Now that G11 is coming to an end, we’re starting to wrap things up and preparing for the future. We still held the same responsibility of being in charge of the grade and helping our community. It was still fun talking to my classmates about issues in our school and what affects our grade. There was a lot of debate and conversation required to enhance our understanding as well as reach conclusions. I enjoy partaking in such collaborative activities because it’s a good mixture of socializing with work because we’re getting work done through socializing, which is something I believe is the best of both worlds. This activity helps us work towards solutions through collaboration, so we get work done and along the way there are many jokes and fun, which help in socializing.
Project week was the first time that I have gone outside Singapore without any supervision whatsoever. Just us four friends. We decided to go to Phnom Penh where we worked with the GC I contribute to at school, Green Umbrella. We stayed at the school for 3 days where we worked on multiple projects: surveys regarding the plastic press, solar energy initiative, and the library, all of which we are working on at school. We also conducted a leadership workshop that the head of Green Umbrella, Sokrath, asked us to do.
Admittedly, when we first reached the boarding house and saw the rooms, we were all pretty uncomfortable by the situation because of numerous, creepy insects. Despite that, we kept our goals in mind and went to Karuna Kumar School and helped teach children English. It was truly inspiring to see all these students there who are less privileged than we are yet they work so much harder to learn, and they were only in the fifth grade! I realized that a lot of the things that we have we take for granted and it is easy to look over important day to day things that we never notice. For example, on the first day, I realized the value of water and how important it is to have a clean, reliable source of water. I also learned to be adaptable to situations and prioritize goals over accommodation.
On the second day, I went around houses and asked a few questions regarding their energy supply and their waste disposal. Over here I saw first hand how the lack of education can affect society because these people were unaware of the damages that burning plastic has on the atmosphere yet they still burn waste plastic because they don’t know how else to dispose of it. Before coming to project week we assumed that the village had little to no electricity but when we reached there we learned that they actually have an ample supply of electricity, with enough energy to basic appliances. It was nice to see that the people there are making the best of their situation and making the best of their situation by using what they have to their advantage. They use their resources wisely and try their best to have no wastage because they know the value of what they get. From this, I learned that maybe I should do the same, try not to take things for granted and use what I have efficiently so that I don’t waste any of my resources.
On that same day, we conducted the first session of our workshop for the high school students and I never realized how big a language barrier can be when teaching someone something new. There were many people who didn’t understand the first few times we explained something and later on we had to go individually to some people to help them. In the end, their inspiring drive to improve their community persevered and they played their role in the workshop to learn what we had to teach.
We were soon on our way to the hotel to stay in the city for the last two days. On our way there we went to historic sites where we saw the tragic history of wars that occurred in Cambodia. It was pretty gruesome but there was this uplifting shrine where visitors put bracelets on the wooden stumps around the graves of the victims of violence. This hopeful gesture was something that was something that lifted the hope of humanity within me, knowing that we have learned from those horrific events and now we know now that compassion is much better than violence.
All in all, it was an enjoyable trip with many stories and fun adventures that brought upon many lessons. I think this experience has shown me how it is like to be completely independent and has given me confidence as well that I will be able to survive, and I won’t lose anything either (I was terrified that I was going to lose something but I’m so glad I didn’t). Project week has shown me that I am ready to be more independent and I can’t wait to utilize these experiences and learnings when I go to university
Unfortunately, I hadn’t done very well in the experiment because I hadn’t considered factors that later produced inconclusive data. Additionally, there were a few misconceptions in my introduction and background information in the essay itself, such as the double slit experiment actually differs to a double source experiment.
Looking ahead, my EE supervisor helped me find a simulator that will show a pattern for the type of system I am trying to model. I can compare my model to this simulation to understand what’s happening in the system. Also, considering that my data isn’t conclusive, I would need to retake my data for more reliable data.
I once again got to learn and develop my speaking skills in front of a large audience. This time I feel like there was a little more pressure because there were quite a few people I knew at the conference, so if I mess up these people would know. It could come back to me if I did poorly. Considering this is also a very big conference, I will have to give it my best. I wasn’t drafted at first but when I heard I got the part I was looking forward to being a part of this international conference. This was the first time that I was going to a conference in SAS (Singapore American School). Although it was a new environment, just being a part of the MUN conference made me feel like I’m still part of this community. Like all other MUN conferences, I enjoyed partaking in this one and took solace in the feeling that I contributed to the community by providing my perspective on the issue.
On the last day of our therapy sessions with the patients, I entered and left Apex Harmony Lodge with a heavy heart, wondering what would happen to Vincent (my assigned patient) in the future. Will he be assigned another person to listen to music with? Will that person treat him well? Will his nephew visit him again? Throughout my experience I learned a lot about respecting the elderly and being cheerful, even when there isn’t any response or the environment may seem dull.
Furthermore, I knew music was something that I could connect to and the music was a very personal thing I liked to engage in. Seeing how music impacted these patients, who are struggling to even recollect memories, showed me just how powerful music is. Regardless of age, language or even disease, everyone can enjoy music. I hope to use these learnings in the future when it comes to helping my family and being aware of how to help.
When we left, we were surprised with a certificate of appreciation and thank you quotes from some of the patients that nearly brought me to tears, (although I didn’t because there were people around).
I had decided along with my friend Akshat that we will be going to our GC for project week. We had collaborated with the rest of our GC every Tuesday to figure out what projects we will help out with when we go there. We had a few things planned out: understanding the plastic wastage there and how we can recycle it, the energy usage in the village so that we can help implement solar power and initiate the leadership workshops to help students take initiative and nudge them to help their community as well. Going to the school itself was a completely different experience, it’s nothing at all what I imagined it to be. I felt that the system there was so much more efficient than what I presumed it would be and the kids there were so motivated and engaged in classes. I also underestimated the energy requirements in the community because they had access to ample energy for daily usage. Switching to solar would just be a hassle for them. The person in charge, Sokrath, was very happy with our work there at the end. I learnt a lot about connecting with a new community and how being physically present is much different to seeing a situation from far away. We had to be extra careful of how we interact with the children there because we don’t want to hurt them in any way, so we had to be culturally and socially aware of what were doing there so that we did our duties and helped them at the same time.