Spring exhibition and nightmares. Synonyms?


Disclaimer: we are keeping this blog post shorter than Danny DeVito

This year has been a blast so far. But I believe my most recent project, my blue sky to be exact, has been the best so far.

This fiasco started around a month ago, when Ms Willemse and Mr Hughes announced that we would be presenting a year’s worth of work at the exhibit. I was slightly concerned to say the least. This was my very first exhibition and I didn’t know what to expect.

The very first hurdle that I struggled getting over was the subject matter. I knew that I wanted my blue sky to be about a subject that reflected who I am as a person, but that was about it. I toyed with the idea of creating a math program that helps strengthen and foster a passion for math, but that would have been too difficult, especially with the time restraint.

The criteria that I needed to meet when it came to my subject was:

1. Use a subject that you are able to test people at your disposal on

2. Create an object, building off of three prototypes

3. Have a presentation method ready for the exhibit

4. And above all, make it good

So far I was meeting 0 out of 4 of those criteria.

The turning point for me came while I was reading my favourite book, “The Math Book” by Clifford A. Pickover. I was reading an entry about a popular game back in the 18th century called the Icosian game. This caught my interest because I knew that I wanted to do something revolving around math, I wanted to create a game that could help my brother engage in math, and I could create a modern rendition of this “Icosian game”. So that was exactly what I did.

The driving question that I used to fuel my fire was “how am I able to use geometric mathematics to create a game that anyone can enjoy”

We experienced bumps along the road, such as a mental breakdown after my final product broke, to another mental breakdown after it broke again. What I really took away from creating this product was that a concept takes you far, but resilience takes you further.

Then came the meeting with our DI teams. My team consisted of JordynAnika, Ryan, Zoe and Meg. We each shared the common theme of awareness in our projects. What better theme to serve awareness than tea, plants and lots of pillows?

We could have started communicating with each other much earlier. At the beginning of the project no one took initiative, so we were all left hanging. After I tried to take over, another one of the students in my group who shall remain nameless completely shushed me. I could barely get my voice out because of how controlling they were being. I need to work on my group work skills because I tend to be easily pushed over. But when I say overwhelming, I mean overwhelming. Talking to this person about it, if I can make contact with them next year would make a huge difference. I know that are reflective and self-aware, so they would take it in stride

My final product at the exhibition consisted of a spinning poster board with three sides, which displayed the thought process, the mathematics behind this discovery, past attempts, how I improved my attempt, my prototypes and my product. I brought in several prototypes as well as my final product, which I made packaging for, an ad and a instruction manual. I also brought in a book that I created, displaying the process that I went through to create my product. Thereafter, I completed my lunch portfolio, and added my own personal flair.

I am also very proud of my launch journal. It displays the process thoroughly, but if I was being very picky, it is obvious that I put more effort into one or two of the pages then I did others. Once again, if I left myself more time then I would be able to do this more effectively.

I am overall very proud of the learning ark that I have showed over the course of grade 8, and blue sky was the peak. I was able to show leadership, through healthy discussion and contributing of materials and opinion. I tried to be very involved in my team by bringing in necessities as well as organizing our team activity. I showed creativity throughout my project, especially in the method of finding a solution and presenting my work. To find a solution to my issue, I had to step out of my comfort zone and research mathematical subjects I didn’t know existed. Not only did I discover a whole new section of the library, but I talked, connected and learned about people who I had never met. Through my studies I have also had the chance to talk to university professors. For this reason I now know where I want to go to University.

My piece de resistance when it came to this project was the spinner. I hired my talented engineering brother to help me execute a tri-sided spinner with all of my information on it. I was up until the late hours of the night conceptualizing and executing the spinner.

What really brought this project all together was the amount of work that I put into the outcome. Hours of thought and work made for a solution that I was very proud of. Next year I should start earlier, avoiding procrastination, not to mention I could be a little bit more decisive when it comes to picking a topic. If I do this, then I would leave myself even more time to highlight and fix.

The necessary steps that I must take in order to decide on a subject are starting early. This could be key to giving myself extra time to reflect. Narrowing down what I want to do, for instance knowing I want to do something involving math, I want to test it on my brother and I want it to cover a paradox topic. From there on I would decide what I wanted my outcome to look like, and so on and so forth.

What night can be complete without some snacks, and Shawn Mendes.  Maybe it was the sugar talking, but after seeing each other’s projects we all grew closer. This must mean that we all had a basis for getting to know each other, such as Holly likes climbing and Lucy likes drama. It also shows that these projects provided insight and passion, and allowed us to express ourselves. That is what blue sky is all about.

Conclusion: nightmares and exhibitions are not synonyms.

”Good afternoon, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

New year new me

Salutations folks.

Disclaimer: this is a sensitive topic, and I write it in spite.

I think this is the perfect chance for us to have a little discussion a about the atrocity that was this school year.

Now I came into it feeling like I had rockets on my shoes. I was going to take PLP by storm, and I would have my head in the game. Spoiler alert, this is not what went down.

My first couple projects were above and beyond what they needed to be. It only went downhill from there. Grade 8 is a hard year, especially because of the kids. Long before PLP changed us into the people we are today, we all got on each other’s nerves. During that period I made some enemies. People forgot me, people mocked me. I was called both dumb and ugly. We made it through that period, and Oregon was the turning point. But we didn’t make it out without one or two people on my nerves.

I had a huge learning ark this year. Just look at my first poster all the way to my blue sky project

Then came the award ceremony, awarded to the “exemplary student”. The “ES” award is awarded to the student who shows leadership and creativity all throughout the year. What narcissist decided that awards were a good form of expressing this? Only two people can win the award, making it automatically a coveted opportunity. I know that every single PLP student deserves this award. Why do they hand it out? Is it simply to say “here you go, favourite student. You won the popular vote, and your work sucks less than anyone else’s. Here is a useless plaque to put up in your room just so that we can show everyone else is not to your level”. Honestly, common.

The recipients of this award deserved it, and I am happy for them. But this little exchange put doubts in my mind. Why am I in PLP? For all of the tears, and nights of stress, working my butt off just so that I can get recognition ? (which once again, spoiler alert, I didn’t). I didn’t need a silly little plaque. I needed to know that after everything I went through, it was worth it. That I didn’t need to cry, or panic. The message I am getting at the moment is “try harder”. Hilarious.

I can tell you right now that the people who received this award did not have a mental breakdown because of how much they wanted to receive this award. And I am not saying it should be handed to me on a silver plater. I should earn it just like everyone else. But the criteria which we must attain is not a level playing field for everyone. Several people came into PLP with a set of skills well accustomed to the program. Some did not, but their teachers saw a spark in them that would drive them the distance. I came from a school which had never taught me about goal setting, New France, or even what a personal project was. Now compare this to a student who came in with a background in these. The level of drive, which is not visible on the outside necessarily is drastically different.

Well then. Now that I have let off steam about that, let’s address this “popular vote”.

1. This vote does not even count towards the final results.

2. We get little input, when in fact we are the ones who should be dictating who the class leader is. Teachers like to think they see the whole of it, but over the course of the year I have noticed many quiet leaders, who actually lead our class with dignity and poise

3. What the teachers see are the loud leaders. The people with the loudest screaming voice. These are not the RESPECTED leaders of our class. In fact, I find it really hard to work with these people because of how they may take credit for your ideas, or because they may use that loud voice to make all of the decisions, leading to an outcome that I am not proud of.

4. Those who are not “popular”, but who actually dedicate themselves to the work are overlooked. Do you really trust our class to choose who the best worker is? There is not question that we are going to pick the student with the loudest voice, or the funniest jokes. Everything is a joke to us. One would think that would be obvious by now.

The purpose of this blog post was not to complain about awards. But not winning lit a fire under my butt. PLP, this may be the end of the road for us. But if it is not, then watch out.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

tPOLs, yes another acronym


I would like to get us in the mood today by reciting several dad jokes. I love a good dad joke. From the one liners to the jokes about the stones… never mind I am going to skip that one. Dad jokes are an incredibly admiral and ubiquitous way to celebrate this special day.

• did you hear about that accident with the cheese truck on the highway? Debris everywhere.

• atheism is a non profit organization.

• when does a dad joke become a dad joke? When the punchline becomes apparent.

• why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.

• what does a buffalo say before his son leaves? Bison.

As much as this holiday is about my dad, this blog post is about me. My PLP experience to be exact. Because it is that time of year again. The proceeder of mPOLs is upon us. My theory is that Ms Willemse and Mr Hughes will have used the whole alphabet by the time I graduate. But that blog post is for another time.

I am in a good mood today. Let’s discuss a little bit of backstory, shall we? Our story is set at the ungodly hours of Saturday morning. I was sitting in bed, brainstorming about this post as a form of procrastination, and boom it hits me. Why don’t I sing a song about my year? A good adjective for this moment was ecstatic. I had an idea which I could pursue knowing that the result would at least be creative and interesting. It worked out almost perfectly because just the night before I had been writing a song about the program for a project. Now using our time machine, let’s zoom forward a couple hours, after the song has been written. I am checking my classmates blogs, hoping for a little bit of exploration. And that is when I see it. Zoe Wooles had the exact same idea.

Well how would Ms Willemse feel about this? We were given a short talk about how our tPOLs should be creative, and I don’t know about you, but the idea of presenting the same thing as another student, let alone following Zoe is a crime of the first degree.

And here we are. After this shenanigans was over, I had to restart the whole procrastination/brainstorming process. The smartest way to attack this would be to use a reiteration of what I have already created, which would take the form of a poem, or a comical verse.

I have always found it easier to memorize sounds with an obvious rhythm. I am fairly good at remembering words, but when it comes to numbers that is where I click. Maybe I could perform my whole tPOL in Morse code. Now there is an idea.

From Humanities to Scimatics, from the Pythagorean theorem to cheese dreidels, you could safely say that this is a year that I will never forget. For example, I got to see bison for the first time in my life! Who would have known that these exuberantly large mammals are scientifically classified as bison bison bison. Only in PLP ladies and gentlemen. Did you know that when you are watching commercials, occasionally a secret underlying message is slipped in to make the viewer comply without question. Don’t feel bad that you didn’t know that you are being hypnotized. I only learned this because I got to go visit an advertising agency. Only in PLP ladies and gentlemen.

At the beginning of this year, my favourite project that we had done so far was the deep cove ad project. I had been especially proud of this project because not only had we studied general terms, and I could identify them successfully, but this had been our first major project, and at the time. This meant the idea of receiving critique on my projects was entirely foreign. In my previous blog post I referred to how this was a drastic change for me, and I thought that I had dealt with it relatively well. The lesson extracted from this fiasco was that I should be practicing trusting my own gut, for the opinions of others should ever dictate your morals or decisions. I have been advancing my practice on this subject some we last spoke, and if you want proof then you can always look at my blue sky project. We have not yet finished the blue sky project, but I am making good headway. I struggled with deciding on a subject for this project, but I eventually decided on something that interested me. I wanted my result to show passion, therefore by deciding to wok on the dodecahedron, which does interest me, I will get the outcome that I am working towards. In the future, and since there is always room for improvement, I may want to consider sticking with an idea and working with it, instead of going back and forth and toying between ideas which do not reflect who I truly am. But something that I do believe that I have gotten better at is monitoring my perfectionism, and though this was far from curing me, I got a taste of handing in work which is not necessarily perfect and will not get 100% perfect feedback from friends. I continue to see my improvement in this field every day. Something else that I would like to mention is that with the small amount of physics we have been talking about in math, I was inspired enough to contact an Oxford professor with my questions.

We see the same thing if we consider Scimatics. This has been quite the year for Mathematics and Science, as I have finally gotten to closely examine and cover theories that I have been reading about for a while. At the very beginning of this year, and I find it hard to admit, but I thought that my eagerness in math put this illusion of me in people’s heads? I know, beyond conceited. I was hoping that by the end of the year I would be able to tune out reactions tat arise when I answer a question incorrectly, or at least learn a few tips and tricks to deal with disappointment. I have made good progress so far. To illustrate this, well I can’t actually give you an explanation, I should be explaining it. I have tried several tricks, including tuning it out and talking to my friends about it, but considering they are 13 the probability of then hearing only 3% of what I say is high. The most successful tactic so far has been talking to the rest of my classmates. They are fortunately very reflective people, so they understood how I would have gotten that impression. But I made this year in Scimatics seem like a drag. I beg to differ, for it has not all been dark. I have learned some important values, including listening closely to the teacher ready to answer at any second. I learned that the hard way

Likewise, you may also notice some pretty big goals in the Maker category. At the very beginning of this year, I mentioned that I should begin to take my work more seriously. This is still my goal. One of the big and ongoing projects in my Maker class is my blog. My pride and joy and a real reflection of who I am. I call it Reintegrating Scintillating. Since I there may be some confusion around the meaning, let me clear things up. That was my intention. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. On my blog, I tend to take a lot of time joking around and making puffy statements. Some long held traditions include my punictures, pictures that I most often make myself with a pun hidden within it. I use some overly superfluous language, including always greeting my readers with “Salutations” which in the words of Holly Robinson is “such an Ally thing to do”. But in my opinion, the best part about my blog is the titles. I always take extra care when fabricating them. What I want readers to notice is just how my sense of humour is reflected differently in each one. Because humour just happens to be the heart of my blog. I do include pictures, and I do maintain an aesthetic, but if you were to open my blog, you would just be hit with a wave of jokes and riddles which is “such an Ally thing to do”. I do believe my blog to be one of my strengths this year, as when we first began designing them, Ms Willemse mentioned that your blogs are like people, and we expect you to craft your blog posts like a personality.

Now one of my weaknesses this year might be my photos. The project that I was least proud to call my own was my photos documentary. By now you guys must know that I have certain days where seriousness is beyond my wildest dreams. So many of the cute jokes and puns hidden in my documentary were removed, leaving me with a come-si-come-sa video. My pictures have definitely improved, it they are still far from professional. So that left my documentary looking lifeless. I did manage to polish it up, but I was still in denial about the loss of humour. This again brings me back to my most prominent goal, monitor the perfectionism. I will do this by focusing as much as I can on the due date. I should b able to hand in good work, but as long as it goes in on time, then that should be enough. At least for now. Yogi Berra once said, and I have quoted him once and I am fully able to do it again, “90% of the game is half mental”. I will live by these wise words.

Finally, my PGP. Though sparse, the most meaningful class of the year for me. An ongoing project for PLP has been our weekly review, where we pour out our heart and souls into PLP sourced diaries and talk about what went well, where we could have improved and our goals for the following week. I would exercise caution when reading my journal, side effects may include nausea or death. But just like my blog, my journal is a perfect example of who I am. A perseverant yet easily distracted individual who dwells on the little things. And I can in fact prove that writing down your goals has a positive effect. I had been very worried about a french test for a long time, so I put some time aside to write up a ladder concerning how I would get an A, and I did. The journal kept me organized, so I will continue to use it in the future. Something I definitely want to refine in the future is my weekly reviews, as I have not really utilized them yet, and I know they may be helpful. So in the future, you may see me spending more time with my journal than normal. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Get ready for this:

Many projects converge in a crowded classroom,

To speak of a mysterious tricks for the mind and womb

And be one student, long I learned

Be inspired as long as I could

To the right we have videos, time machines, productivity;

Then took the left, just as fair,

It is called goal setting for those who aren’t aware,

Because I was attentive and wondering how;

My life if I set goals could be so fair

I had not practiced it the tricks the same,

I could vastly improve my year by taking the class

To be productive one must take PGP.

Oh, I kept my weekly review for another day

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever do that again.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Many time machines converged in a crowded classroom

I took the time to set my goals

And that has made all the difference.

For those of you who have no idea what is going on, if it makes you feel any better neither do I.

In short, I have come to the conclusion that PLP is a one in a million program which will drastically change my school experience. It has only been several months and I am already noticing a change in myself. There are definitely many things to work on, but also many attributes to be celebrated. I will have continually worked by butt off. Only in PLP ladies and gentlemen. Before you all try to escape, I would like to leave you worth one question. In the future I am hoping to alleviate myself, how do you think that I could harness my perfectionism for the better.

Thank you for attending my TED talk.

Colonizingeth in a Tempesteth

Salutations imbeciles

Or should I say welcometh

If you were to think of two things which do not resemble each other what so ever, what would you think of?

I thought of colonization in New France, and Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’.

And of course as our year end PLP grade 8 Humanities project, the objective is to find the coronation between the two. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you colonizing in a Tempest.

The driving question when it came to this project was… “How can we use Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ and the history of New France to stage dramatic tableaus that help an audience understand the lasting effects of colonization.

The very first way that our class approached this was by inquiring, what were the lasting effects of colonization? We considered this by studying historical effects such as the beaver wars, and the treaty of Utrecht, and monitoring how this impacted each of the cultural groups in New France (predominantly the First Nations, the French and the British). For instance, one may consider the beaver wars, a series of conflicts that lasted from 1642 to 1696 between the French and Iroquois people. After the Iroquois attempted to steal land from the French because of the dwindling beaver supplies in their territory. The wars were brutal and are considered one of the bloodiest series of conflicts in North American history. This resulted in the signing of the treaty of Utrecht, historically significant for being the time in which the First Nations had to apologize for their wrongdoings, resulting in the French taking much of their land, claiming their citizens as French people, and the British claiming a lot of land for absolutely no reason.

The geographical effects of the beaver wars

After learning about what the lasting effects of colonization were, we had to learn an important lesson before proceeding.  Looking back at the development of societies, are we able to make unerring judgements while still being ethical anthropologists? Before we go around making accusations, we should think to ourselves: in this situation, are we fit to make judgements? To illustrate this, let us first consider what an unethical judgement would be. Rushing to conclusions, and thwarting multifaceted evidence because of a previously held opinion would bring us to invalid conclusions. Therefore, when making inferences, we must always consider evidence rather than opinions. This gives us
the option to validate each side of an issue rather than becoming biased towards one faction. Correspondingly, we may find ourselves better equipped to make a judgement whilst connecting the matter to the present. For instance, while examining the effects of the monarchy during the feudal ages, we can connect it to modern day politics so that we may better understand the economic effects on each caste. Furthermore, in order to ensure that we are absorbing every aspect of the subject, it is essential to always consider other perspectives. Every story has more than one side, and we may only begin to understand and decipher an issue once we see how each component plays its role in the outcome. Consequently, following evidence, connections and mindful consideration, we are able to ethically analyze and
understand key parts of the past. This was a lesson that was absorbed through dissecting passages and pictures from the past. This picture in particular really demonstrates what I am discussing.

Samuel de Champlain battles in the beaver wars

In the photo we have Champlain, standing sword drawn in between the Iroquois and Huron people. Not surprisingly, this picture was drawn by Champlain. We can tell that this was done by a European artist predominantly because the First Nations people are not clothed, and at the time the European saw them as a savage race beneath the rest. We can also tell because of how geographically incorrect this is. It was obviously done by a biased artist. This gave me a different view on how the First Nations were seen by the newcomers.

The next step that we had to take was going to be the most fun, we had to read the Tempest. I have read this book before, but it was enlightening to see it in a new light. My first impression of this book was that of confusion. Was this a comedy or a tragedy. After reading and clarifying the first couple acts, it became evident that there was something very similar about the effects of colonization, in both the Tempest and New France. Prospero mirrors the Newcomers, the British and the French, while the land of Ariel and Caliban (the First Nations was taken form them, an they were converted into the slaves of Prospero.

Finally, we dove into studying what life was like in a colony, so that we could accurately portray our characters in both mannerisms and costumes. Colonizing New France was not as simple as one would have thought. This is what became evident while studying what
life was like in a colony. I was proud of the outcome of this 2.5 minute Shakespearian embarrassment, especially because of how much effort I put into it. For instance, I spent extra time while organizing and polishing a slideshowwhich, although did not eventually go into the finished product, was a sign of my endeavour and triumph. Similarly, I was very active in connecting with my group. We ended up being organized enough to allow 15 minutes of practice. This was quite an oddity if I do say so myself. Furthermore, the presented product was what I believe to be a representation of ethical judgement. In our skit we displayed the arc of time between opportunity and immigration, and eventually some really good head cheese. As a result, this mini-skit, and the lessons we learned along with it are ones that will remain
with me for quite some time.

Finally, it was the moment we had all been waiting for. The Colonizing in a Tempest presentation rolled around. Everyone had to pick up the pace. It was a whirl of backdrops, costumes and lines. My group, consisting of Angelo, Alex and myself struggled with our backdrop. We ended up spending a lot of time toying between ideas. This project would have been a whole lot easier if we were a little bit more decisive. We could have done this by simply sticking it our original idea, and working with it through every round of critique. But after reflecting on it now, it was good that we spent a good amount of time thinking about the backdrop, because I learned much more about ho our scene was being portrayed. By using certain sounds and movements, we were able to engage the audience more effectively.

The night of presentation went by almost seamlessly. The night was much less stressful than one might expect. I normally experience bouts  of stage fright, but they were not omnipresent. From the very beginning of this project to the very end, I learned not only about how to dissect a Shakespearean novel, not only what went down during the age of New France, but I learned how the to mirrored each other, and I learned a very important lesson. You need to speak up while performing in the Vortex theatre or else no one will hear you.

(insert final video here)

PGP, yet another acronym, P.1


Intellects, models, athletes and Neanderthals. I am talking to you Donald Trump. Because this is going to be an adventure.

It is safe to say that I have had a pretty jim-dandy year so far. It’s has been a very different experience from what I was originally anticipating. It has been packed with school, sports, new acquaintances, celebration and new vocabulary. Take “jim-dandy” for example. But the focus of this blog post is my experience in one class in particular. We call it PGP. What are your first impressions when I say this. My first impression was “wow. Ms Willemse and Mr Hughes really go crazy for a good acronym”. But my second impression was, “didn’t we do this is second grade?” Let me tell you, boy was I wrong. The main focus of this specific post is to reflect on my PGP time machine (do not fret I will explain) and an over all reflection about this course. So this is gonna be a long one. Please keep your hands in the cart at all times, and try to enjoy.

The first topic that we covered was productivity. This meant learning the ways and the strings of an app called Things. Picture a large schedule that accesses your calendar, which stores your school projects, assignments, due dates, work time, and notes, and anything beyond your wildest dreams. You have Things. My front page looks a little bit like this.

It’s a very intricate app. And looking back, it was an important thing for me to utilize. I will admit, I am far from the most organized person ever. Most things get done, but not without stress and your annual mental breakdown along the way. This helped avert and focus the majority of that stress, and utilizing it to motivate me. But sometimes it did get overwhelming having 96 things planned for the same day. My theory as to why Things has such a large effect on my work is that it really badgers me to get work done. I constantly get notifications, and it annoys me to the point where I just do it. Things definitely has a learning curve. But the productivity that we practiced at the beginning of the year set us up on a more organized path for the rest of the year.

Our second adventure in PGP was time blocking, and let me be the first person to say, that if time blocking as a sport, I would be horrified at those who wanted to do it professionally. I loathe time blocking. It seems pointless to plan everything you plan on doing. I have been doing this mentally for years, and yes it has worked out fine. I am, admittedly, not great one of those “let loose and wait to see where I wind up” but this seemed a bit extreme even for me. I ended up wasting more time than I saved. I stuck with blocking special events or large chunks of the day. This is in large contacts to the habits developed by my other PLP goers such as Alex. I am almost certain she worships it as a religion. She packs her calendar down to a breath. How she does this daily without going insane is a mystery to me.

We also focused on weekly reviews, which should be done at the end of every week for half an hour or so. This is your chance to look back and reflect on the passings of the week, and how next week can be even better. Admittedly, I have been doing this since before PGP, and I enjoy the concept. I am glad it was shared with the others, because it is rather enlightening. Overall, I learned that there are better ways to be organized and that I definitely needed to seize this chance to work on my organization skills. I should continue to work on these in the future.

Next we dove into goal setting. I had been doing this since elementary school, but the techniques that we learned in PGP were very different. For instance, at the beginning of grade 5 we each had to set five goals which we were able to see ourselves achieving in the the coming years. We preceded to take a piece of paper, write down five sentences, or in my case more like ten, show the teacher and then throw them in the recycling. Not the teacher, the paper. Long story short, those goals were never achieved. The teacher took one look and said “you want to earn an A in PE? Well good luck with that”. We never pursued our goals, therefore a false image was put into my head. These goals were simply mirages that were meant to be revealed, but of course they would never actually happen. I was proved wrong this year. I learned that the most important things aspect of a goal it to make it SMART. This means, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time constrained. This was important for me to learn because I have goals and dreams, but I did not know how to achieve them.

Last in our big section of PGP projects, we studied The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, a book by Sean Covey. This is a book about the 7 important things to remember while trying to take over the world. Teen edition. Perfect for me. The fact that it focused predominantly on teens made it more relevant than its predecessor.

A list of things that I learned from the 7 Habits

#1. Celebrating should under no circumstances come first, but everything that you achieve deserves its own award. Please don’t take this too literally. Waking up in the morning does not merit a epic of cake

#2. While one should look forward to the destination, do not forget to learn from the journey. Reading this section reminded my one of my favourite books when I was younger, called ‘Thief’. The story revolves around a young boy with many character flaws who embarks on a journey with a very wise old man after attempting to rob him. The boy is promised a life of wealth once they reach the destination. Of course our protagonist endures many hardships along the way, until eventually they stumble across a small hill overlooking the valley that they conquered. This is where the young boy starts to doubt the story of riches, and the old man has to explain that what he learned along the way was the destination the whole time. My nine year old self was aghast by this thought. This was the very first time that I ever had an existential crisis. The moral of this chapter in the 7 Habits gave me overwhelming nostalgia for this book. The logic that I extracted was that I must be thoughtful, concise and considerate with each move that I take, but not the perfectionist extent.

#3. And finally, sharpen the saw. balance, persevere and practice. I have been doing this my whole life, but exercising it gave me a chance to do it properly, renewing my motivation.

I have a bad habit of procrastinating. I mean, don’t we all, but it has recently gotten me into many sticky situations. I plan on using the tricks that we learned this year in PGP, such as goal setting and celebrating to motivate and propel myself through the next PLP year. I also need to ask for help, which is a necessity when it comes to improving. I really liked this part of this course and am glad I got the opportunity to learn these things about myself.

To be continued…

I built a time machine (not clickbait), P.2


Welcome back to Ally makes fun of herself and the rest of the population in an unnecessarily long blog post.

If your name is not Ms Willemse and you are reading this blog post, you get a brownie point. The fact that you are even still awake while reading this merits another brownie point.

It is the moment that you have all been waiting for. The time machine final project. The premises of this project were sending your past self something that held the secrets of this year’s PGP course, in particular something that would have benefitted your past self. Zoe Wooles said it best, and to quote her wise words, “Celebrating achievements is very beneficial to mental health because it demonstrates to yourself your ability to accomplish goals. Taking responsible  risks and thinking flexibly helps to improve your goal in the beginning. Living a balanced life helps you to accomplish your goals and celebrating all those steps is important to satisfy your mindset.” To add on to what she said, thinking flexibly and taking small steps are half of the battle. Once you have decided what your target is, and written down the steps, you are able to take action. The internal battle is most often the hardest to fight, for it requires motivation which one (*ahem, such as myself*) often lacks. PGP has taught me the necessary tips to fight this battle well armed.

My final idea was to make a video using pictures of me and my horse, Kenya, that represented the different steps of goal setting. Now this seems pretty simple but.. knowing me, that wasn’t going to happen. My artifact involves diffrent stretches, each of them with an underlying meaning about how they show and demonstrate my raking ability to set a goal. I also sung my own parody version of ‘Let it be’ entitled ‘PGP’. It was my piece de resistance. And for that reason it was not included in this video. Let your imagination run wild, and try to envision me singing. Then you will know why I did not include the song. Since that didn’t make the final cut, I had to settle for ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen. I will use this format to show how I have grown and how I will continue to grow in the future. For those of you who are not aware, I am a competitive horseback rider, and I ride for the Maclay junior equitation division and the junior Canadian equestrian team. I am pretty serious about the sport. Kenya has been my test subject for all of my PGP feats. I practiced goal setting on her while training for the Tribeca medal competition, and that taught me many of the goal setting tips that I know to this day. She was a symbol in my video. I want to challenge my comfort zone by using cinematography as a medium, but not the only one. This will show learning by using a creative representation of achieving and celebrating your goals.This project will aim to educate my prior self on the importance of simply writing down a goal, and putting in considerable thought, because the effects can be much bigger than one may assume. Once a goal has been achieved, the habits of mind, taking responsible risks and thinking flexibly play a role. I took very little time to celebrate my achievements prior to the PGP course. This will help my former self to succeed and my future self to grow and achieve my goals.

 This video is a creative representation of what I learned about goal setting. Many aspects of this video tells a story in its own right, such as Kenya, and the poses, and the song. It may all seem cheesy, which I admit I was going for, but I have put a lot of thought into every part of this video. I could have taken more time setting up my shots professionally, but the ideas are easy to decipher. This isn’t a project I did because I wanted to do the bare minimum. I pushed myself and I learned a lot along the way. 

This is what each shot in my video represents

#1. The confused person – in this shot I was genuinely confused because Kenya was wandering off to an unknown destination

#2. Visualize and commit – this as meant to represent number two because I was bucking down and getting work done

#3. Write it down – I was bending down. Look at me with my clever play on words

#4. Execute – in this shot I am on Kenya, riding, which is me executing my plan

#5. Celebrate – in this sene I am giving her a hug, and congratulating her on a job well done

#6. Look back on your work and reflect – in this shot I am getting her to physically look back. Enough said.

A few days after finishing this fiasco, we (as in all of PLP) were set to share our work. One of my favourite projects was by a girl named Gabby, who took pictures taken in the past, and explained what they were lacking and how we can use goal setting to fix it. This was very inspiring because you could tell how much work she put into it, and just how imaginative the execution was. In the future if I redid this project then I would like to put more thought into the “what if I did see this”. Of course sharing your work is a major part of PLP, and seeing the other incredible projects just motivated you to do more.

Here is my final product. I am super proud of the work I put in and how I have represented my learning.