Through my CAS experiences, I’ve had the opportunity for self-growth, to learn how to work collaboratively, to better my skills, to learn how to properly plan and initiate activities, and to engage in global activities. Stepping back from all of this now, something that has been consistent throughout all of my CAS involvement, and something that will continue to be consistent through my future activities and involvements is the concept of what comes from our actions.
There are consequences to every choice and action made, and I feel you can’t ignore that when it comes to CAS activities, whether they’re geared towards self-growth or community based. It can be especially poignant when looking at service activities. There are activities you can get involved with which may seemingly help others as related to global issues, but can also have unforeseen consequences. Before, we’ve learnt that when doing charity work it can be especially important to analyse and reflect on the charity itself. Some charities may keep more of the money raised than expected or may not be true to their mission statements. By supporting something you believe is doing good for others, you may inadvertently be involved in the exploitation of people. As someone who lives in a very global environment, I always have to remind myself of the results of my choices from an international standpoint. For instance, in Hong Kong, taxis are very cheap as compared to London, where I used to live. Whilst this means I might save money, an implication is it’s much harder for drivers to earn a living wage. The clothes I buy may come from sweatshops or the products I use may come from factories poisoning the atmosphere. Every one of my choices has results and implications that I may not always be able to see but I think through my CAS experiences I’ll be able to perceive more.
In all the CAS activities I’ve become involved with, I’ve always continually tried to think about other people and things involved that I could have an affect on. This ranges to the way I talk to others whilst give feedback in rehearsals for the school musical, to the charities and organisations I become involved with for service work, as at their own levels I always make choices and actions that affect others. Though whether I volunteer with a large charity or not may seem like it would have the affect of a small pebble in the ocean, it would still affect others in some way. If I were to get involved with a charity that didn’t always follow through with its promises, would I inadvertently be promoting that charity still to others around me who may join? Some impacts may seem more direct such as if I made a comment to a younger actor in rehearsal that wasn’t meant to be hurtful but came off like it to them, then that’s a consequence of me not being prepared enough or aware enough of the perspectives of people around me.
It would be impossible to have this perfect perception of everyone’s thoughts and feelings in order to help everyone (and that in itself brings about some ethical dilemmas) but it’s a challenge in itself that it’s an irreducible fact that any choice or action you take (not just in CAS) has impacts. What can help with this challenge though is continually learning and experiencing more from the world, by working with others and working on yourself to become more knowledgable about the footprint you have. My CAS experiences have helped with this. As I mentioned already, CAS activities give you many different kinds of chances, most importantly, the chance to understand yourself and your world more. It’s through this continual education that will extend far beyond my IB career that I’ll have the chance to understand the ethical results of my choices and actions more.