For my final CAS interview, my mentor and I reflected on all the CAS projects I did and how successful they were, my time management, and overall what I learned from CAS.
Throughout CAS, I have definitely been most enthusiastic about my creative projects. I did many design projects and self-taught so many skills that I can apply in the future. Some of my design work even benefited me for my university portfolio. They definitely helped me take challenges, collaborate with people commissioning work, and further develop my graphic design skills. I finished my design and creativity projects earlier on, which was something my mentor and I discussed previously. Since my design projects took a lot of time, I strove to finish them all in Year 12. This time management worked out well for me.
As for activity, I admitted that this was by far my least favorite aspect of CAS. I deliberately chose individualized activities such as fitness and pilates so that I would be forced to do work instead of stand around in a team game. This has also worked well because I felt that I benefited from the rigorous individualized activities that I did, especially because they catered specifically to my needs. Even when I did group Nike Fitness, our instructor often asked us what we wanted to work on, and as for Pilates, I had a private instructor. This has definitely made me work harder in activity and I even found it to be a nice balance against all my schoolwork.
Finally, we talked about my service projects and how they were the most difficult to complete. This was because they had to be done over a long period of time and they were very time-consuming. Despite that, I wrapped up two of them by the end of Year 12. The third one took more time because it was for Tiny School Movement and we had a lot more to work with and finalizations to make. Even though service was very challenging, I think I gained a lot from it. My mentor and I discussed how much I learned from teaching English to street kids, dealing with the teamwork and external problems in TSM, and collaboration challenges for Jukebox.
Overall, I thought that CAS was a very enlightening and unique experience. Though I doubted enjoying it so much and learning so much from it, I fortunately proved myself wrong.
For this service project, I worked with other team members to create a magazine that provided a voice for people who have always wanted to share it. I believe this magazine really humanized people in the BSJ community, especially staff members, through things such as Humans of BSJ. It also provided an outlet for students to express themselves, which I think is important because of how stressful school can be. For this project, I helped with creating some of the pages:
The creative work in this magazine also shines light on some important global issues, which I think is essential because students can be sheltered from the outside world and it’s important to be mindful of what’s going on around us. This project has allowed me to address the following learning objectives:
LO1: I identify my strengths, I identify areas for growth
I’ve had to identify my strengths while doing this project because our roles were split up amongst the group members, so I had to choose something that I knew I was strong at. However, we also collaborated a lot, so I was able to receive feedback and identify areas for growth in my designs.
LO4: I show commitment, I persevere
This project needed a lot of commitment because bringing the magazine together took a long time and required a number of meetings, some of them in school and some outside of school. Disagreements among team members can lead to frustration, but I persevered through the difficulties and the outcome of the magazine was successful.
Doing Pilates has been a different and often times tiring and painful experience, but I’m glad that I chose to do this activity because it helps me in my daily life. I hope that I can continue to do this activity, since scoliosis is a constant part of my life and I need to prevent it from worsening.
I think my posture has improved since I first started, and I am able to do more exercises than I did in the beginning. Here are photos of when my instructor told me that my posture was particularly good that day:
Pilates has definitely been helping me in my day-to-day life. Occasionally, my instructor makes me do rounds of walking with a ‘proper posture’ so that I hold my back straight, have my feet placed correctly, and am not leaning to the right like I normally do. We also do breathing exercises regularly. I have recently found out that I enjoy side stretches and side extensions more among the other exercises we do because I think it helps my uneven spine. Stretches really help me ease my strained muscles and correct my posture. Pilates has allowed me to address some learning objectives, especially LO1 and LO2.
LO1: I identify my strengths, I identify areas for growth
While doing Pilates, I am constantly trying to both improve my body and build my strength. A lot of Pilates exercises are harder than I would expect, and sometimes it can be painful, so I build from things that I’m successful at and use them to do more complex things. This can be seen in the development of my strength of side stretches, which my instructor took and incorporated into other exercises, such as activities on the spine corrector as well as encouraging me to do side extensions, which are harder and more complex than side stretches.
LO2: I undertake challenges, I develop new skills
Pilates is definitely a challenge because of how demanding and tiring it is. I have had to improve my flexibility while doing this activity, as well as minor things like breathing correctly. Through this, however, I developed new skills in the exercises that I do.
I have continued to do Pilates every Saturday, sometimes more during holidays. This activity is quite difficult to measure, as I do it to reduce back pain and improve my body posture. I have noticed that there has been some improvement in my back pain, which comes back when I can’t do Pilates for the week. I have learned how to do some new exercises on the machines – I started with stretching and extensions and have now also done exercises on the spine corrector.
Coming back from the term break, I didn’t worsen my heart rate as much as I did last term, since I exercised with my mom and also continuously did Pilates. I didn’t reach my exact goal, but I’m quite pleased with myself because I reached quite close to my goal of 90 bpm. Although this Activity has been very tiring and I wanted to give up at times, I’m glad I did it.
When I came back from the holiday, my heart-rate worsened as I was not doing much exercise. In Term 2, I aimed to work harder to improve my heart-rate. By the end, it was more or less back to what it was in Term 1, but I’m not sure if I can achieve my goal of getting it down to 90 bpm by the end of the year, since there’s a two week break in April, where I’ll have to make myself stay fit.
In Term 1, I have recorded my heartbeat per week to see if the fitness has helped me become healthier. The data shows that my heartbeat has been quite inconsistent, although I have to keep in mind that sometimes it may be due to human error, since I count my heartbeats manually. It may also be due to my diet and how much exercise I do outside of school that week. Although my data is inconsistent, there is some progress from the start of my activity.
For this service project, I worked with my group members to help build schools for underprivileged children living in poor communities. We worked with SOS, whom we donated the school to. The school that we built is in Rancamaya. Our roles included finding and communicating with sponsors, consulting with engineers, and helping fund the school and take care of the progress until completion.
This project allowed me to address the following learning objectives:
LO5: I demonstrate collaborative skills, I recognize the benefits of collaboration
To make this project a success, I had to work with my fellow teammates, and we’ve had to collaborate with the engineers and the people in the community. Without collaboration and teamwork, we never would have been able to successfully complete the project and give the underprivileged children the education they deserve.
LO7: I recognize ethical issues, I act ethically
Building a school in an area is a big thing, so we have had to communicate with the people in the area to make sure they’re okay with it in case they either didn’t want the school or aren’t fine with us intruding in their community. We also had to make sure that we didn’t exploit the workers who were building the school.
Overall, I’m glad I participated in this project because it has allowed me to truly value my education, seeing that others do not have access to it.
I had my final lesson with the kids, where I taught them about relationship words in English (family and friends). However, for the rest of the lesson, we mainly played educational games on all the topics they learned before because it was the last class. Teaching these kids have been a unique experience and I’m glad I have formed some bonds with them.
This service project has also let me address LO2: I undertake challenges, I develop new skills.
This was my first time teaching anyone how to speak English, which proved harder than I anticipated. It was also difficult working with kids because they have such short attention spans, so this project was definitely a challenge, but through it, I’ve developed a larger amount of patience, teaching skills, and even learned things about English grammar that someone who speaks it daily would never think about.