Journal Club: Before

Learning Outcomes:

  • Worked collaboratively with others.
  • Shown perseverance and commitment in their activities.

Goals: To write at least three Journal Club articles per year.

I have quite a bit of experience with the school’s journal club, so I feel quite at home with this activity. I started working in the Journal Club about two years ago and, since then, I have acted as a writer, an editor, and even a translator, as the newsletter we publish operates in both english and spanish.

I do not really have any new expectations for the Journal Club this year, as it is run by the same people as last year. I will work as a writer and will have to compose a 150-word-long article each trimester. That does not sound too hard, but it might prove challenging by the end of the year, when we will all be busy with exams and various projects. Also, the 15o word limit can be hard to stick to, as sometimes it is incredibly difficult to tell an informative news story using less than 200 words.

All in all, I am eager to restart my Journal Club work, as I already know it works and how to write successful articles. However, I will try to improve the quality of my writing to make even the shortest of stories engaging and interesting for the reader.

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Student Initiated Project: During #2

We are finally moving forward with our project, and at a great pace at that! Just yesterday, Nolan Young and I met up and wrote the script for our video. In it, we talk about what global issues Alboan addresses, what makes them unique as a charity, and how people all over the world can donate and help them out in various ways. We think it’s quite a comprehensive script that encompasses all of the main points we have to talk about in our video in order to give our viewers all the information they need about the Alboan and their projects. Pointing out how the Alboan team functions differently to other charities (they move into refugee camps and live with the refugees instead of just sending them food and other supplies) will also make the charity stand out more, which will get people to notice it.

The script itself is about two or three pages long. We read it a couple of times, and it took us about 2 and a half minutes to get through it at a good pace. Therefore, it is to be expected that our video will be of about that length. This is good, as people will not have to give up a lot of their time to watch it, making it accessible even to those who are busy or just don’t want to watch long videos.

Nolan and I will meet next week to film the video itself. Let’s hope everything goes well then!

Forest Maintenance: After

Unfortunately, I could not go to the Forest Maintenance activity for personal reasons. Therefore, I do not have much to write about. The main problem with this activity was that we didn’t really get all that much information about what it would entail and how we had to prepare for it, making it unpredictable and uncertain. In addition to this, the weather on the day of the activity was also not ideal. I am rather sad and disappointed that I could not take part in this activity, but I am determined to help out the environment some other time!

Canoeing

Learning Outcomes:

  • Undertaken new challenges.

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The canoeing activity organised by my school last Friday was very fun! At first, I thought I would not enjoy it that much, as I do not generally like sports. However, I ended up having a great time.

The activity was divided in two parts. The first thing we did after getting changed was have a short lesson on the different types of canoes and kayaks that exist. We were told what each of them were made of and what they were used for. After that, we finally got to try out canoeing ourselves. We spent two hours in the water, playing games and racing each other, until it was time to return to school.

With this activity, I learned that I should be more confident in my abilities and try new things more often, as they can prove to be fun and enjoyable!

Forest Maintenance: Before

Learning Outcomes:

  • Worked collaboratively with others
  • Engaged with issues of global importance

Goal: To help out in taking care of my local environment.

This weekend, I will be going on a trip to Bermeo to clean up a forest! I look forward to participating place this activity, as I really enjoy being surrounded by nature. In addition to this, it will allow me to take care of the environment, which is something that I consider to be very important in this day and age.

I imagine this activity will involve picking up sticks and garbage from the forest floor, as well as pulling out weeds and other plants that may be harmful for the environment. However, I am still not sure of what the activity will entail exactly, as we have not been informed all that much about it.

There are a few problems that may arise from this activity. Bad weather could ruin it for everyone, for example, as it would not enable us to work properly, especially if it rains a lot. Another problem that could be harmful for my preformance in this activity is that it takes place rather early in the morning, and I am not a morning person. Therefore, I might be too tired to help much (although I will try my best to work hard!)

Aside from these problems, I expect this activity to be fun and helpful for the environment, and I am quite excited about it.

Singing Lessons: During #4

I was completely alone during this week’s lesson! It felt rather lonely, but it did allow my teacher and I to work on more exercises geared towards me specifically. We tried, for example, an exercise in which he played three notes on the piano and I had to sing them back at him. After repeating them three times, I had to tell him if the notes were ascending, descending, ascending and then descending again, or descending and then ascending again. I did not make a single mistake in the whole exercise, which is something I feel quite proud of!

Towards the end of the class, I recorded “Snap Out of It” by the Arctic Monkeys, and I must admit it’s not my best work. I was not feeling too well that day and, on top of that, recording for the first time made me quite nervous! It was hard to breathe correctly, which made the song sound very flat and out of tune, as if I was tired throughout the whole song. My teacher told me that was because my diaphragm was not working properly, and I have to agree with him; I definitely need to practice working with my diaphragm more!

I would love to be able to record the song again to fix my mistakes but, at the same time, I am very excited to start with “How to be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds next week. I feel like this song will turn out much better than “Snap Out of It”, as it doesn’t require me to use my diaphragm as much. I will absolutely work hard on it, and I have learned a lot about voice projection from this last song, so let’s hope I can do better next time!

Pilates: Before

Learning Outcomes:

  • Undertaken new challenges.
  • Shown perseverance and commitment in their activities.

Goal: To go to at least four pilates classes per month.

I am incredibly excited about starting this activity. I have been in dire need of an Activity for CAS, and I think I have finally found one that I can enjoy. Pilates is an activity that’s not too physically exhausting, focusing instead on building muscles and one’s inner balance by using breathing and stretching exercises. It is known for being a very relaxing activity that is very beneficial for the back, but that also tones the whole body, especially the pelvic region and the abdomen.

I think this activity is going to be very relaxing for me. Also, because of its focus on breathing exercises, it will also be incredibly useful for my singing lessons, as breathing is exceptionally important when signing. I expect to build up my muscles and work on my balance in each class. Pilates is also a discipline which is supposed to make one very aware of their own body. Therefore, I will probably gain a heightened perception of how I move, which will be beneficial for me. I have been told by many that I should pay more attention to the movements I make, as I can be quite clumsy, so maybe this activity will help me with that!

I imagine it will not be hard for me to start off the activity, as it will be a novelty. However, the challenge will come when I get tired of it, yet I have to keep on going to classes every week. As I am not a huge fan of sports or physical activity, it may be hard for me to be disciplined and attend classes every week. Another problem that I expect to confront is that everyone that goes to pilates will probably be older than me. Therefore, making friends could be rather difficult, and that may make me feel lonely at times. Still, I think the latter problem will be much less serious than the first.
Let’s hope my first class goes well!

Singing Lessons: During #3

After missing out on a few classes because of my MUN trip, and also because I felt quite sick afterwards, I have finally returned to my singing lessons! I really could not wait to come back to this activity. It’s so much fun!

Coming back, I discovered I had missed out on quite a few things. My teacher had introduced a few new breathing exercises that were quite complicated, but I managed to figure them out after a little practise. The hardest one to grasp consisted on exercising one’s diaphragm by “breathing out” vowels using not your throat, but your lungs to get the sound out. It sounds bizarre and confusing because it is, in fact, quite bizarre and confusing! I will have to practise it a home a few times before I feel confident doing it in class. In addition to this, the teacher had also introduced some exercises to train our diction. These were based on tongue twisters and were very fun to do!

After warming up my voice, it was time for me to sing and, apparently, I did quite well! The teacher told me that, if anything, I should be careful to open my mouth wide as I sing in order to project my voice as much as possible. He also said that I would be recording the song next week! I am extremely excited about this, as I have never recorded a song before, and it sounds like quite an experience!

We also decided that the next song I should sing should be “How To Be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds, as it suits my tone quite well. Here is the song:

I am very happy about this choice, and I couldn’t be more excited to record “Snap Out of It” next week!

Student Initiated Project: During #1

Up until now, nothing has gone as planned!

About two weeks ago, Nolan Young sent the Alboan team an email talking about the promotional video, how Project for Awesome works, and asking about the possibility of meeting up with members of the organization in order to film them answering a few questions about their work. This footage would have then been used in our video. Although it was not essential, we both thought that it would be a nice touch to include an interview with the Alboan crew, as that might give the video’s audience a better idea of how the charity works and who are the people who operate it.

Soon, however, we realised that Alboan was not responding to our messages. We tried sending them again, fearing they might not have been delivered correctly, but it was all to no avail. Hoping they would answer, we decided to establish a deadline: if they had not written back to us by November 1st, then we would make the video without the interview. Sadly, that is what has happened.

Still, Nolan and I are optimistic about this project! We will begin writing the video’s script either this week or the next, and meet up to film it shortly thereafter. We have also already started putting together a general outline for the video, which will help us a lot when the time comes to write it all. Let’s hope it all goes according to plan from this point on!