Final Reflection (Viva Voce)

After submitting the EE and through discussion with my supervisor, I have a few key learnings from the process. While conducting primary research, I learnt the importance of entering interviews with an open mind. I had to be very careful about asking leading questions and learnt how to evaluate the responses that interviewees gave me in a meaningful manner that could contribute to the overall conclusion of my essay. Furthermore, I understood the importance of not only considering the economic and political, but also cultural and social ramifications in the hiring process from a HR perspective. There is a very fine line between balancing the efficiency targets of the company and sufficing the public’s demands when it comes to hiring. Singapore has been especially interesting to study in this regard because, on one hand they opt for a free market to allow productivity, however everything is under tight speculation to match the needs of the local population.

Positivity and Happiness

One of my biggest takeaways from this unit was understanding how happiness can not be seen as a destination we strive to achieve but a constant state of being in which we enjoy the journey. I have also had the mindset that if I finish ‘x’ number of things, then I will be happy. But I realised I need to enjoy the process more. One technique that worked really well for me, was going down and using the circus equipment. I understood that when I am stressed I like to stay active and distracted, rather than sitting down on my phone – ‘resting’. While I don’t think there was a noticeable difference in my stress levels throughout the unit, I do think that I have gained very important skills on how to handle my stress, including gratitude and being thankful to others to improve my own spirits.

Reflective Conversation #2

After submitting my first draft, I was able to understand how economic analysis of a market, in combination with psychology research can help to understand the role of social attitudes in an economic situation, in my case – the labour market. My research was successful in coming to a conclusion, however I found that only part of my hypothesis was true. After unpacking my conclusions and seeing how my findings could be broken up into smaller segments, it really helped me understand the importance of approaching my topic from different disciples as it brings in more factors and variables to come to a more cohesive conclusion. After considering my findings, I view the labour market as a much more complex situation. It is no longer something that can simply be represented by an economics diagram, because people themselves cannot be rationalised and therefore using one subject to unpack my research question is not ideal.

Action Stage: The Trip

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

LO6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance

LO7: Recognise and consider the ethics of choices and actions

Project week has definitely been one of the most enriching experiences, not only in my high school career, but my whole life. Although the planning and investigation stages helped me develop my collaboration and organisation skills, I think that my biggest learnings took place in the action stage of the trip. As a whole, the trip ran very smoothly and it taught me the importance of going the extra mile of planning before. Everything was set up for us when we reached, from airport pick up, to the hotel people knowing exactly who we were the moment we stepped in the door, just through good communication prior to our arrival.

However, we did have one big problem in the trip. On out first day at blue dragon, Kylie had left her bag unattended, but on a table the staff at blue dragon said was safe, and all of her cash was taken out of her wallet. Later, after looking at CCTV footage, we realised it was one of the blue dragon kids that we had even talked to during the day. More than the practical aspect of losing all of Kylie’s money, this took a big toll on the morale of the group, as suddenly there was a breach of trust between the kids we were working with and us. After talking to my parents that night, I realised that it was very important to keep the spirit of the group up. It is often much easier for one person’s negative energy to dragon dow four other people than vice versa and I realised that we all had to be strong and work together to stay distracted and engaged. The next couple days at Blue Dragon were not as productive as we could have imagine, but definitely by the last day everyone was in good spirits and we had a lot of fun and made some great connections.

This lead me to one of my biggest learnings from the trip. Often we think that we are bordered up in our own little bubble of Singapore and we think that these kids would be so different to us. I learnt, however, that we have so much more in common with these kids than I would have ever imagined. Sometimes we would just be seeing together in the drop in center and the kids would go on youtube and watch the same videos that I watch sitting here in Singapore. I was even able to connect with some of the older kids on social media and realise how similar yet different our lives can be. This really made me more aware of the physical countries boarders do not actually prohibit connection being formed. 

Lastly, while working with Blue Dragon, it was amazing to see that even with such difficult lives, the children can have such positive attitudes. We visited some of the areas where a lot of the children were found and it was astounding to see the way some of the kids turned their lives around. Also I noticed that sometimes, we felt most productive when there was no agenda. These were the times that I made the best connections and this made the trip much more meaningful (and a lot less ‘voluntourism’) Whether this was just sitting with a kid and making rainbow looms in the drop in center for half an hour or walking around the lake in hanoi city, there were the most special moments that helped me really appreciate the opportunity I had been given and the city I was in. 

 

CAS Intermediate Interviews

After my Intermediate Interview for CAS this term I made one very big connection with all of my activities which is a skill I have developed over the last year. During my initial CAS conversation I discussed that one of my biggest weaknesses was collaboration as I had always felt that I needed to be in full control and did not trust other people to do work with them. After battling this weakness throughout the year, I began to trust the people that I was working with, not only in actives but also in the classroom. Additionally, I found that in order to use my personal organisation and discipline (which I originally viewed as a negative trait as it prohibited me from  working well with other) I had to transfer these skills into leadership ones. I never used to see myself as a leader, but rather a shy individual, but over the last year, I have found outlets to use my leadership skills and take control in group situations. Whether this be by running the play in Lighthouse, or allocating roles for my project week group, or even leading a dance in Kahaani I have managed to use my organisation skills to allow myself to stay on top of things, while guiding a larger group of people as well. This has also helped me build the trust between people and thus has improved my collaboration skills.

Preparation Stage

L01: Identifying own strengths and develop areas for personal growth

L07: Recognise and consider the ethics of choices and actions

Now that we have finished all the initial investigation, we have begun to work towards the preparation stage for project week. Our group has been extremely organised and have met all the deadlines and have handed in all the required forms already. Now we are beginning to prepare materials and finalise our itinerary for our trip. With Blue Dragon, our service partner, we have decided that we will assist the staff there by joining in on their daily activities as well as work with the students there on putting together a performance that they can do when they visit our school next year. To do this, we have to do some research into Vietnamese dance in combination with hip-hop (the style that the children are familiar with) and see how we can use this to help them come up with some steps. I think that this task plays to my strengths, as a dancer, and will help me grow and expand the ways that I interact with dance. It will stretch me out of my comfort zone, as it is a style of dance I am not familiar with at all. I think that it is important that we are very careful from the cultural aspect when we present ourselves. We do not want to inaccurately portray the Vietnamese culture as this could, in fact, harm the bond between our school and Blue Dragon. Therefore, we have to be very careful and detailed with our research first. On the whole, I am excited to take on this challenge and see what results it will reap.

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