Beginnings: The Start of Our IB Journey
This August, the Year 12 students from YCIS Puxi took a trip to Sun Island, a rustic getaway on the outskirts of Shanghai. There, we hoped to learn more about the long and rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) journey that awaited us.
The first thing we did was to list three things we anticipated and three things we feared. As Extended Essays and college applications were mentioned, the reality of IB began to fully sink in, and we all realized just how much we had to grow up.
Group-reading a book by Carol Dweck on growth mindset was almost like an intervention. It gave a fascinating insight into how worldview can shape our approach to life, pushing us to re-evaluate how our own ‘fixed’ or ‘growth’ mindsets were impacting schoolwork.
Group discussions were a pivotal part of this trip, and teachers made sure that all students mixed with each other. Because of a shared ‘challenge’ in the daunting years ahead, there was a tangible sense of camaraderie and spirit. Solely through discussions, we found ourselves making fast friends with people we normally didn’t talk with, and who normally didn’t talk with us.
Later, groups were given one of ten IB Learner Profile Attributes to interpret and adapt into a five-minute skit. Although there was a lot of uproarious laughter when we gathered to show off our masterpieces, we all quietly took away the indisputable pearls of wisdom amongst the performances.
Of course, we played hard too!
We were given the choice of go-karting, crafts, or golfing. The thrills we experienced speeding under a hot sun, swinging a ball across acres of green, or even splatting acrylic paint on shirts, was something we all desperately needed – a gentle reminder that it’s okay to take a break once in a while and just have fun.
There were also various team-building activities, most notably ‘Bafa Bafa’ – an amusing game where we collectively had to learn a completely foreign, made-up culture. It helped open our eyes to appreciate different customs and become more accepting.
After our three days at Sun Island, it’s safe to say we all became more mentally prepared for the IB journey that will undeniably be challenging, but no longer frightening. The trip brought unexpected friendship and the realization that the years ahead don’t have to be difficult when we’re all going through it together.
By Gracey and Danan, Year 12, YCIS Puxi Secondary.