What does CAS mean, theoretically speaking creativity, activity, and service which aims at involving students in a range of activities alongside academics, to develop new skills or individual personality. If I had been asked this at the beginning of the diploma programme I would have said probably another mandatory core requirement (which it actually is) to get a Diploma. However, as the academic year started passing by with every single activity I participated in small initiatives that I took or even getting out of my comfort zone by taking up physical activities just for the sake of meeting my IB requirements. I realized that every new challenge that I undertook, every commitment that I made to things that I didn’t really enjoy doing moreover collaboratively working with new people which may not have been the most comforting and enjoyable things that I may have done. But by doing so was slightly making me more open to new things/activities, confident, more responsible towards community and environment and also taught me time management as I was juggling my time between my academics and extracurriculars.
From my perspectivity and what I have experienced in the past two years is that the overall IB CAS is two step development programme helping every individual develop internally in terms of personality or confidence or new skills etc. and externally in terms of motivating students to contribute their part of service in the community and towards the environment. When I think about my CAS experience overall it was highly thrilling with more unexpected surprises and challenges but the one experience that has majorly contributed in molding me in the way that I am today is the Diploma Fest. It was the first event in which I myself decided to take up more responsibility and ended up taking becoming the resource incharge for the entire event. Initially it started off with sounding like a pretty easy job (like I just had to arrange resources that were required for the activities and performances in the event) with another person on my side (my partner) however as actually began to do my job as a resource incharge I realised that even though the job description was easy, the hard part was to actually make people do stuff. We faced a really hard time in getting the list of things that was needed to be arranged as people don’t really work as you wish and one has to push them hard enough to get the work done. This journey helped me develop leadership skills, time management as to how to make people according to you and handle last minute crisis and taught the importance of working collaboratively to make the entire process smoother.
While doing CAS I discovered that one can never completely achieve its true potential or personality as every new thing that we try or new experiences/challenges we undertake act as a building block, continuously redefining and enhancing our true nature and persona. Furthermore, I would also like to confess that anything but the activity and secondly the service part had been the most difficult components of CAS to fulfil as considering my nature I am not a pro-outdoor person, physical activities have been the toughest part as I like to do stuff that come under my comfort zone which don’t push me to communicate with people that are unfamiliar. That is why I found it very difficult to achieve learning outcomes which needed me to show the importance of working collaboratively and undertaking new challenges. Even when I was selecting and planning my CAS project I tried so hard to make sure that it doesn’t completely go out of my comfort zone to make things smooth as it was the only requirement which required me to give my large proportion of time from my schedule and high commitment and a lots of hard work and I couldn’t have been able to do a thing which I didn’t like.
CAS not just gave me a chance to learn and develop new skills and abilities but more importantly helped in understanding my own strengths and limits. Also it has given me a chance to give back to environment and to the community like by volunteering for organizing an event for underprivileged students in my community or by helping in building an artificial forest in my state. Overall I believe CAS is a growing process that has help me build myself past 2 years and which I believe will also help me grow though the remaining half of my life.