Pottery (CAS Reflection 1)

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

Despite being a very new experience for me, and my lack of previous experience with it, I have very much enjoyed the new challenges presented to me within pottery. In our first class, we went over the basics for producing a pinch pot and working with clay (when to use water, when to use slip, how clay is dried, glazed, and fired, etc.), and, after that short introduction, we were allowed to work freely with clay (though only by hand, not using wheels). I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of freedom present within making anything out of clay, but I soon found that actually making things I was satisfied with was much more difficult. I decided I wanted to make something that I, personally, would have appreciated more than a pot; I decided to make a bunch of little clay animals (whales, elephants, turtles, etc.). Obviously, the craftsmanship was shoddy, and the end product was quite lumpy, but I nonetheless enjoyed the challenge of making something I truly enjoyed over producing a pot that I invariably would not have used.

Boxing (Cas Reflection 3)

LO4: What impact did my commitment or lack thereof have on the success of this activity?

Despite the circuit breaker’s announcement meaning that I will not be able to practise boxing in the environment that I could before, I still feel the fact that I was able to commit to it for ~3 seasons has had a profound impact on me even outside of the activity itself. For instance, despite the circuit breaker, I find that I am more motivated to stay active and practise exercise, whether that be some at-home workouts or going out for a run. I can attribute a large part of this new motivation to boxing; despite it being, more often than not, something I did not feel that motivated to attend, the fact that I continued to do so meant that I entered a routine that added an active element to my school week, week-in, week-out. Even outside of this routine, with the circuit breaker, I feel the necessity for some form of physical exercise; boxing has put my in a mindset where I should be healthy, and I feel happier and more satisfied as a result.

IFP (Cas Reflection 3)

LO6: What did I learn about this issue? Why is it a significant issue?

With IFP now on hold as a result of the “circuit breaker” announced, as well as the fact that the IFP conferences themselves will not be carried through, it seems to be a good time to pause and reflect on what new issues I was actually introduced to in IFP, and how these issues actually were significant. Having been registered for the Timor Leste conference, much of our preparation time before the actual conference planning was devoted to addressing extremely large questions regarding peace-building; questions that would force us to actually think about the impact we were having. We discussed questions such as “What is violence?” in the context of real-world instances of violence (e.g the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), and also applied a combination of theoretical knowledge (such as our study of Galtung’s pyramid of violence, that affirms that there are three types of violence; direct, cultural, and structural) to supplement our practical understanding of conflict in the world. This meant that, despite not actually being able to learn about the conflict in Timor Leste in IFP, I was still able to gain a profound and applicable perspective on the nature, manifestations of, and real-life impact of violence in the world, a skill that would help me not only in IFP (or, I suppose, would have helped me more if the conferences had not been called off), but also in general, in helping me gain a better understanding about the presence and manifestations of violence in the world. Overall, despite the lack of a conference, I feel that I can still walk away from IFP knowing that I have gained an invaluable and multi-faceted new perspective on the world; one that I can apply to a variety of other activities or subjects, and can be a useful future asset.

IFP (CAS Reflection 2)

LO3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.

Initiative for Peace has, I find, been a great choice as an activity thus far in the year. Not only does it fit snugly into my week’s schedule, running from 4:30-6:00 on Tuesday (I do Boxing from 3:00-4:30), but it is also a great chance to learn a different set of skills and also meet, and interact with, many people I would not normally see. The best things about IFP are not only the wide community of people who attend the activity, allowing me to get to know many people I do not share classes with, but also the set of conflict-resolution skills that we learn as part of the activity. I have never given much thought to the specific skills required to facilitate the construction of a lasting sense of peace or the practical skills required to organise an event such as a conference, so it has been a very constructive learning experience for me to acquire these practical skills, despite the fact that it may have been, to begin with, somewhat strange to actually sit down and learn these skills. The ability to foster conversation and facilitate an understanding is one that I have never had to consciously learn, and, hence, has rendered this season of IFP a very eventful one.¬† I look forwards to continuing the year in IFP, this despite the fact that, due to the coronavirus, our Timor Leste and Mae Sot conferences have been cancelled, which was a significant obstacle to my CAS experience, as I was very much looking forwards to attending.

Boxing/Muay Thai (CAS Reflection 2)

LO4: Show commitment to and perseverance in your CAS experience.

Boxing has proven itself to be an activity I both enjoy and occasionally find problematic. Despite very much liking the activity itself, and enjoying the exercise and skills I learn during it, there are also periods where I find it difficult to maintain my commitment to it; despite only being once a week, it is on a Tuesday, from 3:00 to 4:30, followed by Initiative For Peace, from 4:30 to 6:00. This renders the day quite a long and generally tiresome one; I often find myself wishing I could do something other than Boxing until IFP. That being said, I am happy I have continued to attend training sessions, as not only is it a good for of exercise and physical exertion, but I am also able to learn valuable skills and techniques, as well as have fun with friends also doing the activity. Therefore, I’d say so far my biggest challenge faced by Boxing has not been a physical-based, or technique-based one, but a commitment-based obstacle, in that I often find myself unmotivated to continue training. That being said, I do not regret Boxing thus far throughout the year, and look forwards to continuing to train and improve my skills.

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 3)

LO4: Show commitment to and perseverance in your CAS experience.

Our second season of service has ended, and has brought with it large changes. Despite our best efforts in adapting our activities to better suit the clients of the elderly center, we have found our efforts less-than-fruitful in furthering our end-goal; that of interviewing both clients and those who care for them and cataloguing said interviews (hence, “Memoirs” of the pioneer generation). However, a significant setback in the path of our service has been how hesitant our clients have been to actually speak; we have been unable to create a close enough social bond to gather any information from them. Similarly, those who work at the center have been unwilling to provide us with any sort of interview. Hence, in view of this setback, our service has adopted a different strategy; that of splitting up and joining with other local services in school, and working with them to gain a different perspective on service as a whole, a perspective we will be able to bring back to the group and hopefully translate into a valuable insight into service. I, personally, have joined with YMCA Student Care Center, with which I hope that I will be able to gain a different perspective, and, hopefully, overcome this setback to our service.

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 2)

LO3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.

LO5: Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

With our first season of Service concluded, I find that Memoirs of the Pioneer generation has been a strong fit for me, despite some challenges and apprehension. Firstly, despite much planning and initiative for activities, with our service group entering the senior center with clear ideas on how we wanted to conduct our sessions, we rapidly found that our plans did not develop as we wanted them to. With many senior clients of the center having relatively short attention spans, many of our planned activities (board games, ball games, etc.) that did not provide immediate gratification and somewhat fast-paced fun soon fell apart. Though our first activities, as a simple get-to-know-you, were ball games where we learnt the names of the clients of the center, we somewhat rudimentary, as we were forced to improvise and abandon our initial plan, we soon overcame the challenge of planning and adapting our expectations of the activity to fit the clients. As we tailored our plans to better fit them, by prioritising activities more accessible to them and less likely to lose their interest, we found a greater degree of engagement with our clients (though, despite our best efforts, some of them remained quite distant and reluctant to socialise). Nonetheless, despite our difficulties with planning and the challenges that organising sessions presented, I feel that the first season of service has been a productive and personally enjoyable one.

Jakarta Street Kids Season 1-Leadership Positions

LO5: Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively.

With Season 1 concluded, the leadership positions within my Jakarta Street Kids GC have been shuffled, and a new round of student leaders have replaced this year’s G12s in terms of leading the Global Concern. I decided to submit an application for the position of Chair due to my interest in getting more involved and “hands-on” with the Concern. I have always participated in fundraisers and in organising activities for GCs (Gili Eco Trust in IGCSE, especially), so I would like to pursue perhaps a different route in service; though I expect to (and wish to continue!) have a role in participating in facilitating, organising and managing fundraisers and other Service-led activities, I also want¬† to understand the inner workings of the GC, and view from the inside what a leader position truly entails. Despite not expecting so, I was positioned as vice-chair, and am happy to say that I now have a more active role in the GC. So far, as vice-chair, I haven’t done much (mostly due to the fact that we have recently concluded a major fundraising activity [Swim For Life]) yet, apart from taking “Minutes” (a logging document) in our meetings, I look forwards to collaborating with my peers within the Service and setting new goals and fundraisers that we will hope to achieve. I sincerely hope this year in Jakarta Street Kids will be a productive and fruitful one, not only in terms of the service work we hope to achieve, but also in helping me develop my own organisational and communication skills, and being able to assume a hands-on role in a somewhat large group (with JSK numbering easily in ~30 people).