud of the development of skills that each player has showcased this year but also the team’s great amounts of commitment to the sport of volleyball. 

Over the course of the tournament, everyone was pushed both physically and mentally to perform the best we possibly could. However, it was our team spirit and constant communication that helped us through our tough games. At its core, volleyball is a mental battle, a battle which may sometimes be lost or won based on a team’s grit and mentality. That mental strength was definitely demonstrated this weekend by everyone’s enthusiasm and determination to play our best. It was an incredible asset to witness: if ever someone was distressed over the mistakes they were making, the rest of the team was there to pick them back up and reignite the energy on court.

Although our final placing wasn’t exactly what we had hoped, we were all exceptionally proud of our growth throughout the season, the way we stepped up to the challenges we faced and played our best throughout SEASAC.

– From Sophie and Anna 








The Memory Project is an organisation that works with high school students to create portraits for children around the world in order to cultivate global kindness. Since 2004, the organisation has delivered more than 160,000 portraits to children in more than 55 different nations. Each child receiving a portrait has a different backstory. Some from refugee camps, some in severe poverty, these children could really benefit from being shown that people care about their wellbeing. The name Memory Project is derived from the vision of the organisation to create special childhood memories for the children to look back at in the future. 

The entire process is quite a simple one. Pictures of the children from different charities get sent to different high schools around the world. Students create one-of-a-kind portraits with assistance from their teachers. These portraits are then sent back to the organisation which delivers them to the appropriate charities.


The memory project was a really fulfilling experience and I was very happy to take part in painting the portraits for the kids. It was a great way to connect with not only the Pakistani culture but also the children and the art community. Throughout this activity I developed my art skills further but at the same time, I was able to understand a deeper connection of how art brings people from all over the world together. I really enjoyed painting the portrait for the girl I was painting because I realised that through the process, I got to build a special bond with a child without ever meeting her. The process of painting this little girl whom I’ve never seen in real life, made me find out tiny details that I wouldn’t even realise about people I see all the time.



#LO2 Working again with the theatre department and students reminded me exactly why I continue to try out and participate in productions. The long hours of commitment towards the creation, polishing and fixing of scenes seemed incredibly daunting to me as I considered the rest of the workload I had especially in season 1. Surprisingly the commitment to the production and my other activities has helped me develop my time management and work efficiency, as my time for procrastination has been squashed.

I am extremely grateful to have the experience of being apart of this cohort’s last production as well as the opportunity to develop my performance skills and confidence. It was a thrilling and entertaining experience to work with and be surrounded by such creative individuals that inspired and motivated my own creative process.

#LO6 During our stages of research and development it became increasingly clear to me that this production had a serious nature and an air of gravitas that other productions may not offered. Even though BTBF is joyous and funny at times, there’s no doubt that a dense layer of despair and helplessness underpin many of the characters lives. I personally believe that this production transcends the confines of the black box theatre or the drama room: though in my perspective it’s simply a performance, for millions of other individuals it is the narrative of their livelihoods. I hope this production will instil as much change and thought as it has in me and the rest of the crew.


Activity: Volleyball Season 2019

In my fourth and final year of being a member of the Volleyball team, feelings of gratitude and nostalgia have visited me often as I think about how far I have progressed since I first tried out in grade 9. The annual Volleyball season has always been the most stressful sports season due to the overlapping of work and other activities. Nonetheless, it is the season where I feel most rewarded for the efforts and determination I employ.

This year I was given the opportunity to hold a place of leadership. I’ve learnt that being a captain or having a position of leadership within a team does not only mean setting a good example and holding up my part as a player, but also that I consistently remain aware of the group and our spirits. To its core, volleyball is an extremely mental game and can be won or lost based on a teams grit and mentality.

Grand Paradigms

Completely contrasting the classical paradigm which described a clear purpose of life and placed god (or gods at the top of  the hierarchy of importance and power. The postmodern paradigm removes the connections to god and fate from our perception of the world. The uncertainty and ambiguity that are the basis of the thinking of this paradigm is simultaneously freeing and horrifically daunting: for many, the idea that their life is not predetermined or constantly judged by a greater force is liberating, to others, amputating the idea that we all hold divine duty within the bigger picture makes them feel lost. The postmodern paradigm rejects the idea that we are capable of producing objective knowledge. It is interesting to contemplate when, or why the postmodern paradigm will begin to collapse, and some suggest it’s already in the process of. The term coined a ‘fake news’ highlights a major issue currently experienced worldwide: with such a large flow in of information, we often cannot determine what is true and what is not. With such a large outpour of incorrect information it is not uncommon for people’s conclusions to be made of incorrect premise. To make matters worse, we have become aware of the increase in fake news leaving us sometimes in situations of radical uncertainty. In these instances where our theories and personal experiences cannot even guide us (as we don’t know which fact or alternative fact to believe or not believe), we do nothing. A clear example of this phenomenon is the climate change crisis, where many don’t know what to do or who to believe, so they make no change.

CU: Paradigms

#1 CU: The ability to identify and understand multiple paradigms, does not challenge the paradigm we hold if it doesn’t align with our individual values, or call for reason.  

At the end of last year’s softball season, the team was informed that we would be retracting our participation from the annual SEASAC event as it was hosted at an international school in Yangon, Myanmar. The country, packed with a myriad of different ethnic groups, has been under international attention since late 2017 for the ongoing atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority group through the local military’s large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing. The climate in Myanmar opened up discussion and debate within the College over whether it was appropriate for staff, students and supporting parents to visit Myanmar. Looking back at the situation, I am able to highlight certain paradigms that arose. The values that outline the culture and attitudes of the UWC movement were interpreted various ways, lending itself as closely to remaining engaged as it does to standing up against atrocity. In short, there was not one standing definition as what was the ‘correct’ thing to do.The first is a very egocentric paradigm which showcased a sense of close mindedness towards the other perspectives simply because their own desires were jeopardized. This paradigm was concerned with the short term, individual consequences and believed that participating in the trip would not affect or help the Rohingya crisis diminish. The individual’s background and cultural upbringing may have influenced them to develop a paradigm which reasoned for personal gain over communal or societal gain. Personally I interpreted this paradigm as saying “no matter what we do our actions won’t make a difference to the greater issue.” The second Paradigm held was one that believed to see change we must set the example, and was more of a utilitarian perspective (the desire to withhold from travelling to Myanmar was the more favourable perspective within the international UWC community). Individuals with this second paradigm were still able to understand and empathise with those who held the first, but were not challenged to switch paradigms as the basis of which that paradigm was justified on was not aligned to what they valued. 

#2 CU: Not all paradigms are equally valid, as it a paradigm requires logical consistency even when challenged with new arguments. 

Reflective Statement 2

As I gathered an abundance of literary journals and academic papers, I found it overwhelming and time consuming to filter out and pick information I would specifically use in my writing. I used textbooks, journals and online academic papers to source research done by professors and authors. The expert opinions and perspectives I applied, strengthened the claims I made in my writing. As disability studies deeply interested me, I often caught myself writing off tangent and straying away from the focus of my paper, thus my supervisor advised me to minimise this habit by prioritising information and referring back to my plan of the structure of my essay. My supervisor thinks I must embed more research and context in my first few paragraphs where it has been overpowered by analysis. This is to ensure the purpose of my essay is clear and understood from the beginning.

Conceptual Understanding on Perception

Selective Attention my alters different people’s truths, though they’re observing the same experience. 

Selective attention is the cognitive process of focusing on a particular object in the environment for a certain period of time, whilst ignoring the other inputs that our brain deems unimportant in the same immediate environment. Attention is a limited resource and our as humans we biologically cannot process all the information around us at all the time, so selective attention allows us to tune out unimportant details and focus on what matters. This influences our ability to perceive the world accurately as it means we will often miss out on information that we may specifically be looking out for. But once we are told what to look for and expect, we subconsciously erase all that does not fit. This theory can be seen when we did the famous Harvard study, where we were instructed to count the number of balls thrown by a certain group – white or black. As we are so focused on counting the number of passes, many participants simply miss the gorilla that enters the scene, or the fact that the curtains change colour. This pushes us to question how if our  truths that we construct through our senses are fully accurate, did we miss something part of the bigger picture? When people devote their attention to a particular object or factor, the unexpected tends to go unnoticed even when those unexpected objects are potentially important, most noticeable or right in front of them. Because subconsciously we all individually choose what we believes is important to remember, it sometimes leads us to garnering different variations of reality where some people ‘saw more’ than others. 


The human brain’s need of sense-making subconsciously organises our observations to optimize our survival, hence making certainty challenging to attain. 

The human brain has evolved to become particularly skilled at sense-making: creating patterns out of our observations, finding human faces from inanimate objects, allocating persona’s to moving dots based on their speed and distance from each other. These few examples highlight the shortcut that our subconscious mind often takes, its ability to sense make allows us to learn and absorb information easier, though possibly warping the truth in the process. When Mr.Alchin showed the dots moving on screen, our perception of the persona created from these dots changed alongside the speed and distance the dots vibrated – the audience recognised both a female walking and a male walking simply through the alteration of the dots movement. But nonetheless, though our brain perceived the dots as walking figgures, the truth stands that they were merely dots, but our pre-existing notions of what male and female’s walk like, allowed us to extrapolate a false truth. This leads us to question, what particular types of knowledge, or areas of knowledge are most affected by the potential flaws presented in perception. Areas of Knowledge such as science and history, where knowledge is (either heavily or partially) created through people’s perception of events. It can argue that as they are greatly based on perception they can only operate within the idea of Plato’s cave, where our senses only provide us with an obscured reality, a reality constructed in our own brains, shadows on the cave wall. Only when reason to operate on the perceptions, we can get glimpses of the noumenal. When looking through this lens, then we can also assume that Maths is one of the areas of knowledge that operates within a noumenal space. This is because the methods of obtaining knowledge does not rely on perception and senses, but instead blossom off of pre-existing axioms.