July 2018 archive

Wellness- Cheerleading

Now that I think, I am glad I did cheerleading outside of school. I was in a Japanese community with strict Japanese rules which is tougher compared to inside school activities. An example I could give is mainly manners and also they only gave us 30sec of water breaks. After a water break, we needed to run to not lose time. Well, before we go into details about my wellness, let me introduce my team. My local team, Shibaura Angeles, is a very top level and famous cheerleading club in Japan. A lot of people in other teams admire us for our performances and level of skills. There, I was in the very top class named EXTREME. We usually have practice  2 times a week for 2  hours, however, during competition month-3 times a week with 4hours of practice on weekends. The Extreme is meant to be role models for outside teams and the teams for our own club. We had pressures to be good role models for perfect performance, perfect energy and of course, manner as well. I have been in the Extreme team for a lot of years and it strongly taught me 3 basics of wellness: mental, physical and emotional. Reflecting back now, I became a better adult and become a strong athlete.

Physical is a very important strength in Cheerleading. We use a lot of strength and power to move, tumble and also to lift people up. Thus, cheerleading uses a lot of energy compared to any other sports because we use our brain and we use our full body. Cheerleading has no rest between music unline running, swimming or there is no distance/time decided. In addition, running is a one-way track/path, however, in cheerleading, we have to move up and down, left to right, flip back and forward and so on. All these strengths I used in cheerleading gave me a strong physical condition. I personally still do struggle to breathe in and out while practicing my performance. Depending on how much you emphasize and give energy in performance, the more strength you will need. Yet, 6 years old strong training still makes me throw up sometimes on the mat.

In my local team, we warm up 15 minutes of running and we go straight to jump practice. We usually jump for 30 minutes. Then, depending on the days, we have our own personal trainer who trains us full body such as cardio, muscles, and for strong movements for an hour. Personally, I like to do my own training such as going to the gym on my own time. In addition to getting my own personal trainer outside of the club to understand the places, I am weak at.  It helped me a lot to be a strong athlete and has helped me feel easier to train during practice.

Furthermore, cheerleading is a very competitive sports inside the club and outside of the club. This means that we do act like a family but most of the people have rivals for spots. Since it is a performance, it is better to have good spots such as in the middle front or the middle to start off with. Those are the best positions because everyone can see you and it shows the audience that you are skillful. Personally, I didn’t have any rials or never felt pressured by the people around me. Not in my local cheerleading club. However, I did have an emotional breakdown from a lack of performances. First of all, I got emotionally stressed on my knee and my ankle which connected to my performances in competition. Since we perform all together and showing a miss during a competition is a huge thing. I used to have it a lot when I was new to cheerleading and even though in practice you show no miss in performance due to the lack of confidence and nervousness, I used to show a lot of miss aka tumbling misses. Emotionally, I felt guilt and sorryful for not perfecting my performance. My emotions decrease even further when my coach stopped using me to tumble and gave me bad spots when creating a new routine. The atmosphere from the coaches gave me a strong message of disappointment in my performing skills and I knew I was ranked down in their favorite list.

To change myself, what I did was I went on a diet during the summer. I knew myself I was very heavy and due to the cause of my weight, I wasn’t able to show good strength, good performances, and injuries. Through the process of running a lot and only eating 2 meals I day, I ended up losing at least 8kg in 10month. Luckily, I was right about my weight needed to be changed. My body was lighter and easier for me to move around. I developed my tumbling skills in less than a year with different varieties of tumbling skills. This bumped my emotions up and acing all my performances after my diet. In addition, this has mentally supported me by loving who myself even better and gave me more confidence in each competition that I have performed really well.

Through the process of experiencing a roller coaster of physical, mental and emotional, the local team was just a practice. As I walk the path to become more competitive, I tried out of to be a representative of JAPAN: TEAM JAPAN 2017. Then, I started to call myself an elite athlete.   Compared to my local team, it was a whole new level. More competition, more strength, more injuries, more pressured by others and strict coaches.

Here, my mental has improved the most. As an elite cheerleader, mental is the most significant thing at the end because we need to believe each other and most importantly, in yourself to achieve our own goals and to perform the best you can but generally, mental was tough. The camps were basically a full day from 5:00am to 10:00pm  or maybe until 00:00am if the coach doesn’t accept on our practice routine. As mentioned, listening to this, it is mentally tough to follow. What I learned from here is that I learned how to keep my energy and when I should take rest during the practices. Since we are not allowed to sit down or yawn, I needed to play smart and understand my energy level which is why mental was a huge thing.

Moreover, as the level of skill increases- the harder your levels are, there is more pressure to performance 100% clean. Unlike math, there is no formula or an independent valuable because humans are different every day. We all act differently every day. If we act the same 365 days we are robots. THus, competing in a competition like ICU- International cheer union- also a cheerleading Olympics and WORLD, is pressured. Pressured than your final exams. I actually don’t know how I did it but I know myself that I am mentally strong in performing. I used to shake when I step on the mat however, i may still do but I know it feels different. I like to perform now and I like people to watch me and to take pictures which is why I know mentally I have improved so much. When I perform I like to say ‘ you are the star, you are the no.1 and just do it.’  – always gives me 100% performance.

All in all, TEAM JAPAN- representing Japan has strongly given me such good education on psychical, emotional and mental. However, due to the support of my local cheerleading team,  gave me ‘a practice’ or I should say prepared myself before TEAM JAPAN and because of that, I am now who I am and I was able to develop myself even further.  I  Psychical can always help me with different sports such as volleyball because I do play volleyball as a school sport. What I thought was if people want to be physically strong inside, you also have to be emotionally and mentally strong as well to show 100% performance. All these years of cheerleading mainly taught me how to be a good athlete. Emotionally and mentally could also help me in presenting a presentation or dance in front of the class because a good performance or presentation can’t be good unless you feel confident.

Advanced Academics- Pre-College Summer Program 2017

The summer of 2017, after 10th-grade year, I traveled to California, Los Angeles to participate in a Pre College summer program in UCLA. I used to go to sports camp and have homestay, however, going to a college and staying in a freshmen’s dorm was my first time in my life. I wanted to participate in a Pre-College Summer Program because I wanted to challenge myself academically, stepping in early for IB and most of all, to improve my self-independence.

I have used Summer Discovery to enter a Pre- College Summer Progam which was a was a 6 weeks session in UCLA from the end of June to the first week of August. As mentioned, going to a camp wasn’t my first time, therefore, I wasn’t nervous about traveling alone. I was more excited and joyful to explore myself and to take a journey for new experiences in my life. But, It was my first time living alone and spending/sharing a room with a roommate. Since I am an only child in my family, my parents are very protective and do not trust me with self-independent about lifestyle-aka can’t look after myself because I do rely on my mom a lot. My main goal from this program was to develop my academic ability/knowledge and making my own decision, meaning, a person who can think as a college student and makes good plans in their studying. However, apart from academics, one of my goals out of many was to show myself and to my parents that I am an independent teenager who can cook and make smart decisions.

My UCLA roommate








Introduction to Psychology In UCLA:

Psychology has always been an interesting subject for me from MYP year. Psychology is such a broad subject that I still cannot answer a question about my favorite and my strongest content in psychology, however, the interest in psychology came from the connection within a real-life situation: such as mental sickness, decision making, memory, stress and so on. I always wonder why and how our brain functions to actions and how we tend to act the way we want to. All these questions and interest concluded to a path of me picking psychology as one of my main pre-summer class to learn more deeply about the aspect of psychology. Also, of course, I was an upcoming junior ( going into an IB life), I wanted to take psychology as my IB course thus, I wanted to start earlier to get a better knowledge in 11th grade.

My psychology class was filled with high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. My psychology class was twice a week(2hour lecture) with a mid and final semester exam. In each topic, we receive a slideshow that our teacher created. As this was my first time listening to long lectures and taking notes, I didn’t know what best fits me to multitask.

Each recording shows the evidence of how I changed my studying.

The picture above shows a simple note taking from the class. When I went back in my dorm to self-study what I learned in class, I realized that I have missed a lot of important details which it was hard for me to understand the notes I am even though it made sense when I was taking the class. Then I used a strategy my cousin did when she was a university student. Since I knew my psychology teacher talks really fast, I recorded his voice so that when I go back into my room I can re-note the information I have missed.  Thus, the fast lecture and taking notes has helped me in IB classes which I know what works for me and hat doesn’t. In addition, I learned how to take good notes which also helped me in my IB class in 11th grade.










Moreover, another thing we did in our psychology class was to read a case study relating to a topic we learned in class. Our job was to rewrite the study into our own words and summarize the whole case studies. I love reading however, I find reading long studies by a scientist is boring. It was very challenging for me to follow what was happening in the studies, however, as I kept on reading and reading, I have learned a lot of vocabulary and I learned the fun of reading non-fiction.

On the other hand, other than psychology, my other class which was an enrichment course was an SAT prep course. SAT prep course in UCLA gave me 4 chances to take a practice test which will help me in future test in 11th grade. They provided me with good condition to prepare for the actual test and gave me good tips and advice in the math section. Math is not a strong subject to me and still struggling but UCLA SAT prep class gave me a really good tip that I still use in my test. We had our practice test every 2 weeks which gave me confidence and shown growth in my SAT score little by little. I realized that if I study SAT every day for an hour I can improve and feel more confident with time and solving the problem.

Personally,  2017 Summer Pre-College Program has challenged me academically and to be honest, I have never studied this hard during the summer. Since I do competitive cheerleading, I have never deeply focused on education aka- no sports for 6 weeks. I can say it was challenging and hard for me to focus only on education because I am a very active person which is why it was also very challenging for me to focus on education with no active movements. just keep on writing, reading, writing and reading. Also, to only academics, I have experienced fights between friendship in this camp. I thought this can happen in my future university and I am happy that I was able to solve it. I always tell my mom what happened and get advice however since I was alone for 6 weeks and I wanted to stop relying on my mom and be more confident n my action, I am very happy that I was able to solve the situation as soon as possible.

All in all, I felt that this program helped me for college in the future and how to survive in IB. In addition to experiencing college-level academics and a step to being an adult. I am proud that I was able to achieve my own goal to become a better person and be more self-reliance as well. By going to this camp, I was able to understand who I am to achieve my academics better and take notes effectivly.