My personal experience at the year 12 residential 2016 at Lido Lakes Resort is definitely not one to forget. In fact, I can confidently say that this has been one of the most fun trips I’ve ever gone one (and I wish it hadn’t ended so soon).
Looking back at my experience as a whole, I found lots of evidence of how my tutor group, 12 K-RAZY, has become so much more unified after going through various challenges together. All the activities had been done in tutor groups, and at first I’m pretty sure everyone would have preferred to do the activities with their own group of friends instead. However, at the end of the trip we formed a whatsapp group. Since then we’ve been planning to go on another class outing together, simply because we miss the fun we had in residentials.
The best part about all the activities we did was that it was fun and it possessed some learning value. Firstly, the T-shirt taking encouraged creativity. We were allowed to paint anything we wanted. A lot of people discovered their hidden artistic skills from this activity, like John.
Next came the team-building activities. This was the first step to breaking the ice between us as a class. As its name suggests, all these activities promoted teamwork. We were divided into two groups and raced in completing various tasks. Although at first our group was falling behind, we took it lightly and continued putting our 100% effort in the tasks. In the end, we managed to overtake them in a few tasks. In the first task, we had to decipher a coded message, in which we used our intuition and reason to do so, not to mention our thinking skills as well. Next we were directed to the security guard to ask for directions. Although he told us where to go, he failed to tell us what to do. This was due to a lack of communication, which could have been improved by effectively communicating the goal of our journey. Once we were at the tennis court, we were instructed to complete a puzzle by using the pieces to form a rectangle, once again using reason, intuition and thinking, as well as using our knowledge from Mathematics that the corners of a rectangle is 90 degrees. Afterwards, each of us were paired up and given a vertically split pipe with four strings attached to it. As a team, we were supposed to position our pipes using the string in such a way that it was interconnected to form a path for the ping pong ball to reach the end. This required much communication, coordination, and self-control to achieve. It taught me that completing a task is much easier and faster when the entire team puts in effort and manages themselves so as not to drag down the team by making a mistake. And even if someone does make a mistake, we should not blame them since we are all human after all, but rather give them useful feedback on how they can improve and then shrug it off and try again.
This was the same case for the following task, wherein we had to walk on three wooden planks in fours. The first two people stand on the left and middle plank, and the last two on the middle and right plank. When one plank was being moved, both people standing on that plank needs to move at the same time in order for it to work. To solve this issue, we all synchronised shouts of which plank to move and paced ourselves to accommodate each other. Every time someone moved too late or too early, someone else, or they themselves would fall. Like I mentioned before, blaming someone else, be it the person who fell or the person who made an unsynchronised move, would be useless. Rather, be like Subin, who reaches her hand out to help me up so that we can move on. If we were all being selfish and moving at our own pace, failure is sure to come. If we only thought as individuals rather than as a team, we would not be able to move forward. There are so many applications for this in real life. For example, our CAS projects. If no one in the team is working together, the project will not make progress.
The final task in the team building activities was sort of like hockey. Each team went one player at a time. The players had to wear cones on their faces in such a way that they could only see a small bit of what was within their vision. They were given hockey sticks and were instructed to bring the ball to the finish line. For the players, it was a very arduous task. They had to have a very high level of control of the ball to manoeuvre it properly. If they lost they ball, which they often did, it was very difficult to find again on their own because the cones limited their line of vision. It was much easier when teammates could give them directions as to where the ball is and which direction to move in.
Particularly, this task reminded me of the concept of perceptions. If we viewed the world from our own point of view, and only our point of view, it is more difficult to complete tasks and overcome obstacles. On the other hand, if we were more open-minded and had a little faith in other people, we would be able to see the world from so many different points of view and we could consider many ideas and suggestions from our peers rather than doing it alone.
We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the lip sync battle that night. Once again, this was concentrated around the communication and social ATLs. Everyone had so many ideas and it wasn’t easy but we managed to put everything together. We may not have won first place for the lip sync battle (more like last place) but I can confidently claim that our performance, though not perfect, was 100% original and creative. Everything was entirely from our imagination as a class, as one Krazy mind. What i think we could have improved was our coordination. The whole performance was like all our ideas mashed together, rather than organised in an orderly and more aesthetically appealing manner. But regardless, I think the performance reflected who WE are as a class, not as individuals.
We started off day 2 with the high ropes. I must admit, I wouldn’t normally say that I am afraid of heights, but this experience clearly changed my idea of that. The outbound was definitely not the highest I’ve been to, but the activities were much more challenging and dangerous than what I’ve done before. I had little faith in the safety of these activities, after seeing a platform collapse and hearing of a broken ladder, thus this stimulated a lot of fear, doubt, and anxiety inside of me. The worst part was the number of times I had to jump down rather than climb down and sort of free fall to the ground. However, it was from this activity that I felt the bond we had as a class. We were all encouraging one another, especially those who had a fear of heights. It is with pride that I can say that our class broke the record many times over for the tightrope activity. Before we came, the record was 45 seconds, which was broken by Tristan (42 s), then Isobel (24 s), then Josh (20 s), followed by Phoenix (18 s), and finally Isobel again (13 s) *I suspect she’s secretly a ninja.
To my relief, the high ropes finally ended, and we made our way to the paintball zone. Once again, we were divided into two teams, and somehow all the guys, except Zach, ended up one one team (coincidence?!) with me and Lin. The other team consisted of Zach, the rest of the girls, Mr Gow, and Ms Mackenzie. A lot of people expected the majority guys team to win. We lost. Twice. ‘Nuff said.
We played two rounds of paintball. In the first one, each of us were only given 5 bullets, and you were immediately ousted if you get shot or if you run out of bullets. Our mistake was that we were spending too many bullets trying to oust the other team. The strategic way (and risk averse way) would be to lure them into wasting their bullets and then claiming victory. This round, I decided to save myself the injury of getting shot and to just stay back at defence. One by one, my teammates ran out of bullets and were ousted, until I was left alone in the battlefield. It didn’t take long for me to run out of bullets, thus allowing team orange to win by default. The second round lasted much longer. We tried to form a strategy, though i don’t think it was detailed enough. This time we each had 30 bullets and we were only ousted when we ran out. If we get shot we need to go back to base and sort of restart. After practically dying of boredom in the first round, I decided to take a risk and slowly move forward. I ended up staying in the middle, preventing anyone from trespassing into our territory. To my surprise, I managed to shoot Zach twice from the same spot. Isobel nearly got me again, her bullet whizzing half a centimetre away from my arm. I only got shot once throughout the span of the game, and mind bogglingly enough I got shot from the back, which I am 100% sure was all my teammates behind me. I restarted at the base and took to defending the flag. Once again our top warriors got ousted one by one from lack of bullets. After I left the game, Jasmine and Isobel from Team orange had made at least 75% of the journey to our flag. Reyhan was guarding the flag, and somehow Jasmine found a window of time where he was not paying attention. During this window she sprinted from behind the tree, dropped her gun and grabbed the flag in victory. We were in awe. Some reasoned that we lost because the instructor miscommunicated to our team that we had to take the flag and bring it back to base, whereas Jasmine only had to take it. Nevertheless we were all in good spirits and were good sports to each other.
Paintball was awfully fun, but I also managed to take away so many learning points from this one activity. I came up with the analogy the effective communication is like shooting a paintball. You have to have a clear shot, in other words, be clear about what you’re saying, in order for the bullet to hit its target. You also have to be precise and exacting in aiming toward the target. Effective communication is also short and concise. The bullet travels very quickly, like a message should get across quickly. One of the IB Learner Profiles is being Risk Takers, which I believe is very important in life. In the first round, I was being risk averse and as a result I was bored out of my head and made no progress. I reflected on this and in the second round I took the risk of getting shot and moved forward. In the end I made lots of progress but managing to shoot Zach twice in the chest. In real life, you’ll only ever make actual progress if you’re willing to take risks. For example, in starting a business, you take many risks by investing your own money into a business that has a risk of failing or going bankrupt. If it fails, learn from it. If you succeed, it was worth it. I was also inspired by Reyhan, who strategised that if he kept getting shot at, the enemy would run out of bullets and it would be easier for us to claim victory. He was willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of the team, and though he was not ousted for getting shot at, he did swallow the physical pain that came with being shot. This is true team spirit. If everyone acted in their own interest only, the team would make no progress. Lastly, winning isn’t everything, its the journey, not the destination. You will notice that I will be repeating this over and over in this post due to the many losses we faced but were unfazed by.
Our final activity was the much coveted Raft Building. This involved lots of thinking and imagination, communication and collaboration. We had to use our skills as Knowledgable Thinkers and work together to come up with an efficient design for our raft. Physicists also had a chance to apply our knowledge from classes with Mr Fitzpatrick.
We agreed on a raft shaped like a tic tac toe board, with the four barrels in the corners. After building the raft, we were disheartened to hear that there was a storm detected nearby and it would be dangerous to go out into the lake and do the activity. We waited, patiently, and hopefully, and finally the storm seemed to have passed. We pushed our raft into the water, and being my ridiculously idiotic self, I took ONE step into the water—thinking that it was shallow and that I could climb onto the raft from there (idiot)— and sank. What i stepped on at the bottom was…. stuff that cannot be described with pleasant sounding words. This made me think of CAS, and how we could create a project to clean bodies of water throughout Jakarta and then Indonesia and to educate locals on the consequences of littering. Unfortunately I already have my hands full with two CAS projects.
Anyways, back to the rafting, both teams were tied at first and we kept colliding with each other.
The other team constantly splashing dirty, polluted lake water in a useless attempt to slow us down. It only pushed us to paddle harder and faster. In the end we put Narendra in the middle and Jason and Phoenix jumped off to propel our raft from the sides (which was a big boost). We overtook the other team by far. By the time we reached the flags, they are so desperate that they had Josh jump off and grab the flag for them. Still, we were moving at such speed that a couple minutes later we had left the other team so far behind. When I looked back, they had only 2 out of 8 people left on the raft. Thanks to good teamwork and coordination, we successfully brought the flag back to base (though I did fall off the raft toward the end -.-)
We used the remaining time to come up with a class anthem (which we came 1st place for!), a class flag, and a class photo. Like the Lip Sync Battle, all three of these really reflected our personality as a whole.
Throughout the course of this trip, I made many new friends and got to know so many of my classmates. Jasmine and Isobel both really surprised me this trip. Jasmine is such a great leader, with the perfect combination of fun and discipline. No matter what the situation is, she’s always been optimistic, her optimism spreading throughout the team or the entire class, especially since we finished last place. She didn’t give up when majority of the guys were in one team for paintball, and she led her team to victory. A message to her if she’s reading this: Jas, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right, so keep doing you 😉
I’ve come up with a nickname for Isobel — NINJOBEL :P. Every morning during registration she seems like this shy and quiet girl, news flash — she’s not. Isobel really changed my perception of her with her enthusiasm and competitive spirit. She has this fire inside her that just drives her toward greatness, toward victory, in everything she does. From breaking records to going full ninja in paintball, Isobel keep that flame lit up!
Hoping we’re going to have another residential soon ! XD