Finding a concise take away from anything like a book or a conversation we had in class had continuously been a challenge, let alone doing so for two years filled of pure experiences.
The bottom line is, this IA experience as a whole has taught me the power of those small experiences and anecdotes that you build along the way. At least for me, there’s no better way of learning than by putting it into practice. In fact, I have proof. BlendZ was my opportunity to learn and experience how a business really worked; it was only in my internship when I was able to apply my knowledge that I realized that experiences like these and being exposed to the real world was the way to go. But, being exposed to these real-world experiences also had some setbacks. Although I loved it, it’s frightening because I had to leave my comfort zone. However, “there is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience”. And because of that, being able to recognize that I have the freedom to decide whatever I want to do for MY life is essential to keep challenging myself to search for it.
The purpose of many schools is to encourage students to find a passion for learning, and they ultimately want to know that students are actually learning what they’re taught. But, the only way to do this is by finding an effective way to do so. Everyone learns in a different way, but that’s the great thing about education as well, because there are so many ways to do it. I found what was best for me: the process of choosing what and how I want to learn, iterating, and the effectiveness of spaced repetition. I said it a year ago in a letter I wrote to my dad, and I can say this once again that in these two years: I feel like I’ve learned more in the IA than I have ever learned in the course of two years. And I don’t mean “learn” as to how many things I was taught but things that I have actually fully understood and that I will remember a few months from now. I have reviewed or rather iterated my learning several times, and always enjoyed what I was learning. And the same way that we in the IA grow and gain inspiration from each other's work, I want our IA journey to be an inspiration to other schools and students all around the world. I want students to opt for a different way of education and to be innovative—discover what’s effective for them in terms of learning and never be afraid of choosing a different path. I did and I have no regrets.
Education is flawed in the sense that we think that one system applies to all students. Just like our taste in food, books or films, there’s not one form of education that is made for everyone. Unfortunately, even though we know this, there's one system that is applied to everyone: to those students who have trouble getting focused, to those who get bored easily, and those that have never thought about their purpose in life. Education has been the same for more than 100 years; people have changed drastically but the system has not. Why not?
Receiving personal feedback has also been one of the greatest gifts I could’ve received from the IA. Having the opportunity to grow from honest and sincere feedback from my peers--people who work close to me--has ultimately been what has challenged me to grow and to recognize my strengths and improve on my weaknesses. Having that personalized learning was essential for my growth. I was confident that if anything went wrong, I would be called on to change it. That was our culture.
The IA has been the most rewarding learning experience I've had, not only in my high school career, but my entire life. I had never been surrounded by a group of students who believed in something as much as I did and worked together with me instead of against me--an environment where there’s inspiration rather than competition, and a culture of trust, where we can all give and receive tough feedback and take it well. It’s hard to accept that my last two years of high school are done, and I'm about to start a new chapter in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I did if it weren’t for my IA family. Thank you to everyone who has made this experience worthwhile and unforgettable.