GCD – Wellness

Physical Wellness

I am not the fittest person I always understand that there is need for on physical activity in my life. Throughout my high school I’ve continuously engaged in many types of sports to maintain my physical well being, along with my mental well-being because I personally find that exercising helps me clear my mind. Firstly in my 9th, 10th and 12 grade I have been apart of the high school tennis team and it’s been really beneficial for my physical wellness. The team practices for about two hours per day, twice a week and once in the weekends for games and matches against other schools. This let me have a break from my schoolwork and just sitting at my desk constantly. Along with that, I was playing doubles meaning which improved my social wellness because I had to work with others in times of high tension.

Another physical activity I did outside of school was hip-hop dance. This was once a week in Jiyugaoka, and everything was taught Japanese. Dance class was constructed into three parts: first the stretching, then core exercise which involved sit-ups, push-ups, and then a plank for more than one minute – all to Daft Punk! Then the class was focused on body isolation and rhythm practice. After a short break, the rest of the class was dedicated to working on a dance routine. Most of the times, I would end the class absolutely drenched in sweat, which while gross, also made me feel good because it’s a sense of detoxing. Along with this, working on a dance routine gives a great sense of satisfaction to me because getting a certain move and being in sync with everyone else is always impressive, so being a part of it is always so fun for me.

And lastly, a more recent sport that I’ve started is rock bouldering. This as well as for its that I had no previous experiences in so I was quite nervous about starting. However it is actually something that I enjoy now because not only does it focus on physical strength a lot more of it is mental strength. The main reason why I wanted to start bouldering how way I enjoyed the most right now, is because it allows you to focus solely on yourself, and you are competing meanly against yourself. In my bouldering gym each route has a colour which represents a level. No one tells you what level you’re on, or when you should move onto the next level. I quite enjoy this, as it allows me to not feel pressure, and to take things at my own pace. Along with this, when you’re climbing, sometimes you need that mental strength to take you to the goal. You also need more mental strength in order to figure out where you should place your hands and feet.

In a time where I’m always on technology or sitting down, I’ve come to realise the importance of exercise. Even though I often feel exhausted after doing these activities, I also feel great and good about myself, and I’m definitely going to continue doing these activities in the future.


Mental Wellness

In order to prepare for university, I took a series of tests to further understand my self-knowledge. Through this, I have discovered my MBTI, and my VIA Stregnths. Firstly, my MBTI is INFJ, standing for introversion, intuition, feeling, and judgement. Understanding my MBTI has allowed me to realise the way that I react in situations, and why I clash with some types of people in terms of ideas and how to deal with situations. Firstly, looking at my introversion, has told me that sometimes when I’m feeling cranky and tired, it’s probably because I was around too many people, and spent too much of my day around them. Then, with my intuition, I’ve learned to understand the way I see situations – as the whole, as opposed to the small details. I see this when I think about what I want to do in the future – focusing on the outcome as opposed to the small details about how I will reach that outcome. Then for feeling, this is where I feel I clash most with other people. I often focus on the emotions and feelings of other that I can’t view some situations objectively. This has often occurred in student council where I would focus on how the student body would feel, while others would focus on more logical aspects like how much money would be spent. Then lastly, judgement, meaning that I like to know things in advance. I hate chaos, and because of this, I’ve learned to prepare things in advance, especially with studying. While I feel that I can do well under pressure, it is much healthier for me to plan it out.

As for my VIA Strengths, my top 5 are: appreciation of beauty and excellence, love, humour, teamwork, and gratitude. These strengths show me what I’m good at, and these are quite accurate. These show the kind of person I am, but also aim to be. Becoming aware of my strengths allow me to use them in class, or around friends, depending in situation.

Lastly, for my mental health, one thing that I’m proud of is knowing when to talk to someone about my problems. Several times over the past couple of years I’ve talked to my school councilor, about problems that I felt like were overwhelming me and completely out of my control. I know myself well enough to know that the best way to talk about my problems is to talk it out with others – not for advice, but because it is a way of getting everything out of my system. Because of now understanding this, I know how to deal with similar problems in the future, and it is a skill that I greatly cherish.

GCD – Academic Skills

At the end of each semester, over the course of my high school, I’ve had time to reflect on my classes and the ATL’s for each of my subjects. Here are three ATL’s that I have shown in two or more subjects.


Research

One clear area of research done in a subject was in my Extended Essay on music, where I focused on the Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and the themes created for each of the characters. The Extended Essay is a huge research project, involving several different secondary sources, while doing my own primary research based directly off the sheet music. The secondary sources were used from various sources on the Internet such as HookTheory, which helped me understand the fundamentals of music theory, which aided me when analysing the music directly. Other sources from sites such as Britannica were used to further guide me when explaining the importance of certain musical techniques, such as tone or rhythm. A large part of the research done for my EE however was all primary and done by me. Most time was spent on annotating the sheet music, marking down certain types of chords and the emotion that they portrayed, and other musical techniques like that. This was the first time that I had ever done a research project like this, so I was able to gain various skills when it came to analysing music, something I was always interested in. When it came to secondary sources, multiple sources were used to back up the information found in order to ensure that the information was accurate. All of my sources were cited in the essay using the MLA8 format. My Extended Essay can be found here.

Another research project was the Internal Assessment for Geography. This projected involved collecting evidence and comparing it to theories. Various different sources was used in this assessment. Often information was taken from text books from class, such as talking about the characteristics of a destructive wave, while other times sources were taken from the Internet, either in text for or in picture form, such as the formation of a sand dune. Often the sources from the Internet was backed by the theories that were taught in class or in the textbooks. This was a large research project due to the fact that the evidence found had to be explained through theories, leading me to often research more about theories and ideas that I only knew the basics of. My Geography IA can be found here.


Transfer

There is one class that I have been able to connect theories and ideas from other classes into. I take biology at a standard level, while taking geography and psychology as a higher level. One unit that I’ve learned in biology is ecology. The ecology unit has a section about global warming and how greenhouse gases work. This is similar to a unit in Geography about the environment. While naturally in biology, there is more focus on the science behind greenhouse gases and global warming, whereas in geography there is more focus on the geographical consequences of global warming. However, there is a lot of overlap, and being able to transfer the information between classes is quite helpful during revision time. Along with this, techniques for writing long answer questions  that I’ve learned in geography have proven to be useful in my biology test. For one question, focusing on antibiotics, I was able to gain several extra points by following the main rule ingrained into my brain from geography – define and explain terms. Small skills like this for organisation have been quite helpful for several other subjects as well.

Another area of transfer has been between psychology and biology. In psychology there is a unit focusing on the biological level of analysis (BLOA), whereas in biology the options unit is neurobiology. In psychology, there is focus on areas such as localisation of areas of the brain, or the role of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline or dopamine. These aspects are also explored in biology, but just to different extents. In biology the development of the brain and the different sections are heavily focused on, whereas in psychology this is not as important. However, it is pleasent to see the similarities and connections between the two subjects, especially when recognising some of the aspects from one class – such as mentioning Broca’s area or neuroplasticity in biology, and already recalling the case studies or experiments towards this ideas from psychology.


Reflection

First of all, my GCD’s are one example of reflection done on several subjects and activities that are a part of my life. However, there are other cases of reflection in my school life as well.

There was much reflection done in preparation of many English assignments. Firstly, for our TransLit Essays, we had done one introduction paragraph and one first body paragraph for each of the possible books that we were allowed to write the essay on. Reflection had to be done for each of the practice paragraphs based off the grades received as eventually we would have to chose one of the essays to continue upon for our final essay. There were different aspects that had to be considered for each practice essay. I didn’t chose the essay topic solely based on which had the highest score. Instead I considered the grade, but more on how passionate I felt about the thesis of the essay, along with other factors such as organisation of the evidence. Based off this, I decided to write on my final practice essay, as it was one of the better books out of the selection, had the most interesting thesis, and had one of the better scores.

Another aspect of reflection is one that is done at the end of every semester, where students are asked to reflect upon their work and development in school and activities. By doing this every semester allows me to look back and see how much I’ve improved throughout the months, but also gives me motivation to realise where I currently am, and areas that I can continue to improve upon for the next semester. Here is one example of my reflection from the first semester of 11th grade:

I was nervous starting the IB this year, and I truly felt the pressure with my grades. But with that being said I don’t think that I’m doing too bad so far. The subjects that I’m doing best in are the Geography and Psychology, which are lucky both my HLs. These two classes, along with my other HL English Literature are the ones that I’m enjoying the most. But, when it comes to my SLs, I’m having most difficulty with Japanese and especially Maths. The level of math that I’m learning this year is completely different to what I learned in previous years, so I’m finding it difficult to adapt to the level that everyone else is at, but I think throughout the one semester I’ve worked well attempting to understand the units learned in the class. Japanese is another subject that I’m struggling in, as my Japanese level has been quite low, and I’m finding it hard to catch up to the level being expected of the class.

GCD – Personal Goal

In Grade 10, as part of the MYP, I was required to take part in the Personal Project. The Personal Project is where students work towards creating a product over a prolonged period of time. At the time, I was very interested in graphic designing and TV shows, and so naturally I used this opportunity to combine both of these interests. My goal was to learn more about graphic designing though creating 5 movie style posters that represented and advertised some of my favourite episodes from 5 different TV shows.

So with this goal in mind, this was the plan that I created for myself. Firstly, I focused solely on researching graphic designing, through various sources. I focused on looking up on Google or Youtube methods for creating movie posters, while I looked in books at different types of graphic designs, for inspiration. After using the sources, I created both my TSC, along with an action plan.

There were 3 TSC drafts, with my final one focusing on the smaller details, as my first couple were quite general and vague, such as “viewer is impressed by poster”, as “impressed” is a subjective term. Then, I included points in the TSC directed towards whether the viewer had watched the episode before or not, as this would allow me to focus certain points depending on the viewer.

As for my action plan, it was quite simple as there are not many steps towards creating posters. The action plan focused on both short term deadlines – such as asking opinions on my sketches, and long term deadlines – such as sketching the posters to creating the actual posters.

When it comes to achieving my goal, I was pretty pleased with my outcome. Here’s an extract from my Personal Project Report, where I reflected on my achievement:

“Overall I am pretty happy with the results of my final products (Appendix F). I am impressed with the fact that I actually managed to complete them, and I think the overall reaction to the posters were good, as seen at the personal project exhibition. In terms of the TSC I developed, I think that I hit some of the criteria quite well, such as “4+ posters made” as I ended up creating 5. But for the more specific and complicated criteria, I think for some posters I hit higher than with there other posters. At the exhibition, many of the viewers were impressed with the posters created, and that was one of my main criteria. Often the more popular posters were the ones that the viewers watched, and so that helped show me that I had designed the poster well, and that it portrayed the episode well. For those who had watched the episode, many times they would point to the poster and mention about how they love that episode and that TV show. For those who did not know the TV shows, they seemed interested in the posters by exclaiming that they were really well done, and I recall one person having a fright when one of my posters were presented on the computer, which was one of the emotions I wanted to portray in some of my posters. All the posters were related to the episode, and I think that they did not spoil the episode. There was one poster however, the Almost Human one, that I feel did not portray the episode well, and was similar to existing posters because I tried to use Karl Urban to try attract the viewers into watching it. That is a technique often used in movie posters, as famous actors or actresses encourage the viewers to watch the movie. I think with a couple of posters it was easy to understand, but also with the Almost Human poster it was hard to tell what the TV show or the episode was about. With the other posters, it was easy to understand what the general plot or story of the TV show or episode was, as the images were more precise. But I think overall, the posters hit the high points on the TSC I had created.”

As for reflecting, looking back on the project, I’m glad that I was able to do it as it helped me enhance my creativity skills, seen through various pages in the yearbook, but also helped prepare me for the IB, especially in terms of the Extended Essay, as this was also a project that was done over a prolonged period of time. At the time of completing the Personal Project, this is what the project meant to me:

The impact of this project was perhaps not big on the community, but it was mainly on me. But that is what initiated when I chose my global context, as I wanted to  focus on my and improving my skills. When doing this project it helped me realise the potential that I had for graphic designing. But the general project itself also impacted me. It helped to keep on striving throughout the ten months, while at times I just wanted to stop working on it, the project helped me learn to keep on working for a long time. Something I did not expect to learn from this project was to know when to take breaks. While this was a very long project in which I had to slowly keep on working on throughout time, this project made me realise that at times, my mental health is more important than trying to complete a project in a specific amount of time. My personal project helped me realise how graphic designers think, and more specifically, how those who design movie posters think. At times, some movie posters do not have a lot of thought put into them, because the money for the movie is used for other factors. Creating the posters made me realise the struggle that designers might potentially have to go through.

For more evidence of the Personal Project, please see here for my Personal Project Report.

GCD – Community Engagement + Digital Citizenship

Please listen to the audio reflection here.

An official description of Tag Wrangling from the website is:

“Sorts and organizes tags on the Archive of Our Own according to the Archive’s Tag Wrangling guidelines, linking related tags together for better filtering and searching, while allowing users to tag their works however they prefer.”

Solving a problem with a character tag with a Co-Wrangler

Solving a problem with a character tag with a Co-Wrangler

Working with a Co-wrangler about a problem with a relationship tag.

Working with a Co-wrangler about a problem with a relationship tag.

Part of the Intermediate Stage of learning how to wrangle

Part of the Intermediate Stage of learning how to wrangle

My current homepage of the fandoms that I wrangle.

My current homepage of the fandoms that I wrangle.

GCD – Management

There are two positions that I’ve held in two different activities that have shown my responsibility in managing groups and events. This can be seen in my contribution as Vice-Officer, therefore the Elections Officer during the President and Vice-President elections, and as an editor in the 2015-2016 Chowa Yearbook Team. I have been in both of these activities since Grade 6 until Grade 12.

 


Elections Officer 2015-2016

As the Vice-Officer of the Student Council 2015-2016, I was also the Elections Officer during the election term as I decided to not run for any position. During this time I worked with another council member, and to work out many different details to ensure that the elections ran smoothly.

Firstly, dates had to be organised for a series of events that annually take place during the election season. This involved setting the dates for the class elections, the nomination forms being submitted for the presidential/vice-presidential candidates, for when campaigning begins, the final speeches for the presidential/vice-presidential candidates, the final voting, and then the meeting for the new student council. Communicating with the one of the Student Council supervisors, we worked out the dates and informed the administration.

Secondly, we had to focus on creating the scenarios to give to the candidates. Scenarios are given to challenge the candidates, and allows the voters to see the way that think, and how they’d react to situations as either the President or Vice-President. It was felt that the scenarios of the previous year were not serious nor realstic, and therefore didn’t represent the Student Council properly. The finalisation of the scenrios was done during a lunch time and here’s an example of one for the president:

A broadcaster has gone home to parents explaining that next year, the school day will be extended to 5 o’clock, before after-school activities. After hearing about it from their parents, a number of students are upset about the change and are threatening to go on strike. They are rallying support. What would you do to represent them?”

Thirdly, smaller details, such as the order of candidates or the order of the official day was finalised, along with writing the script for the actual day. It was decided that the Vice-P would go first, seeing as there was only one nominee. Then the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. After the President candidates were to give their speeches, with the order to be selected at random beforehand. After the speeches, questions could be asked, and then an introduction to the scenarios was given. Then after each candidate answered their scenario, the audience was allowed to ask general

Hosting the Presidential Speeches with Kate. M

Hosting the Presidential Speeches with Kate. M

questions to the candidates. During this time, the presenters–me and the other student council member–had to select members from the audience based on grade, as we didn’t want to focus on one grade in particular. The script can be found here.


Chowa Yearbook Editor 2015-2017

Being a Yearbook Editor  for two years has really pushed my dedication to this group. In the 2015-2016, Yearbook ran twice a week, from 4-6. However, as an editor, when we had meetings for the editors they would often run past 6 o’clock on a school evening. This proved to be tough, but I didn’t particularly mind because I enjoy helping out the Yearbook team, because everyone looks forward to it at the end of the year. This dedication was really important in the time when the Yearbook was due to be sent to the publisher, as many pages were unfinished. This required me to stay everyday after school for many many hours, checking which pages were in, editing pages, and more. This time was stressful, but we managed to complete it in the end .

One aspect that I was in charge of was the communication between the school’s literary magazine group and the Yearbook group, as we wanted a collaboration in which they would help write up some parts of the Yearbook. I initiated this with the supervisor of the activity, and we’re still working together now, in which I am still the spokesperson between the two groups.

This year, 2016-2017, I’m one of the senior editors, which is one of the most important positions as the seniors are given a large proportion of the book. Along with this, the senior editors are given the responsibility to ultimately control and organise the majority of the book, such as choosing the theme, colours, and more. So far it’s going so good, except the actual test will be during the week that the yearbook is due. The Senior Editors have talked to the seniors again about their pages, and it’s been a very organised system.

GCD Communications – Multilingual

Please listen to the audio post here for my reflection, and there is something that I’d like to add. I’m fascinated by the way that language works, and so being around various types of languages is something that I truly appreciate in my daily life, and I hope that in the future I still try keep Japanese and my other languages in my life. My Duolingo account can be found here. An elaborated audio file is found here.

Global Perspectives

Throughout the years, I had done a couple of activities that give me more perspective in global issues.

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Firstly, in the 9th grade, we went to Phuket, Thailand, and one of my most memorable moments of that trip was being able to help clean up and build a school in a Burmese refugee camp. This moment was quite important to me as I had not really realised that how lucky I was to be studying in YIS and in Japan. It made me understand and realise that not everyone is lucky as I am, and while I had known this before, it gave me a reality check about the whole situation in the world about those who are not as fortunate.

In the school, we helped clean up, and repaint it. I helped mainly with the repainting of the walls. While other students helped paint a design for the one wall, I helped with just the simple painting of one colour. Firstly, I helped by painting the outside of the school, by repainting the doors and the walls. And after the outside was done, we moved into the classrooms and painted the inside. The entire experience is something I had never been through, and really opened my mind up especially when we got to see the children come to school and work with them.

This experience reminded me of how lucky am I to be in a lifestyle that allows me for an good education, where everything I need is available. Along with this, this trip showed me that Thailand is not only beaches and resorts –  there is the other side of it, that is so often ignored by tourists. It’s a reminder for me that because some countries have a luxury side to them, it’s too easy to forget that there are so many that are less fortunate, and don’t get the support that they deserve.


My seating at the conference.

My seating at the conference.

Another more recent trip I’ve been on that opened my global perspectives was the MUN trip to IASAS in Bangkok, from November 12 to the 14th. I was the delegate of Sierra Leone in the Human Rights Council, so from the beginning I had to keep my mind open as Sierra Leone had different opinions of the topics then I did. The three topics were: the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, the question of increasing the economic, social and political inclusion of women and the question of treatment of protesters by security forces. Through research and multiple drafts of my speeches, I realised that my personal views had to be discarded for the next couple of days, to accurately represent Sierra Leone. After giving the opening speech to the council, the delegates separated into groups for one of the topics, and prepared to create resolutions for the topic chosen.

I had chosen to focus on the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, and worked with countries such as Qatar, Sudan, and Cuba. Through creating the resolution, I understood how certain types of governments might work through saying one thing but saying the other. I felt this because this was the Human Rights Council, and humans deserve the right of freedom of speech. But, not all countries, such as Sierra Leone, want to achieve this due to the want of controlling the population. Because of this clauses had to be written in a way that the submitters’ countries would agree with, with the other delegates (not a part of the resolution) would not find suspicious and not morally right.

Later on in the conference when we debated all the resolutions, there had been situations in which my personal views had to be placed aside in order to accurately represent the situation in Sierra Leone – such as with women empowerment, where a strong argument was that by banning certain practices, such as female genital mutilation, insults the country’s cultural practices. Arguments such as this occurred throughout the conference and it allowed me to really understand the different situations that occurs in less economically developed countries.

Through seeing situations first hand in Phuket, or representing an LEDC that is so different to my own country, I’m able to have a broader view of the different types of lives that occur in different countries.

An elabroated audio file is found here.

Arts for Life – Music

Me playing My Heart Will Go On in 2013, May.

Me playing My Heart Will Go On in 2013, May.

I have the ability to play four instruments, but I focus primarily on the piano and the clarinet. I’m still taking music class now in high school, and am still taking piano lessons and am in the wind ensemble.

I’ve been playing the piano since I was 4, but had to stop when I was 4 and a half because my hands were too small for me to try play. But then I had begun playing the piano once more when I was 6 years old. Though I may not be the best at playing, but I have continued playing ever since. Every year, I have to play at a Christmas piano concert, at Yokohama Union Church, along with my teacher’s other students. And every other year,  I have to play at a huge musical hall, in front of a lot of people. I always enjoy playing the piano by myself at home alone, where no one can hear my mistakes, but in front of people, I get pretty nervous. And it’s pretty hard to play the piano when your hands are shaking like crazy, but I believe that sometimes I really pull the song off. I believe that I will continue taking piano lessons until I graduate, but even then, hopefully I will have the opportunity to keep on playing the piano. The audio for My Heart Will Go On can be heard here.

One of the things I was extremely excited about in the 5th grade was the music curriculum. We had to decide whether or not we wanted to join the Japanese instrumental group that was primarily koto, or the instrumental group. I had chosen the instrumental group, and even though my first choice for instrument was playing the flute, my teacher deduced that I’d be better at playing the clarinet. Thus began me playing the clarinet since the 5th grade. In order for me to improve even more outside of class, I started taking personal lessons for about a year with another clarinet friend of mine. In the 6th grade I continued playing the clarinet, but then in the 7th grade I joined the wind ensemble to focus on the clarinet, so that in my music class I could try playing different instruments. I’m still in wind ensemble playing the clarinet. I don’t play the really high parts of songs, as I still find that hard for me, but hopefully in the future I will practice even more, and be able to do so. I enjoy playing the clarinet in the wind ensemble. There’s something about just playing your own part, but put together with everyone else’s parts it just sounds like the best thing ever. So this year is currently my 3rd year playing in the wind ensemble. Two of the songs that we played for wind ensemble in the first semester can be found on the wind ensemble’s supervisor’s blog, here.

In my music class, this year I’ve played the piano and the flute for the assessments, and I’m hoping that in the future that I’ll be able to start playing the saxophone again, and maybe learn some more instruments.