NARD (North American Regional Day)

Regional Days are specific days dedicated to celebrating and sharing the culture of a certain region of the planet. You only get to celebrate a specific regional day once every two years. This means that NARD was experienced by everyone at the school for the first time, even the second years. NARD will not be an event now for two years.

People who were a part of North America all got together weeks in advance to start planning and organizing the event. The regional day needed to include workshops, and a show filled with performances for the evening. We also needed to plan out two big meals for the day and decorate the cafeteria. The theme for the day would be Summer Camp and the theme for the evening dinner would be Hollywood.

When the big day finally rolled around, we had a group of kids going around campus into each house waking people up with very typical North American music at 10:30 am. At 11 am we had a NARD flag raising with Niko from California playing the trumpet. At the same time we had a State Fair Brunch going on, which is a typical event that happens quite often in the United States and Mexico. There were hot dogs, corn on the cob, churros, nanimo bars, and powdered donuts!

At 12 pm everyone went in front of East house to play summer camp games until 1pm. After that everyone got into their cabin groups which had been previously assigned. With our groups we rotated through all of the workshops from 1:30 to 4:30.

There was a pop culture workshop which included “Meme 101” and learning a dance from Hannah Montana. There was a “stories of independence” workshop where we learned about how Canada, United States, Mexico and Greenland got their independence or were in the middle of getting it. Next there was an “Indigenous sharing” workshop where we all sat around a bonfire and talked about issues surrounding the aboriginal population in Canada. The next workshop was called “East to West” where we learned how to play the ukulele which originated from Hawaii and then we learned a dance from Newfound Land and learned a little bit about their culture. The fifth workshop was about Mexico/US relations but not politically or economically. We had two of our second years, Ivonne from Mexico and Omaar from the US (ancestry in Mexico) talk about their personal experiences concerning both countries. Last but not least there was a workshop which talked about the bilingualism in Canada.

As soon as the workshops ended everyone ran to get to their houses. The dinner was in one hour and everyone had to change into fancy clothes and get ready. When we got to the dinner at 5:30 there were students ready to open the doors for you, then there were pictures taken and then a student would escort you to a table. The whole cafeteria looked completely different. It had been decorated excellently by the kids in charge of it. There was a buffet which didn’t take the kids long to eat. We were all much more excited to be taking pictures with each other. Most of the hour and a half was spent taking pictures.

The show was supposed to start at 7pm so anyone performing or taking part in the show had to be there at 6:50. At 6:54 I had realized what time it was, sprinted up to the Max Bell hall (a very, very tiring climb), and when I got to the top I realized I had forgotten to change into my appropriate clothing so I sprinted back to my room changed and ran back by 7pm exactly. Now my role in the show was being an MC along with Charles from Québec, Fen from Saskatchewan and Molly from Maine. The premise of the whole show was a family (the MC’s) taking a road trip around all North America and seeing all the culture and diversity the region has to offer. Molly and I played the role of siblings and Charles and Fen were the parents. My character played a very sarcastic, and humorous teenager. This worked very well as the people who wrote the script wrote my lines based off my personality. My character showed distaste towards North America throughout the show, however near the end my character started to gain more appreciation for North America. At the end you find out, that my character is actually a Pearson College student and this whole road trip was meant to drop me off at school for the first time at the end.

The performances in the show were excellent! There was Mexican music and singing (Mexico), a jazz performance (New Orleans). There was an evolution of dance and swing dance performance (New York), a spoken word about the USA and a mask dance (Greenland). The Petitcodiac (New Brunswick), Highland dance and Barrett’s Privateers (East coast), a hockey song (Montreal), a line dance (Alberta), a hippie video (British Columbia) and two final spoken words. At the very end, everyone who belongs in North America came up to the stage and we all sang a song together. The show finished by 9pm.

At 9:30 there was a disco party which lasted a very long time. The whole day ended up being so much fun, and I’ve made so many amazing memories. This will be one day I never want to forget. I just can’t wait for other Regional days to happen over the course of the next two years!

 

Race Rocks

I’m going to be honest, it smells so bad on the island. Race Rocks is an ecological reserve that is often visited by students at Pearson College. Project weeks, diving and other activities can be conducted at Race Rocks. The island is small, has one lighthouse, one house for the guardian hired by the college to live at and one other small house for visitors to stay in. You can probably walk around the whole island within a few minutes. The only obstacles would be the hundreds of sea lions lying around making noise, being lazy and smelly.

When I went to Race Rocks for my biology class I had counted over 400 sea lions! They are everywhere. Many are swimming, many are lying on the rocks and shores and many are just sitting around in the middle of the island. You can get within a couple of feet of a lazy sea lion if you can find one. Most of them tend to flop away once you start getting close.

Race Rocks is about 10-15 minutes by boat, however on my trip to the island we had to make a few detours because we could see Humpback whales! This doesn’t happen often, so even the biology teacher was excited.

Hopefully I will be able to go to the island again. I’m not in Marine Sciences so I don’t know how high the chances are to be able to go again but I will keep my fingers crossed.

 

A typical day at Pearson College

A day at Pearson College is different every single day, but there are some key elements that do not change in a typical day.

Breakfast starts at 6:30 am. Mostly people start coming in around 7 am.

The first class starts at 8 am.

Morning break, more commonly known as cookie break starts at 9 am and runs till 9:30 am. For the people like me who end up waking up at 7:55 am and running to class, this is the time we have breakfast.

Starting at 9:35 am we have two classes till 12 pm.

12 to 1 pm is lunch.

After lunch we have one final class until 2 pm.

Depending on the day of your CAS , you go to your activity from 2:30 to 4:30. People have two activities per week for the whole year. Some of the activities are two day commitments, while most tend to be one time for week. We also have fitness one time per week for the same length of time and we have a student job to participate in once a week.

Dinner is served at 5:30.

Between all that, when you’re free, or don’t have anything to do, we nap, study, do homework, hang around in the day room, etc. Time management plays an important role in our day to day lives and learning to prioritize some things over others is very important as well.

First week of classes

So it has now been one full week of classes and I am so glad that the weekend is here. Since the first day we have had quite a bit of homework. For some students the work load isn’t heavy, for some its more than they ever got at home. The work itself is not too difficult yet, as many teachers want their students to all be at the same level of knowledge before any further studies are done. Some classes like Math, make you realize you forget more over the summer holidays than you realized so you play catch up, while other classes like English A , are making you think critically and analyzing right away. I’ve noticed that classes where talking is more likely to happen, such as History or English, there have been many interesting topics. You really start to realize that people in your class are from around the world, and they all have new and amazing ways of looking at things. This has led to deep discussions and debates in class, where you really learn to think critically and understand the perspective of others.

The evenings are filled with either doing homework, connecting with family, bonding with other students, or playing board games. People are going to sleep earlier, because we have school the next day as well. One thing I’ve noticed is, many second year students tend to start their work later in the night rather than in the afternoon, when school ends. Seeing the amount of work that the second years have to complete makes me realize what we are doing as first years, is not much.

Another evening activity has been having group discussions about topics such as democracy, human rights and other such subjects at some of the teachers houses. Many students and some faculty might be having some tea and having heated discussions about how the world is today, how it has been shaped by the past and how it should be in the future. These talks were where I saw the most differences in opinions of people from other countries. One thing to keep in mind is, that their home countries have different leaders and governments systems and not everyone understands the way governments work in other countries. Everyone had something to say, but they were all respectful and listened to each other and this led to a productive discussion.

I’m excited to have a homework free weekend, not sure how many of those I will have in the future!

Metchosin day!

There is a nearby town called Metchosin. Pearson College students go and participate at Metchosin day every year. Everyone wore their national costumes and hiked one hour to the fair grounds. Pearson College had students perform with the choir and multiple dance numbers. There were a lot of tents set up selling food and goods, many, many people walking around and enjoying the great weather, and so many dogs! It was a day filled with fun and lots of bonding between the students. Seeing other international students experiencing something like Metchosin day for the first time was a wonderful sight to see. There are a lot of things that the international students see for the first time here and the excitement in their eyes is always heartwarming. The hike back did end up feeling like forever, especially since we got lost and walked an extra 30 minutes (thanks to Ibra, my second year roommate).  All in all, the fun that we all had today was worth the walking and I can’t wait for Metchosin day 2018.

First day of classes!

Today was the first day of classes. Every student went to their classes for roughly 25 minutes. The teachers explained a little bit about the course content and course evaluation and handed out text books

The courses that I will be following for the next two years are:

English A (HL)

French A (SL)

Math (SL)

Chemistry (HL)

Biology (HL)

History (SL)

The teachers here are seem so enthusiastic about their courses and they have been making me excited about school! I have always been a student who has been focused on the sciences, but I’m sure that my interest in all the other courses will grow.

Some background on the way that IB works:

All IB courses are graded on a 7 point scale. There are 6 categories from which the classes must be chosen. The 6th group (the arts) can be replaced by another one of the experimental sciences. As well as the classes, IB requires the Tok and EE to be completed and together those can give you up to 3 “bonus” points, giving a grand total of 45 possible points to be gained.

Tok – Theory of knowledge. This course could be described as an epistemology course. The course is not meant to be as academically oriented, and the goal in the final essay is to be able to explain “how you know what you know”. Ways to prove what you know could be: observations, experimentation, categorization etc.

EE – Extended Essay. This Essay is due around the end of November in your second year. This is a 4000 word essay, and all second years seem to hate it.

Orientation Week

Orientation week has been so many things. It has been overwhelming, exciting, scary, beautiful and so much more. In the end, it is whatever you make it to be.

The day I came to Pearson, so many people rushed over, said hello, hugged me, introduced themselves! The amount of times I must have said “Hi, my name is Shloke, I’m from Manitoba, Canada” is incredible. Everything that day went by so fast. New first years continued to come to campus all day, through the night, and even into the next day. By the end of the day I was exhausted but beaming. I unpacked (most people do not on the first day) and went to sleep with a smile on my face.

The past week has been full of presentations, bonding meetings, dance parties, late night tea talks in the day rooms, naps, hikes and a whole lot more. They say Pearson time runs 4 times slower than normal. 7 days here has felt like 28 days. I have become closer to people than I ever thought I would in such a short time.

Orientation week has been an amazing time, and I’m looking forward to classes starting and spending more time here with the teachers and students.