Fixed and Growth Mindset

The difference between fixed and growth mindset is in the attitude. Do you question? Do you try to improve because you want to, or because you have to? Do you challenge yourself? Do you think about how you can work to be better? Is this linked to our emotions?

I have a larger fixed mindset for Math than I do for my other subjects. Why? Because I no longer enjoy the class as I did when I was younger, and because I am not as good as it as I once was. While I still complete the assigned works and listen to the lessons, I don’t put as much effort and concentration as I should. Even if I don’t let the grades slip completely, I let the frustration when I don’t understand things come up quicker than it would for other subjects.

I have a larger growth mindset for my other subjects, especially English and Psychology, because those subjects often grow with time. Writing essays and analyzing texts become much easier once you have done it over and over, and you develop a certain way of thinking that helps support you. You listen to the teachers comments on how to improve and you find yourself thinking deeper about the subject and about your own work.

For my sciences, Biology and Chemistry, I go with the understanding that even if the topic is not immediately clear, it will be. This is driven by the scientific and logic behind both subjects, strongly tied to facts and data. Even if you do not immediately understand, you can if you try. There is reasoning, unlike English, you do not need to come up with the answers yourself, merely know why the answer applies the way it does.

Growth mindset comes easier when I want it to. When I want to improve because I enjoy the idea of improving, because I’m driven by curiosity and passion.

CultuRama Introduction and Auditions

What I have found in the past as I’ve done clubs and service is that I find creativity the easiest of the three to complete. Despite not taking any of the fine arts, I still enjoy participating in creative clubs to continue being able to have creativity in my school life. While I have already picked a year long creative club to join, I thought that participating in CultuRama would be a really special event that would just happen to count for creativity and action again. As a new student, it was really surprising to me that the school participated so heavily in dance, and that one of the largest events was a massive showcase of student led dances. One of my favorite activities is dancing, so I immediately wanted to participate.

But I was scared. Everyone described it to me as a massive wonderful performance, but very intensive to prepare for and time consuming. Some of my friends were even able to show me some of the dances from the previous years, and they all looked very challenging, albeit beautiful. But I watched the audition videos and decided to take a leap and sign up for Egypt, a style completely opposite to my favored style, and one I hadn’t often seen before. Another friend who wanted to audition as well practiced with me, and we worked on the steps together. At the end, I think we both felt much more prepared than when we first started, and we waited for the audition day, anticipation mixed with dread.

There were approximately 30 to 40 girls auditioning for Egypt, and most of them also came well prepared, but the audition went well enough, and I finished it as best I could and waited.

I didn’t get it, but my friend who I practiced with did. While I was slightly disappointed, I was very excited to see her perform, she’s a wonderful dancer and I think she deserves the spot in the final selection. But by chance, several groups requested to have re-auditions, and I decided to try something new. I chose to try India Ghoomar, a complicated, intricate traditional dance from Rajasthan led by two of my friends, and one that I didn’t think I would be able to learn in time for the deadline, the next day. I spent a few hours trying to decide if I really wanted to audition again, but my friends prodded me ahead.

The next day, I went to the Ghoomar audition, along with less than 8 other girls, and learned the steps to audition with. Similarly to the first Egyptian audition, it went rather smoothly, and I wasn’t sure of the outcome. Exhausted as I was, I re-auditioned for Egypt. There were far less girls this time, and I knew the dance better. While I knew it better, the outcome didn’t change. I didn’t get in.

But I did get in to Ghoomar, and I was extremely surprised by it. Not only was I surprised, I was uncertain. I don’t know much about Indian culture, and my experiences with dance could clash. I didn’t want to make mistakes while surrounded by people who identify with being a part of this culture.

I’m scared of culture appropriation, but this isn’t. This is appreciation for art. And I’m glad to be a part of it.

Application of Personal and Social Education to IB Journey


Who am I? I am American and Indonesian, a girl, identifiable as small, with dark features and long hair. A ballet dancer, a singer (but not alone), a reader, an academic, a person who looks to be the appearance of stable. And this is how others will see me, by my face, by my voice, by my actions and hobbies, by my academics and my brain, by my style of living and interactions with others. I might be described as nice, but not in the normal way, a person who looks out for their friends, good at presenting and good at getting good grades. They’ll describe me as a listener, but also someone who can be negative. Or maybe they won’t. 

Perhaps while this is me, this is not the full me. My friends will see more than others, but they still are not with me when I am alone with myself. You wouldn’t know my beliefs from my appearance, my habits at home, my internal thoughts and feelings, how I see people, or how I feel about myself. Maybe you wouldn’t guess that I ran a feminist club after only a year of being in it, that I’ve participated in choir trips in Europe, that I’ve lived in a lot of countries, that I am more than my appearance. 

Personality types

  1. Adjustment
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Conscientiousness
  4. Ambiguity/Acceptance
  5. Curiosity
  6. Risk Approach

I ranked these in the order I feel applies to me, which might be somewhat clear based upon identity, but might not always add up.

I’ve moved a few times, so I feel that adjustment and acceptance are important to living in different communities, and to deal with change. Resisting the change doesn’t really get you anywhere after awhile, even if it does at the beginning. I find that my curiosity in life and in school has varied over the years, and perhaps I was much more curious when I was younger. Or, I was more curious when I was younger, but I’m not sure why. This is next to the Risk Approach, because in the IB learner profile, I have always been weak at taking risks. Because I don’t like to, and because of fear. The fear of failure, or danger, or injury. Even if injury shows itself as discomfort, an injury is present.

Emotional Intelligence

If I were to pick the three emotional intelligence factors that I feel apply most to who I am, it would be the following three.

  • You have a robust emotional vocabulary
  • You embrace change
  • You know your strengths and weaknesses


I do know my strengths and weaknesses very well, even if I choose to not share what they are at all time. I don’t like to hold my strengths above others, nor do I like to display my weaknesses when I am not with people that I trust. But I know how I will react or work in different situations based upon how I know myself, and I often will know why I feel a certain way, wether or not I share it. One of my strengths is that I know a wide range of emotional vocabulary, but this does not mean I alway use it. I do understand why I (and sometimes others) will feel or react a certain way, and I can often describe the emotions. I do embrace change when it comes, but I do not actively seek it. I understand that things will not remain as they once were, and that if something has already begun to change, you ought to let it do so.



The main thing I can think of for grit, was my completion of the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and how much I both hated and loved the adventurous journeys. I don’t like taking risks, and these journeys were the epitome of risk. I was injured for them all. I injured my ankle when I was younger through gymnastics, and while there was improvement, the muscle area never fully healed. With carrying the weight of the backpacking equipments for 3 to 5 days (Between Bronze and Silver), it became much more strenuous for my ankle than normal exercise would. I couldn’t just leave my team, as I would forfeit the award for myself, but possibly them as well. Bronze was quite painful as I packed poorly, carrying alot of weight from food and extra clothing which I learned to cut out. Silver practice was hard though, because the day before we left, I injured the ankle in PE. It took a lot to get through the three days of walking, not only for me, but for my team as well. The last day was the worst of all, as my team had to physically support me to the end. They told me I couldn’t do it, but I did. A fact I liked to remind them of when we were alone in Scotland for the Silver final. But god, it was hard.

How do these connect and apply to my personal IB journey?

Everyone says the Diploma Programme is one of the most intensive academic programmes around the world, made harder by the sheer quantity of work and the inclusion of Creativity, Action, and Service. And it is. The International Baccalaureate is a hard programme, but if many people are able to graduate with their diplomas, it shouldn’t be impossible. We hold it up to its difficult status, but it’ll always be difficult if we let it. There is no reason to let the difficult aspects completely overshadow what the IB aims to achieve, and through the application of the knowledge we have gained in Personal and Social Education, the journey should be made different. Not necessarily easier, but different aspects can be completed in different ways, as each person has a journey that is tailored to them. Who you are is what you want, where you will go, and how you will achieve it. Perhaps I’ll find parts of my journey to be clearer than others find, but I will encounter difficulty where they thrive. Understanding yourself will only help you to find the clearer paths to get to the end.

Support and Friendship with Riding with the Disabled (RDA) – First Experience

In 11th grade, and the first year of the IB Diploma Programme, each student choses a Local Service to participate in for the school year. Participating in Local Service allows the student to experience direct service, wherein the student would work directly with people, animals, or the environment to support a goal.

When looking at the options for Local Service, one that really stood out to me was one under the name “Support and Friendship with Riding with the Disabled (RDA)”, and I knew from the moment that I finished reading the description, that I really wanted to be a part of this service. I’ve done recreational horse riding in two countries for the past seven or so years, and I love being around horses. To me, and opportunity to share that excitement with others who may not have the same opportunities seemed perfect. I decided then that I really wanted to work with horses in order to help provide therapy and support to the disabled community in Singapore. Animal therapy is shown to have many positive effects on the body and mind, and horse therapy is one of the most dynamic. The movement of the horse helps loosen muscle tension and stabilize the core, promoting strength all around the body, especially good for children or adults who are rely on crutches or wheelchairs for support. I wanted to able to share my love for horses with others, the way that horse riding is good for the mind, and adapt that to how others could use it to be good for their body as well. I also went to the Riding for the Disabled Association website to read more about what the organization believes in and what they try to achieve. The organization is completely non-profit, the riders who come do not have to pay for their sessions, and the organization relies heavily on donations and charity events in order to support the stable and sessions.

On Friday the 14th of September, I travelled with the other members of my service group to the RDA stable, which is located between the Singapore Polo Club and the National Equestrian Centre. There, we met some other volunteers along with one of the instructors, who guided us through our first time, including the the checklist that we needed to complete and the forms for each rider. I think that one of the small goals that we completed as a group was gaining some understanding of the processes that we will go through weekly, and understanding the style of the stable. Each rider has three supporting people: one to lead the horse and two on either side to physically support and help guide the rider through different exercises.

From riding, I already knowhow to interact and be around horses in a safe manner, additionally I have previously done an activity where I helped beginners to prepare and guide the horse once they were seated. Therefore, I would stay that I am quite comfortable with my ability to be near a horse and also be able to help people who are new to being around horses. This will be one of my strengths that I start off with, although I know I will develop other strengths along the way.

As excited as I was to do this service, I also have a healthy dose of fear (or caution). Although horses can be very gentle animals, especially when trained to be a part of therapy, I still understand that there can be things outside of our control that can alarm, scare, or injure a horse, and that this could be very dangerous to the rider and to those of us in the arena. The member of my group who was leading the horse mentioned at the beginning that our particular pony could be slightly temperamental depending on different factors. This is more of a mental challenge than a physical one for me: to understand the difference between caution and fear. I didn’t know either of the two people that I was working with, as they were not part of UWC, however, they did have previous experience which I feel was important for my first time.

This activity is fairly new to me, not because of the fact that I have to be next to a horse walking, but because of the riders we work with. Although I am not unfamiliar to different physical or mental disabilities that members of all communities face, I don’t find myself working with them very often. The rider that I was working with was quite young, just 7 years old, and has Down Syndrome. There is the combination of age along with condition to work with, and boundaries, because I’m not sure what sort of relationship I am allowed to have with the riders.

I enjoyed myself, the young rider I was working with was extremely excited to be on a horse, and couldn’t wait to tell their mother at the end of the session. They did really well with the different activities, responding with the according action and having short conversations with me and my partner. It was a fun session working with her, and I hope to do so again next week.