Yearbook Reflection #2

The Yearbook has been a great experience so far. In season 2, it has picked up the pace in the sense that it requires my group, of Sponsorship and Marketing, to do its job and find the yearbook sponsors to be able to print it. It is definitely much more demanding than last season where all we did was brainstorm a list of sponsors. Instead, now we contact them and wait for a response.

It can be a little discouraging sometimes because there are so many rules that the school makes the Yearbook abide by, in terms of placing restrictions on who we can sponsor. For examples, tuition places are not allowed to be there because the school feels like it encourages students to go there, which is perfectly valid, however now, the group is made to approach relatively random places, like restaurants and dentists, who are less likely to want to sponsor a school’s yearbook. This is quite challenging especially since the group is small (only consists of 6 people) and the stakes are high (since if we don’t get sponsors, no one in high school gets a yearbook). I think something that has helped is the effective communication in the group. All of us don’t know each other well enough to get distracted but are good enough friends to be comfortable enough to update each other with the news with our individual possible sponsors. All of us collaborate with each other, which is extremely important because we need all the information we can get in regards to the sponsors who have accepted to help for example. Moreover, since we are a relatively small group striving to achieve an important goal, it makes me feel as though my commitment and input, no matter how small, are valuable to achieving the end product, which is a really good feeling because I know that I helped create the yearbook, which fundamentally is a piece of memory that students cherish as we grow older.

Thank you!

Economeast Reflection #2

Economeast so far has been a fun experience for me. In season 1, my main role in the activity was being a “journalist” and writing articles for the publication that should be published towards the end of the year. However, I have recently joined the sponsorship team, which as the name suggests, is where I look for sponsors for the publication. I think this made me more involved with the activity itself because now I played a key role in making sure that all the hard work everyone put in actually bears fruit, in the form of Economeast 2018. I think this was important in making me feel more significant in the activity itself. However, alongside the added responsibility came the added need for collaboration and commitment. I collaborated with the head of sponsorship in the form of messaging and emails, and building this relationship was important, especially since she is also the sponsorship head of my yearbook group. I think having that really made it much easier to work with her because we both understood how tedious it was to wait for the possible sponsors and how hard it was to get responses from them too.

I also definitely saw some similarities in the Yearbook and the Economeast sponsors, which made it difficult for me because there was competition for sponsors in both groups and it was complicated to favour the sponsorship of one publication over another. For example, I was to contact Prepzone to sponsor Economeast, however, they chose to sponsor yearbook itself. So although I was a little disheartened in Economeast that Wednesday (since Prepzone was the only response we had), by the time Yearbook came around on Friday, I was happy (and having mixed emotions at the same time).

I think Economeast also requires a lot of commitment because it needs 2 articles per “journalist”. It definitely added to my already long to-do list, because although I wanted to finish it quickly and in time, I also wanted it to be a good read for the readers. I think that the major reason behind why I completed them both on time was because of the leadership of the group, who are constantly on top of everything so I didn’t want to let them down. Furthermore, the longer it takes for everyone to finish, the longer the magazine comes out and I really want to see my name and my photo on the initial pages.

Thank you!

Ladakh GC Reflection #2

Season 2 of Ladakh GC has definitely been hard work, but I am glad to say that I have improved a lot in my communication. I know this because I now feel more assertive while delegating tasks or while working together on a whole. I think this is great and certainly shows that I’ve come far from my initial worries of being reserved in front of the group. I think something that has helped me is the team I work with every lunchtime. It definitely is a very encouraging and accepting group, as people have adapted to their new roles and helped others if they need to. I also have some girls from my basketball team in the GC, which is great because I’m already largely comfortable with them and because it helps with the continuity of our friendship, as unfortunately, basketball is only 1 season long.

Our most effort-consuming project currently is the Shaanti Aman Ball, which is a ball held for parents by a few GCs. This brings to rise inter-GC collaboration, which can be challenging on its own. Since Ladakh GC is in charge of sponsorship and marketing, sometimes the GC feels a little left out of the big decisions and a little alienated since we only focus on a few narrow, albeit important facets of the event. Although the sponsorship and marketing stage is difficult since the event is large and all GCs aim to raise some funds for each of our respective focuses, I personally like it because it has developed a key skill of taking on more responsibility (which is also true for the all team members) because there is more work to be done and very little time to do it, so our already present skills, such as perseverance, are being more showcased. Even though the work is hard, I think I have maintained my motivation for this activity largely due to the fact that I am so passionate for the school in Ladakh, and really feel that it can effectuate change in the lives of many more children just by having more funding and facilities. I think the GC’s other chair, Mehak, who is also my best friend, has been instrumental in maintaining my motivation just because she works so hard herself and I just feel like the right thing for me to do is to match her level of commitment.

Thank you!

#2 CAS Reflection: Pre-Season Basketball

I have just completed the pre-season basketball activity. Overall I really enjoyed the activity, especially since the coaching staff has made some changes in order to maximise our learning ability this year.

In my previous reflection for the activity, I said I wanted to be more assertive on the court and communicate better with my team, alongside technical basketball skills. Overall, I believe that I have improved in both areas. Firstly, by playing the game with the same set of people over roughly 2 months, I started to feel far more comfortable than I did at first. This allowed me to not overthink what I say and simply just say it, which is especially beneficial in the quick-paced game of basketball. I think the proof of this was during the tryouts for the team because even when the coaches explicitly said they were looking for assertiveness and good teamwork, I felt that it came more naturally for not only myself but my teammates too, who not understood each other’s games. Secondly, I wanted to improve my stamina level and some specific aspects of the game. I think I achieved this goal, as this is more evidently seen over the course of the activity. One example is a specific drill that coaches made us do throughout the training. After scrimmaging, the coaches used to do a drill called “Seventeen” wherein we had to touch each baseline of the court as fast as we could. At the start of the year, I was quite honestly exhausted after I did this drill, and I remember it taking me roughly 1 minute 13 seconds to complete. However, at the end of the year (after frequent practices) I found myself able to control my breathing and saw my timing drop down 5 seconds. This transferred to the court too, I believe, since I began to notice more stamina and energy during games.

I don’t think I had to try as hard to overcome these challenges, which a beauty of the sport and of practices. During sports, since the fake layers of people are stripped to the bare minimum, people are more susceptible to understanding the personality of one another and can, therefore, communicate more freely. Similarly, practices allow sportspersons to develop a rhythm of the game before the season starts, so in a way, Pre-Season Basketball too accepts your initial shortcomings and makes you evolve into the player that you can be during game time, which is why I always do the activity before the start of the basketball season.

 

Is Liberalism in Retreat?

Liberalism has been a dominant force in the structuring of the 21st century. The philosophy is founded on ideas of interstate harmony, yielding many economic, social and political merits. The presence of harmony amongst sovereign states has resulted in a lattice of interdependent states, alongside globalization. Both outcomes are evident today in the notion of “Commercial Liberalism” that can be traced back to the 19th century. The survival of Singapore, for instance, is dependent upon this theory. Having a key geographical advantage, Singapore plays the role of a port in the world’s fluid transportation of goods and services, and would much likely become a futile land of potential if not for (Commercial) Liberalism. The inhabitants of Singapore as well, would potentially starve and be forced to move out, due to her inability to produce food. Since globalization promotes the reduction of protectionist barriers of trade, such as tariffs or quotas, to encourage the free flow of goods and services, essentially boosting the general welfare of the people, it is especially pivotal in ensuring that Singaporeans can import food and other prerequisites.

So why is Liberalism believed to be in retreat? Well, that is likely the doing of one of the world’s superpowers, the United States. President-elect, Donald Trump, holds the power of a United States that has divided political institutions alongside a fragile economy. With an “America first!” motto, it becomes more and more evident that the US is no longer going to sacrifice its national interests to benefit other states. To realists, or at least globalization-skeptics like Trump that openly undermine the dire plea of their predecessors, the needs of the Americans come first, in a power-hungry, self-help governed global system. Trump is pledging to “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade agreement between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Trade agreements as such promote trade liberalization, as previously mentioned, that is significant in increasing globalization and interdependence. While the agreements has done wonders to the Mexican economy (who have a $60 billion trade surplus with the Americans) and other Asian economies (auto and manufacturing industries are far more competitive), Trump threatens to overhaul the deal as the Americans (who ended up with higher wages and more productivity) seemingly didn’t benefit from it.

I believe that Liberalism has been in retreat over the past few years, with the two leading powers of the world, the United States and the United Kingdom, suffering economic and political uncertainty. Although trade liberalization and investment across borders have increased the GDP of these countries, it has not been converted to gains for the majority of their populations with median wages remaining as stagnant as ever. The decision to elect Trump or to exit the EU is essentially a campaign to value national over the needs of other states. As the US and the UK transition to standing alone, the Liberal system of vast interdependence is going to be more and more disrupted. It is a concern for the community on a global scale if states choose to follow their example and shut their doors to other nations. It is already evident in Thailand and Malaysia, who choose to usher the Rohingya back to turmoil in Myanmar, rather than facing economic setbacks. Since when have people from other states not been eligible for obtaining help from other countries? With growing numbers of relatively small-scale conflicts affected separate parts of the world (in comparison to the World Wars), countries need to show some humanity and offer help to states that need it.

Ladakh GC Initial Post

I have been a member of Ladakh GC for 2 years now. I initially joined after having been to Ladakh for my grade 9 expedition, where we visited the Lamdon School, who we currently work with. I am currently Co-Chair of Ladakh GC, alongside my good friend, Mehak Parwani.

I think being part of this GC really encourages me to improve my collaboration skills. Not only must I work amongst all members of the group, listening to their ideas and eventually working towards developing the Lamdon School, I’m also trying to establish contact with the GC in the Dover campus. I think it’s very easy to collaborate with both groups. On one hand, all members of the GC are passionate towards raising money to improve the life of the children in the school, so they’re always involved with the GC’s needs; on the other hand, I have some personal connections with the leaders of the GC in Dover, as we spent nearly 20 days together during the expedition, so we can build an inter-campus GC connection. Moreover, having a co-chair by my side is really beneficial for me personally as Mehak is very outspoken, so even if I’m a little hesitant to speak during the meetings, the needs of the GC aren’t affected at all. I think having a key leadership position in the GC will really help me become a better communicator as in the future we are holding a ball for the parents, and in order to run that smoothly, I’ll have no choice but to delegate tasks with confidence and amplitude.

I think it’s very easy for me to be motivated for the GC due to my personal connection. When we visited the Lamdon School, we had the opportunity to play games with the kids and sit in classes to see what life at the school was really like. I think because of these activities, I created a bond with some of the little children there, so every Tuesday lunchtime, I walk into the room, aspiring to maintain this connection.

Unfortunately, there are some visible challenges regarding our GC. From last year itself, the leadership wasn’t very effective- in fact, we didn’t even have one major event where we either earned a lot of money or raised awareness. I think this attitude may be difficult to change in some of the members who have carried on being a member of this GC. My Co-chair and I have only led the service one time so far (the week before October break started). I think during the next few sessions, we should really set a few ground rules on how the GC will be run this year, so we won’t have any problems in the future with any other member’s attitude. Anyway, because of the lack of fundraising, Ladakh GC East is very dependent on Dover to sustain us, so I plan to arrange a skype call with the chairs at Dover, to see ways in which we can feasibly improve, in order to actually make an impressions of the lives of the children at Lamdon School.

EconomEast Initial Reflection

It is my first year with the EconomEast and any other publication, in fact. I joined EconomEast because it is a medium for students to become journalists and take on real-world events with a slightly economical perspective.

So far in the activity, we have chosen our article (and specified a deadline for it) and assigned roles. I think my choice of being part of this activity really speaks to how I like to work on my projects independently, where I can put our own spin on it. I think EconomEast has not only helped me become more aware of my strengths, as I see that I am self-supporting and self-reliant (i.e a capable self-manager) but also see some qualities which I could improve upon. During class, for instance, I find myself sitting with my friends and I didn’t even endeavor to obtain a leadership position. I think the latter was likely because any leadership position requires constant contact with the teacher and other leaders, which therefore goes to show that I need to become more outspoken during my tenure as a journalist. I think I’ve struggled in this area the most for all of my activities/service. I think it’s because I am naturally shy and would much rather choose to listen than talk, which I know hinders my capabilities but I’m working on.

I think EconomEast is the most challenging activity I am part this year. It follows a strict regiment, with a strict timeline, which means that there isn’t much scope for anyone to fall behind. One settling example is that even if you send in articles late because of work or other commitments, the article would simply not be put in the magazine. In order to stick to the leaders’ deadlines, I have chosen to write a draft of my EconomEast article (that examines the impact of music festivals) during the October break. This way I would stay ahead of my responsibilities as a journalist, and simultaneously manage my IB work and schedule better. Early on in the activity, each member had to sell 4 copies of a magazine that came out earlier this year, which was quite troublesome because people who are genuinely interested in the magazine have already purchased it and because around 30 people are trying to sell the same item to a limited amount of people (high school students and teachers). I think this activity helped me improve my skills in communication as certain teachers or parents were skeptical about buying it and so I had to really portray the magazine in a lucrative, yet informative manner, even though I had only one lunchtime’s worth on information on my side.

 

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