Freshman confused and concerned over Personal Projects

News Writer, Grace Shin

Sophomores, the first students ever to conduct the Personal Projects, have suggestions to give to the inquisitive Freshmen based on this year-long project.

Freshman Justine Hong, anticipating a very hectic, yet educational sophomore year has already put her ‘head in the game.’ “After I went to the exhibition, I was really inspired by Grace Shin’s product, which was writing a book. I actually thought about writing a historical fiction, maybe based on the Japanese Colonization and daily life, or the Korean war.” Justine shared her progress so far, “I had my first meeting with my supervisor so I think everything is going to go well.” While Justine emphasized that she is excited to do the Personal Project, she has concerns over how to balance the Personal Project, with her academic classes, and extracurriculars.

Justine wasn’t the only one worried about the overwhelming workload. Jennifer Kim, who has plans to make something related to the beauty and fashion industry stated, “I am worried about not getting things done on time and getting stressed out if I don’t. I want to do something that I am interested in and something that I would not get bored doing; something I would enjoy throughout the whole year.” She further elaborated about how she would like her Personal Project to be based on a topic related to her future career. One of her biggest concerns was how to work throughout the whole year with an intricate plan.

Additionally, Justin Lee shared his thoughts on the Personal Project, “I believe I can learn how to organize my time throughout the whole year. I am expecting the teachers to guide me a little bit. But, I am not excited because it reminds me of the Science Nights. Its not going to be a distraction but a big thing that will not let me focus on my school work.“ Justin’s biggest trouble was choosing the right topic, “I am not sure which type of project I am looking forward to.”

To answer the Freshmen’s questions, sophomores voluntarily gave advice. Christina Oh, who made a guide book after going on the Myanmar Vase trip underscored time management, “I spent like two months working on my product even though it was an year-long project. It was okay but you would have to stay up until two to four in the morning to finish it on time. So maybe having a monthly, weekly, daily goals, like really small goals could really help you. Another tip I could give is to talk to your supervisor a lot because they can give you guys a lot of tips for your project. Also, since they are grading your product with other teachers, it’s really important to effectively deliver your points and purpose of the project to your supervisor. So when other teachers and your supervisor meet together and talk about your project, he or she can talk about the good things of your product. Good luck!”

Ashley Park, who claimed to have donated her talent by making dolls for unprivileged children also emphasized daily reflections as important as well as choosing an intriguing topic, “Maybe it would be better if you take notes on what you did that day to do your process journal easily. And choose your topic that is unique and surprising. You guys will do a great job.”

Davin Park, who made safety stairways for the elders and children added, ”Use your time wisely, make meetings with your teachers and make good use of their advice!”

Mrs. Caron, Coordinator of this year’s Personal Projects showed her anticipations and high expectations for next year. “I was incredibly impressed with this year’s projects. I was obviously impressed with those who were able to really go through the process very independently. Many went through the process and took it very seriously. They really directed their learning which is a huge piece of what the Personal Project is supposed to do. I am anticipating a lot from next year’s’ sophomores.”

Mrs. Caron also gave small glimpses of the new modifications she and Mr. Harding planned for next year. She informed that she wanted everything to be conducted in a much larger scale, “I am planning to do the exhibitions in the gym near the time of Parent Teacher Conferences (PTC) so the students would not have to be waiting in front of their boards.” Inasmuch as not being able to send this years’ projects to moderation for the IB, Mrs. Caron added another big change would be that next year the teachers would go ahead of this year’s schedule : the project will be due in early February of March.

With the working time for next year’s Sophomores decreased from April to February, Mrs. Caron suggested that students work over the Summer and using the whole school year. “Do the research over the summer. We really took a hiatus at the beginning of this year; we really didn’t come together until October. Next year, the kids should get started as soon as August comes.’” She added, “Communicating with your teachers is a biggest part; teachers learned a lot this year about what our rules are in helping and I think we all understand how we could be much more supportive. Use the teacher as your resource.”

Mrs. Caron has uploaded a short video presentation about the process of completing the Project which covers understanding the topic, goal, AOI, inquiry question, and specifications. The link is available through Schoology on the MYP Personal Project course page.