GCD Posts(Varsity Cross Country) – Personal Goal

During this XC season I believed that I have learnt how to act as a leader. Being asked to serve the team as captain, it had enhanced and even strengthen my abilities to motivate and help others reach their maximum potential and improve their times week by week during our meetings at Tama Hills. Throughout the practices every week and even at races, I believe my strengths were my ability to keep myself motivated and even dedicated to run faster as time goes by. Furthermore, I learnt how to plan out the amount of energy I use during the running route, being effective in balancing out my energy at the beginning and sprinting at the end to throw off all the energy I had conserved before.

One of the challenges I have not come across in XC was my leadership skills. In the past, I have only learnt to contribute as a team member and dedicate my time to myself, solely focusing on my times that I wish to improve. Although, this year was different for me since I was laid the responsibility to look after my team mates. Especially during practices I would have just been assigned to run Yamashita Park. However, I had planned out different routes and see whether or not those routes I’ve chosen would benefit my team members to use different parts of their energy against flat roads, steep hills etc. Apart from practices, at races we would huddle together and I would put forward a few motivational words to get everyone on their feet. I believe the main highlight of this season was the fact that XC in YIS was finally qualified for AISA. Hence, being honoured to be elected as one of the representing runners of YIS, 10 runners(including me) flew to Seoul, South Korea for an inauguration XC tournament against other international/American schools in Korea and Japan. It was my first time, traveling to another country to participate in sports so it was a challenge for me to get use to run in unfamiliar areas and even take on more steeper hills and rigorous running routes than the ones we have been practicing in Tama Hills.

I had collaborated with every team member effectively. Mostly team members were focused and felt confidence and showed their effort and dedication putting into the practices and even races. In the beginning, some people were quite nervous and even tired to run longer distances. Although, by sharing my experiences with XC in general and even putting forward some advice, it had boosted their confidence as their motivation grew day by day. Whilst I’d run in practices, I would pass people who are walking and feeling exhausted already, but I had pushed their limits and ensured that nobody was walking at all, instead even jogging at minimum expectations.

Leadership and commitment does integrate very smoothly into this experience of mine. By acting as a leader to encourage people to development their cardio skills and perceive them improve their times, it simultaneously motivates me and without realising my dedication and commitment had increased and I believe all my peers and teachers have seen it too. I had devoted my time to shorten my time week by week. As a result that goal of mine had shown on my time records on athletics.net.

Reflecting upon the season, discerning skills that I have not before and compared to as of now, I had drastically improved in many areas. One major aspect that stands out the most is my leadership skills. Setting an example to have people follow my lead and help each other to gain more dedication, giving out advice was a huge step-up for encouragement, and even self perseverance to strive for better times. My communication skills was identifiable, for instance conveying straight forward motivational words to my team mates before races and even advising them during practices to show better running techniques.

If I were to repeat this activity again and still is to serve as captain, I would probably implement more running techniques and discover even more routes to find an optimal training method that suits everyone. The advice I had conveyed were quite broad e.g. “Swing your arms back and forth for more speed”, “Breathe at a constant rate.” I would research more professionally approved skills that will help boost the YIS XC reputation much higher against other schools. Despite after experiencing this sport, I still wonder where YIS will go further with AISA and how the upcoming training styles and seriousness of the team will become. I still hope to this day that I had been able to set an example for upcoming leaders to follow and even implement more teaching styles than what I have ever left in the team. From this experience, I had branched out to other ideas being quite intrigued in knowing more about the “Hakone University Student Marathon” which takes place every year. Their coaches develop their team mates to become such impeccably skilled runners that rank highly within the country, and watching them on TV is very intimidating and intense. But I wonder how the coaches teach their runners and their training styles which brings them up to a level that could even compete closely in the Olympics and other major track and field events in the world.

My second seed race in AISA Korea Tournament

GCD Posts(Tanner Orchestra) – Community Engagement

I noticed that one of my strengths were playing musical pieces in the appropriate theme it was composed for. Whilst merging with the other orchestra players, I was able to grasp the theme behind the music as the conductor expected for us to do. Hence, I believe that being able to do so, heavily contributed to a great outcome of elegant performances we have had in Tanner Orchestra this year. On the other-hand some of my weaknesses for areas of improvement could be to learn the pieces much more quickly so that I can play on time with the other players too. I believe that I am a slow sight-reader so despite my 12th year experienced skills in violin, I still tend to struggle a lot with grasping the scores themselves.

I believe the greatest challenge yet, it playing a solo piece accompanied by an orchestra. I have done numerous violin solo performances in the past, although they were all accompanied by a pianist hence it was easier for me to play the piece at my own desired tempo throughout the entire duration. However, orchestra did not seem to be the same case, where I had to be more observant and ensure that my accompanists are playing the right notes/tempo which should correlate with my piece rhythmically and melodically. Furthermore, it was more difficult to focus on my own playing with numerous other sounds and notes played in the back.

Practicing the pieces numerous times is the only way to improve my violin playing. Although rather than just naturally practicing whatever piece I was given, I had planned out which parts of the piece I shall play quietly or loudly making use of a wide range of dynamics e.g. Diminuendo, Crescendo etc. To sustain the etiquette and elegancy of the piece, I had listened to professional performances and CDs online to really grasp the in-depth context and intention of the pieces I have played. Consequently, that had made it easier for me to decipher the scores and run through different segments of the composition so that I can ensure and clarify which parts I am playing wrongly or have the incorrect idea behind them.

I believe collaboration is a vital skill to orchestra playing, which is also quite self-explanatory from the meaning itself. The idea behind playing a piece simultaneously with other instrument players is a time-consuming and patient skill. I believe I have maintained that very effectively throughout the number of rehearsals we have had. I was quite observant, ensuring that I had started playing on the count of the conductor or the concert master. Whether it was the notes, melody or timing of the piece we had to stop numerous times which did take a while to finish a single piece. Although, we had helped each other by advising how to play a particular segment of the piece in the appropriate classical manner or improve upon the timing of an area. Eventually, we all seemed to lay hold of the concept behind the scores in which gradually made the songs flow smoothly with minimal errors or perhaps flawlessly. I personally believe that this skill ties in with one of IBHL subjects of Mathematics, where practice is key to solving and getting use to complex problems. Hence, “practice” plays such importance in both violin and mathematics where it can only be improved and even developed by attempting the practice numerous times and observing along the way to see what struggled me and how I could resolve the issue to improve my ability upon that skill-set to keep proceeding further into more complex situations.

Evaluating upon my learning in Orchestra, I am now able to work more effectively amongst different instrument players more smoothly and help each other keep track of our playing style ensuring that we all have the same idea of the given composition. Furthermore, I am more capable of performing solo pieces with the orchestra as I am more confident to focus on my playing in spite of my accompaniment with a clash of instruments behind me. My communication skills was very effectual throughout my learning, getting my message across to other players, advising how to play a specific part of a piece or in general, I had evaluated what my violin teachers told me to improve upon to clarify that I know exactly my areas of development. I am very social, as I ameliorated upon my ability to collaborate with people and assist each other to improve our performance and play week by week.

Although this experience is coming to an end, I still wonder how the Tanner Orchestra will continue after I leave school and head off to university. I am hoping that more violin players will join the orchestra in the future, and I hoped I led a good example to encourage more people to join in the upcoming years. The phenomenon behind working together and producing a piece of artistic expression whether it is art or music allowed me to link back to my time in Grade 10 where I performed as a back-up musician for the songs in a high-school musical as a part of our MYP Music class and I believe that was a great achievement of mine. What is really fascinating behind music is that I was given the opportunity to work with instruments both familiar and unfamiliar off. Nonetheless, making something happen by practicing and aligning different parts of a piece whilst integrating with a collision of a variety of instruments is the significance of collaboration in music, in which makes up of famous classical and modern musicians/artists and bands we know of today.

 

My violin solo performance at Tanner spring concert 2k17

GCD Post(Model United Nations) – Global Understanding

I believed that my oratory skills throughout the entire MUN experience was one of my strengths that I have realised. Whenever I went up to the podium to state the position of my country based on the issue of discussion as a whole, my voice was naturally sturdy and bold which had conveyed a strong impression to other delegates on the floor. With such a short time given for speeches, I believed I was able to convey concise detail of my country’s stance as I had been able to avoid any other time-consuming and any other unnecessary information that was needed. Although some drawbacks of my ability that I could think of are for instance my lack of knowledge based on that global issue. Concept wise I am able to understand the issue and how it revolves around our world, nevertheless I would only know vaguely about it. Hence, I believe that more studying and research is needed for that global issue which shall allow myself to observe different delegate perspectives more swiftly, and even come up with more future actions to put forward through whatever resolution I intend to make.

I believe the some of the challenges I’ve encountered within this activity involved mainly the entire system under MUN. It was a struggle and took some time to get use to the MUN terminology and specific MUN related commands made by Chairs. Especially a time I recall back in November when I participated in my first KIS MUN conference which was intimidating and even thrilling to see what other delegates had in their mind. Although the process was rapid where I couldn’t easily keep up with the pace hence I had stepped back multiple times and at times hesitated to express my opinions.

The planning process under anything whether it involves position papers or resolutions, I had constantly undergone research for the topic of matter. Obtaining difference news articles and speeches from governments regarding the issue, I have learnt different opinions and perspectives of the problem. Nonetheless, I have learnt that people don’t aline with the same viewpoint regardless of any issue, but that what shapes the intentions of MUN where we are given the opportunity to tackle a situation through different obstacles.

My collaboration skills were quite effective as I was able to discuss the issue and even debate with other delegates to observe the situation to a even greater extent. Whilst I was creating resolutions, I was able to communicate my points effectively and work with other delegates to productively come up with a sophisticated resolution that can be passed across the floor.

KIS Conference room

GCD post(HOPE Cambodia) – Global Understanding

HOPE Cambodia:

From my experience in Cambodia for the past week, I have learnt about a completely different perspective of life. It being my first time visiting southeast asia and a less economically developed country, I came across the acknowledgement of rural life and severe conditions that local families who are not financially stable experience. I had realised a conspicuous difference between hearing such facts from social media and actually visiting such place to deeply understand the atmosphere and see poverty in front of me.

In terms of my strengths, I have realised that I am a very hard-working individual. During the times where we’d help to build specific areas of the construction site or even work on other manual-labouring projects, I had made a huge contribution to particular tasks I was assigned. I almost worked non-stop taking a few water breaks, however the majority of the times I had put all my energy and effort to get closer to our expected outcome. That may have been the case that I couldn’t interact too much with the locals as much as I expected to do. I was too focused into labour that had restricted my time to spare some time exchanging idioms with the locals.

I believe the main challenge was to experience settling in a country that offers way limited resources compared to where we come from. It displays how fortunate we are in where we reside as of now. Visiting from a economically firm country, it gives us the idea to observe rural areas and see how we could help to sustain lives in need of standard resources that we could easily access but a struggle for them. In addition, working at the school construction site was another major challenge that I cannot forget. Manual labour doesn’t play a significant role in my life since I am encircled around school education, hence-wise it was a strain for me to adapt to such labour. Overcoming my time in the heat for hours pouring sweat and concentration was a great step-up for my physical capability.

In preparation for the experience, we helped each other fundraise attending weekly meetings with the HOPE Cambodia team whilst discussing ideas for upcoming events that help give an in-sight into the service trip. We were able to collaborate with each other, supporting each other’s backs whilst we help them achieve their goals alongside mine.

During the trip, I had worked with other trip participants effectively along with the locals as well. We each had our own ideas to reach the outcome for the day. Despite so, we were able to agree amongst each other and accumulate those ideas to formulate an idea that we could all agree upon. For instance, when we were assigned to groups to come up with ideas dedicating teaching skills to provide english lessons to the local students, we had gone back and forth with the brainstorming of such ideas since on the top of our minds even though we learn such language in an advanced level in school, it was a challenge to bring up basic ideas that could possibly help understand the basis of such Lengua Franca.

Visiting poor families with the guidance of the HOPE Office in Cambodia, I had encountered numerous global issues that range from water shortage to financial instability that all sum up the global issue of “poverty”. Before attending the trip, I had researched the financial status/economy of Cambodia seeing how the majority of the population are suffering under scarce situations with taxation and insufficient subsidies for the access of basic needs such as shelter, medication etc. Acknowledging those statistics and correlating to what I discerned from the trip, I have learnt the severity of suffocation and perceiving families working day and night-out to obtain basic needs pained me immensely, in a way that I felt a mixture of gratefulness and guiltiness for the life I am living right now in such a stable country.

Visiting the killing fields in Phnom Penh and Angkor Watt Temple in Siem Reap really symbolised the horrific event that petrified the Cambodians known for the “Khmer Rouge” which put millions of lives into fatal deaths. Learning such tragedy from the survivors and imagine what life would have been back then, it really tied into some of the subjects I take at school: History and Economics. Seeing how a disastrous event led to the drastic changes in people’s lives of today, I had learnt about the communist parties in Cambodia back in the 1970s whereas I currently study about Mao’s China in History, relating some key historical aspects and what both authoritarian leaders intend to achieve from their actions to take over power from their countries. Furthermore, studying subsidies and taxation in economics led to my understanding of the lack of funding in rural areas of Phnom Penh, Pursat etc. although it is said to be eased and better than before.

I would improve my communication skills as it was quite the effort to overcome the language barrier being difficult to interpret one another. I could’ve engaged more with the locals to acquire their perspectives of the project and how it had developed over the past couple of years since HOPE foundation has commenced.

Overall, from this experience I am able to build up a more solid background to what I know of the world that I had not acknowledged or only heard about before. Seeing a rural country for the first time in my life made my come to the realisation that I have more to see in life. Only living and seeing MEDCs wouldn’t have broaden my knowledge on such aspects I discern in different countries whether it ties into culture, tradition, economy etc. Coming back from this experience, I still wonder how the Cambodian people’s lives have changed over the years since HOPE had been established the poor in need. As of now, I have not yet witnessed the development of ameliorated access to resources such as water wells implemented in poor families homes.

 

Pursat secondary school construction site