IB Retreat: TOK, CAS, EE

For the past 2 days, the Grades 11’s engaged in 2 days of informative sessions in the form of a retreat at the Gold Coast Hotel.

I think the most interesting thing about the 2 days was the discussion on TOK. Even though the discussion topics were very controversial (cannibalism, stoning), I think it allowed me to think in a different way and reevaluate our personal morals and whether we should respect other people’s cultures. I’m still pretty unsure what it has to do with. I think the biggest takeaway from the experience was not this discussion, but the reassurances from counsellors, teachers that they will support us through the 2 years of the Diploma Programme. I kind of already knew many things the counsellors mentioned during the presentation, but it was reassuring to hear new information on universities admissions etc.

From the reassurances I’ve heard from counsellors, teachers alike, I think it’s best to try my best at school. I think the most important thing is to ask for help and let teachers support you through the process. Maybe in the past, I thought teacher hosted remedial, and meetings were embarrassing, but I’ve learned that these 2 years are extremely important and I won’t stop at nothing to get the help I need in my subjects in order to do my best.

I think the most worrying thing in these two years are completing the other mandatory compulsory requirements of the IB, the Extended Essay and CAS work. I believe the extended essay will be straightforward if I meet with my supervisor frequently and work on it frequently and stay on top of my other work + EE. I am concerned about CAS even though there is no suggested amount of hours in this year’s revised guidelines. I’ve participated in too many activities in G.7, 8 and so I’ve toned that down significantly since and I think it’s a challenge for me to resume more activities to fulfil the requirements of the CAS. I think this requirement reminded me to have more of a balance between academics and activities.

The poverty simulation at Crossroads was enlightening, but it wasn’t as intense as I had imagined it to be as I was only in charge of making paper bags and not the one who had to beg for money in exchange of paper bags. Otherwise, I thought the discussion and talk by DJ was extremely inspirational partly due to his own passion coupled with the personal knowledge of poverty (in a simulated fashion) really allowed us to think critically about the various problems in the world whether it is poverty, global warming etc. I think it reminded us to think about the world and not to just think about ourselves. This gives me another idea of what I can do for a CAS project.

I think the retreat was pretty good in encouraging unity within the grade and that we are in in it together to learn and tackle the final exam. I think the different sessions idea was pretty effective as it allowed us to get a sampler of what we will be expecting in the IB. I especially liked “The Real IB” session as it allowed us to ask former students more academic and personal questions counsellors and teaches would not know the answer to. I think continuing this would be helpful for other students in the future.

I think the counsellor Q&A was useful and therefore it should have been longer as they really provided as with information students would appreciate knowing.

The only thing I think was a disappointment at first was the roommate issue. Even though I didn’t know the people I was paired with that well, they were very accommodating and nice. I think this arrangement could change or improve even though I was not greatly affected by the current procedure.