CAS in general has been a very fruitful experience for me, helping me learn and grow as a person. I think Nature Club’s Tree Plantation and Khel Mahakumbh are two activities that would stand out for me. While the first one can be categorised into the Service component, the latter one is an Activity. As a part of my ESS course, we have studied activities being done on a global scale which impact the nature negatively, and the importance of trees in this world has been reiterated time and again. Therefore, to be a part of a service which would impact mother nature positively had been on my list, which was successfully ticked off through this activity. Talking about Khel Mahakumbh, Basketball has become one of my newfound passions, and to be able to play for my school has been a really impressive and significant achievement for me. Both these activities, have acted as life lessons in many ways, helping me take baby steps onto the ideal path of life.
I have learned a magnanimous amount of lessons through CAS. Each component has helped me in different and significant ways to incline myself towards being a more mature and levelheaded individual.I think learning these lessons at the age of 16 will form a basis in helping me survive the struggles life has for me in the upcoming years. During and through team activities, I have been able to become more open-minded through listening to perspectives, opinions and approaches that my fellow members would have, Additionally, I have been able to become a better communicator, as actions and decisions need justifications in front of teams. Naturally, a time limit and deadlines have helped me become a thinker and a risk taker, simultaneously being principled. This is because creativity is required in order for my ideas to stand out, principles are required so that we don’t stray away from our ultimate goals, and risk taking is required in order to generate rewards. My CAS Project is an epitome of the three of these, as we catered to the Creativity component by making a Foosball table within a certain amount of time.
As briefly mentioned previously, I have learnt greatly about myself and others through CAS. I have been able to become more evaluative and analytical through CAS. Taking decisions which would have impacts on myself and others has been a significant part of CAS and because of this, I have become a better decision maker, taking a utilitarian approach. I have learnt to not panic in any emergencies or urgencies because what panic creates is chaos and confusion. What I have learnt about others is that if one person starts panicking, others start reflecting it. Moreover, panic derails us from achieving our goal, causes tension and stress and wastes time, effort and energy. On the other side, I have the opinion that emergencies should be a part of any activity/event as it nurtures our ability to perform under pressure, and make quick decisions, while helping us to become a more optimistic person. Optimism, is one more attitude that I have developed through CAS. When time is running faster than ever, and hopes of winning/completing a task on time is low, optimism could act as a gentle push which helps you cross the finish line. Sometimes, a positive outlook or a positive approach is all you need to inspire people working with you to work harder, faster better, in order to accomplish our ultimate objective.I believe CAS has helped me calm down and become more level headed, as emotions of anger/frustration has always deviated individuals from their paths and drained their energy. I have learnt to not waste my time on searching and shouting on a group member in case of blunders, and instead tried to be more positive and look for solutions. I yearned to move away from being a short tempered, and impatient individual and CAS has helped me do that exactly.
Throughout my CAS experience, I have encountered many difficult situations which needed to be resolved as soon as possible. Most of the time, difficulties faced involved being our precious time being at stake and were a result of poor communication. I have learnt that effective communication can resolve almost all matters. If wars are ended through communication, the issues we faced were to be paltry. Sometimes, difference in opinions, approaches and mindsets meant that things were done differently than instructed, resulting in conflicts. However, we always had someone to guide us through these : our mentors, parents, seniors, fellow members or ourselves! I think learning to help ourselves would be one of my greatest takeaways from CAS as when nobody steps up for you, you got to step up for yourself. Different people helped us in different manners. Incase of people like our mentors or parents, their approaches were more sophisticated, and helped us view situations with much more clarity and maturity. Simultaneously, our seniors or fellow members made us realise where we had gone wrong, and presented with approaches which would rectify the wrong. Either way, it enabled me to improvise and counter the difficulties with greater ease.
I think learning outcome 3: “Initiate and plan a CAS experience” naturally required the greatest amount of work, time, energy, brains and efforts to be carried out. This could be because we were required to start from scratch, starting from searching for ideas to perfecting its execution. So first up, I had decided to do something out of the box and thus I filtered events such as tournaments, fests and so on. Pairing up with two of my like minded classmates resulted in some serious brainstorming sessions, and after three long months, it resulted in us deciding to create one of a kind Foosball table which fitted our budgets. Initially, we figured out we had four months to execute this, but we didn’t realise where these four months flew by. The technical difficulties regarding the type and quantity of materials required were resolved by our supervisor and our school carpenter. Our commitment was on full display as we tackled time issues through putting in extra hours on chilly winter mornings before school. I also believe effective communication through the use of social messengers and division of work helped us channelise our energy into taking the next task available. I also learnt to value the virtue of patience, as our CAS project took us seven long months. Our patience was tested throughout these months, and I could only imagine what would have happened if we gave up in between.
On a whole, I believe CAS could be a very significant part in students’ life as it acts a medium where people discover their passions, which could turn into their profession. The service component of CAS is closely related to the concept of community service, which exists in many countries. Increasing the scale of at least the service component into real life is highly required in this dynamic world, where people need the support of other people more than ever before. I would definitely try and take this forward in order to help others and make this world a better place, where humans understand the needs of other humans, onto the path of ideality.