It is just terrifying to even think about leaving the IA; it has definitely been quite a journey, a journey of trust and relationships in which we all, as simple as it sounds, became a family. It is frightening to feel that this IA group is coming to an end. However, some people are actually staying in the IA but others just chose the IB life, just as myself. Let me tell you that it was a very tough decision, choosing between such powerful programs, which are the IB, and the IA was a decision that needed lots of thoughts. Thinking about going back to the typical classes with different people, will also be very nice in some way, I will be able to make more friends than just hanging out with one group all day long. I also feel that the IB will allow me to prepare more for University since it is a very rigorous program (don’t get me wrong, the IA has many rigorous aspects as well) I am just saying that the system the IB has, is very similar to the one in universities.
During the course of this year, I’ve learned many things, from gaining autonomy, to truly understanding what learning is all about. If I could go back to 9th grade and have the opportunity of choosing between the IA or the MYP in 10th grade I would choose a million times taking the IA for 10th grade because of all of the valuable things I learned inside and outside of school with these valuable group of caring students.
We have only a few weeks left of school before everything comes to an end; it has been a great ride, and I am going to miss this IA class a lot.
We have only a few weeks left of 10th grade, and yes, we have started to look at POL’s once again. This is the time in which we sum up what we’ve learned throughout the semester and even throughout the entire year, in my case, how the Innovation Academy has made me as a better student in every way, and has allowed me to change my old habits to new ones in order to improve constantly on many aspects of my learning.
POL may sound a bit boring, and trust me, at the beginning it was. Let me rephrase myself, it wasn’t boring but it was in fact something new. The idea of standing to a crowd for 10 consecutive minutes without a single notecard terrified me. Over the course of MYP, I have been the typical student that always goes the easy way out, never risking anything and always maintaining myself in the safe run. When working in groups, I always used to give the BIG tasks to other people; I could call myself more of a follower than a true leader. However this semester something changed in me, I wanted to face greater challenges and become a leader again, maybe not always, but whenever I got the opportunity, I certainly did. I can remember telling Valentina after the first POL, that I never thought of putting so much work into one single presentation, and using many hours of my time to prepare for it, this would never have happened in the MYP, however in the IA everything was different.
There are definitely many things I still need to work on, one of them being more of a giver than a receiver, as Bonnici always reminds me. Everything has been amazing in the IA, all of the projects we’ve done, all of the true things we’ve learned by contacting experts, and by going to the field searching for answers. However, most importantly, we have become more of a family, and at least for me, this journey has been without any doubts, a pursuit towards greatness.
In the IA it’s all about facing challenges and finding sustainable solutions for our projects. At the beginning of our project, we were always faced into a good direction, each class making some type of progress and with every meeting, we learned new things. Besides from the beginning that we had to separate Cuentame Peru group into a smaller group, we had never faced a challenge that made us question our project in a bigger way than we even thought of. Of course, until now.
Luis Yupanqui, the president of the Pucusana Association, was very helpful from the beginning and was one of the few essential experts for this project to be successful. Since the first meeting, he was very excited to make this project happen. Obviously, since Vivanda is a very big company in Lima, with lots of customers and many food demand they can’t afford to face an error whatsoever, which means that they also need to look at the most affordable way to buy fish and also the way which includes the less logistics possible so that there is a lower margin of possible error.
We had one meeting with Sofia, which is the person in charge of the fish in every Vivanda Supermarket in Lima; she told us all of the logistics needed for this bond to happen. After this meeting with Sofia we called Luis right away to tell him everything he needed to be able to make a formal contract with Vivanda (RUC, Factura, Cuenta de Interbank, etc.) and the only thing he told us was “Sorry, that's not the way we work.” We were immediately stunned, we had less than a month to make this project happen and from one moment to the other, we were back on the start line. We didn’t understand him, was he afraid? Didn’t he want to achieve greater things? This was a huge challenge because now, we didn’t have anything to propose to Vivanda.
However, it is from the greatest challenges that you learn the most. We will have to be more proactive than ever to find the best solution that will allow our main purpose to be fulfilled.
Will we be able to make this project successful? I certainly hope.
The IA is all about following your passions and truly pursuing the topics you are interested in. This is why we have the opportunity of following one project of our entire interest at the end of each day. Many people have gone to do internships or maybe learn more about marketing, but that wasn’t my case. I began working with the stock market and learning more about it through videos in khan academy or exercises. After the first month I realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere with all of this information which is why I decided to join MUNCHIES.
As we were discussing with Frances, Arianna, Emilio and Santiago, now that the seniors are gone, there are no sweet treats businesses such as the one Gisella had which I have to recall it was amazing. We all decided to try something new, which is cooking. At the beginning we began to plan out the things we wanted to cook and basically lay out in a document the ingredients we would need and the tools to make cookies for example. We used various recipes found from different sources to be able to create our own, original recipe. I have to say one thing; the first time will always be the worst, which is exactly what happened to us. When making the cookies the other week, it was a total disaster. We had no idea what we were doing and the measurements were all wrong since we didn’t have the appropriate tools or anything.
When starting a business like this, we need to understand that failing is part of the process of creating a beautiful recipe because you need to try different methods and ingredients in order to be successful. We are very engaged on making this business great, which is why we have to be failing continuously because the more you fail, the better the outcome will be.
These past weeks I’ve been thinking a lot on what program I will take next year and what type of colleges I want to aim for. Next year is simple, we all have two choices, enrolling ourselves in the IB/OPP program or applying once again for the Innovation Academy. I already “chose” the courses I will take next year if I decide to choose the IB program but I am certainly not sure with my decision.
This semester, I’ve really liked the IA system more than ever, the system of true autonomy. I have learned to be way more self-driven and passionate about the projects I do. In difference from last semester, where we did the Breakthrough magazine, I didn’t feel that passionate for the project as I feel for “Mi Pescador Peruano”. Why? I really don’t know, maybe it’s because this project is something we chose rather than something that was given to us. We could make it our own, our baby and for that we needed to take good care of it, with lots of effort. The cool thing about the IA and one of the things that I love is how flexible we are, and how we can adjust times and lessons to the moments we feel we most need them. For example, at the beginning our project was going to be based on interviewing 5 different people to shine a light on them, then we wanted to focus only on the fisherman, after that we wanted to tie a group of local fisherman to Gaston Acurio’s project, and finally at the end we want to create a direct path from a group of local fisherman, most probably of Pucusana with a local supermarket (Vivanda). It is amazing how we began with one idea, and then through interviews and meetings with different experts, it led our project to a totally different focus.
In the other hand, the IB is more of a sit, listen, take notes and prepare for the exam type of system; yes, a system that many people love and are used to but it is not the type of education that I prefer. There is obviously a lot of meaningful content learned in the IB classes that will definitely help you for college and for your future in general.
So what is this dilemma I’m talking about? What do I want to do next year? What do I want to study in college? You may be surprised but I am not certain of any of these things. In some way it is fine because I am still exploring my passions, but each week is closer to making my final decision, and I hope that when the day comes, I am sure that what I choose will be the best type of education that fits me.
I remember when we first started this project, we were all very excited and knew more a fact that the project was going to be in someway challenging but easy. This happened after the meeting with Gaston, where we all left thinking that we already had all of the solutions to problems that weren’t even identified yet. We thought we already had all of the answers in our mind, and were ready to pitch the idea to Wong or Plaza Vea.
Sadly, we were completely wrong; this week we met with Pepe Carpena, the manager of La Mar and the person in charge of the project “Cocinero-Pescador”. Basically the meeting was like waking up to reality. We realized all of the problems that came with making a bond with a group of local fisherman, they were sometimes very irresponsible, they cheated on each other, and it was basically a mess. Also, Pepe had been in this business over 15 years, researching and investigating about this topic, then after finding a unique group of fisherman he took the time to teach them proper ways of fishing as well as many hygiene factors when taking care of the fish. Even though it seemed to be a very good plan since Pepe would buy the fish directly from them and would pay the actual value of the fish, the plan failed several times. This is why Pepe told us that he never bought from only one group of fisherman, he always had like 5 or 6 different distributors so that if one day one of the fisherman didn’t supply fish to his restaurant, they will always have a backup plan.
After knowing all of this information I was quite surprised, I continuously asked myself how are we going to do to create a feasible plan for the supermarket in only 2 months thinking about all of the problems? It was truly surprising; I began doubting the project once again. But you know what, the bigger the challenge, the bigger our opportunity to grow. I am very confident that all of the members involved in this project will put the 120% of effort and by the end of this semester, we will be very happy with what we accomplish.
This week I was thinking of what I could write about so that in some way I could make the reader enjoy my blog post. I had a lot of ideas and topics I could develop so that in some way I could complete the weekly blog. But, I was thinking and realised that I needed to write a blog on something I enjoyed, and therefore write it for myself, not for the “reader”.
When talking about “Cuentame Peru” we accomplished great things this last week. We got to visit Pucusana and talk to many local fishermen that at the beginning seemed to be very shy but then after being friendly to them and asking them about their lives, they were very sincere and opened themselves to us by sharing their story. One of the things that impacted me the most was when we asked a fisherman, “If we could provide you with anything, what would you want?” He told us that we didn’t want something for himself, but instead something for the community, something that would help the entire fisherman in Pucusana that as he says, they are like brothers. After leaving Pucusana we knew we were definitely on the right track.
That same week, we had a very valuable meeting with the one and only Gaston Acurio, king of the Peruvian gastronomy. We were very grateful of the valuable feedback he managed to give us, basically everything he said will help us in the future of our project. At the beginning we thought of basing our project on Gaston’s restaurant but after talking to him, he recommended us of making a network that would link a group of local fisherman to supermarkets like Wong and Vivanda.
This entire week definitely gave me a feeling of fulfilment and success because of all of the things we had accomplished. I totally feel that we are on the right track with this project because we have a clear idea and a valuable product at the end of this semester. We will not only complete this project to fulfil our grade and learn new things but also we will get to help many people along the way.
During this week, I saw an interesting article on the Ivy League schools and how they seem to promise success but also may lead to depression. The first thing that came to my mind when reading the title was why would a student that is so privileged to study in one of the leading universities in the world may even think or find themselves falling in depression? That is just nonsense. As it says in the article, people with that type of mindset feel they are simply worthless when they get a “bad grade” which in most cases is a 6 out of 7 or an –A.
Why does this usually happen? This is driven by the idea that they always have to be perfect and that if they are given a certain task, they will do everything to get the top level of achievement possible without giving any type of interest in the importance and the learning from this certain assignment. Obviously, this is not all of them, I believe that a big part of them are truly passionate and are the best in the class because they are passionate about the things they are doing.
I have always been taught that I should aim for the best university possible but after what I saw about the guy who was admitted in Yale but went to another school that is not even compared to Yale in the ranks of the top schools, I realised that you should go to the college you feel it is the best for you, no matter what position on the Forbes list it is, you need to be completely happy with it.
I still obviously have a lot of time to think about where I want to go or even what I want to do in college since I am not 100% sure, but what I do know is that I will certainly choose a college that fits with my character completely.
Things are not always the way they should be, and sometimes we do not want to see changes, which is why we only avoid them. This is something that happened within our “Cuentame Peru” group. From the beginning, we realized that the group was way too big based on the roles we had available. We all knew we weren’t challenged enough, but sadly no one had the courage so say otherwise. At the beginning, Allegra and Jose Ignacio realized the true reality on their own and decided to leave the group. Mr. Bonnici gave us the option of “firing” people from the group so that everyone was, challenged enough but no one had the courage to do so. This was definitely the biggest problem we had, and all we did was trying to avoid it continuously.
During the week, we had to pitch our project to our parents so that they could give us a consensus on what they thought about our projects and the things we could maybe change so that in a long run we were successful. That same day, a group of us went to 3 different schools to find a passionate director to include on our channel; I am pretty sure that we found him, his name was Marcelo, and even though he didn’t have all of the resources, he wanted to make “Juan Pablo ll” the best school in the district. The others stayed working on the pitch the entire day.
The presentation of the pitch went very well because the keynote was very well organized and visually appealing. On the other hand, we got A LOT of feedback, lots of questions. We seemed that the parents weren’t so sure our project was going to be successful. And they asked if we were going to be challenged enough being such a big group. That is when we finally realized we needed to change something in order to be successful. After class our group met and decided everything. We divided into two different groups, in order to create a video of “A day in the life of a Fisherman” in one group, and the other one will do a picture book with quotes and facts about different things in Lima. The projects are not so well developed but now we know we are on the right track.
This happens to me everyday, I know I have to take a decision, but I am so scared to choose from one thing or the other that I just decide to avoid it. I avoid it till the point that I have no other choice and when I go until that point, I have already lost a lot of time in the way. What counts is that we already made a very important decision that will hopefully lead to success. It is going to be a long way, but I am sure that with effort and determination, we’ll make this project a definite success.