Nearing a milestone

The D-day for the soon-to-be graduates is edging closer. Soon it will be time say goodbye to high school, friends and teachers and brace for the next station of life. 

The D-day for the soon-to-be graduates is edging closer. Soon it will be time say goodbye to high school, friends and teachers and brace for the next station of life. 

Nearing a milestone

Graduation is the first step to the real world

Graduation is all about perspective. During this graduation season many teachers and students find themselves reflecting. This is good as it means one has time to slow down and take stock of daily life.

Unfortunately high school graduates overwhelmingly hear, “These are the best years of your life!” But this isn’t true. Rather, we should be telling the soon-to-be graduates to stock up for the next station of life. Instead of sitting back and waiting for life to “happen,” look around and collect experiences, conversations and necessary tools to aid you for what truly follows high school graduation: life.

Here are eight considerations for those expecting life to unfold for them after graduation.

1. Stop caring about what other people think. The only way to be happy in life is to be happy inside your own skin. Avoid thinking high school is the only best moments in life.

2. Learn to cook. It is important. You can learn to cook your favorite meal for the difficult times when you will need a comfort meal to get through the rough patch life brings your way.

3. Create relationships with your teachers. Beyond asking for letters of recommendation, ask them why they are in their profession. You will find out they enjoy offering a hand to help the next group join the larger community.

4. Go on a trip. You live in a big world and should see it. You and a group of your best friends should travel to some location to see what else is out there. This will help you to have open eyes to view life as a journey.

5. Reconnect with your school friends. Once you graduate people will go their own way. Find a way to stay connected to those who are important to you.

6. Ask questions. Take advantage of the fact that most people view high school grads as just beginning the journey. Free questions will not always be offered in life so find out, as much as you can while the door of asking anything is open.

7. Know what is important to you. Write down on a piece of paper something that is essential to you and will be important to you as live life. From time to time, take out this piece of paper and read it. It will keep you grounded.

8. Call your parents. They will always be your lifeline no matter how old you are or what is happening in life.

As you experience graduation, remember it is a big experience but it is only one of many beautiful moments you will experience in life.

(John James)

Nearing a milestone

John James is Senior School TOK teacher/coordinator at Shanghai Singapore International School.

About growth and developing skills 

Graduation is a paradoxical time; you are excited about the future and the freedoms and challenges you will face but you’re also nervous about what that the future might hold. School lasts a long time and just at secondary school alone, each student has been “on the timetable” for seven years. School has often been cited as “the happiest days of your life” and it’s true that school helps students to grow, through difficult times and good ones, as they make friends, play on sports teams and partake in extra-curricular activities. That life has also been subject to rules, uniform policies and the timetable. It is a place of security and safety.  

By the time students graduate from school, they have been through periods of heavy study and examinations and they have experienced so much to prepare them for the wider world. The process of choosing university and college places really helps to match the student to the “best fit” university for them, whether that’s in a big city on the other side of the world or if it’s a small college campus near to home; students are always developing their ideas on what they want out of their further education. In that respect, they have made some important, responsible life-choices already. The problem is that nothing can really prepare you fully for something you’ve not quite experienced. I remember the mixed feelings of optimism and doubt that I experienced on my first day at university. Teachers are no longer around to look after you and you get time to choose what you want to do. 

Yes, you miss your school friends but there’s also so much to do and to choose from. The range of clubs and societies at universities is phenomenal and one of the keys to success is to avoid boredom. Graduation is about growth and developing your skills and interests.

It is also a great time to reflect and give some thanks. Students should be rightly proud of their achievements but the graduation is also a moment to consider those who have helped you along the way. Parents clearly have a major impact on this and they may also consider the ways in which their children have suddenly become more like adults. Teachers, too deserve their praise as well as peers and friends. Finishing school with a list of experiences and examinations is in itself a real achievement and while there are many more challenges to come, this is a perfect opportunity to pause and, above all, to celebrate that. 

(Watson Kathryn)

Nearing a milestone

Watson Kathryn is Higher Education adviser and teacher of French at NAIS Pudong.

Graduation dinner makes for a perfect send-off 

At the British International School Shanghai, Puxi, our Year 12 and 13 students complete the IB Diploma Program. 

This course is recognized by universities around the world and involves a rigorous mix of academic and personal challenges, developing well rounded students, who definitely reap the benefits in their life after secondary school. 

With a vast majority of our students progressing on to courses at university after their IB Diploma studies, graduation is a very exciting time to spend with family and friends celebrating their many achievements before they make the transition to further studies. The IB Diploma course helps our students to prepare themselves for the real world. The latest research suggests that the core skills required in the workplace in 2020 will be creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, leadership and time management — these are all skills that are encapsulated by the IB learner profile — which sits at the heart of the IB Diploma Program. Our pupils are very well prepared for university life and beyond and the feedback from our alumni when they visit us during their holidays confirms this to be true.

At BISS, we like to recognize all the time and hard work students have put in to their studies and the community over their final years by inviting graduates, staff, parents and friends to a formal graduating ceremony following the final day of exams. 

An evening such as this involves the presentation of their graduation certificates as well as personal and shared reflections from students themselves. One of the highlights of this evening is when students gather together to throw their Oxford Caps in the air, which is a great photo opportunity, and a memory that will stay with them for many years. Of course, graduation wouldn’t be complete without an evening graduation dinner, which is a time for graduates, staff and families to dress up in formal attire and enjoy quality food and fine wine. This year we will celebrate at the Wanda Reign Hotel on the Bund as a reminder that they have studied in one of the world’s most vibrant cities. Here, graduates can finally relax, and both staff and graduates share their memories (often humorous) about their time completing their IB Diploma studies. 

(Angela Sharrock)

Nearing a milestone

Angela Sharrock is Key Stage 5 coordinator at BISS Puxi.

Graduation: an end, a beginning, an accomplishment

What is graduation? Is it an end or a new beginning? Is it an achievement and a rite of passage? Is it an accomplishment? Will it be emotional? For sure, it is a highlight in every school’s calendar.

At YCIS Century Park campus (Secondary), it is all of the above. For the graduating Class of 2017 it will be both a new beginning and an end. There is the uncertainty of leaving a close-knit campus and community, a place where the students have thrived in their most recent educational years. There is also the excitement of a new beginning, with the students well-prepared for the next steps in their educational journey.  

Graduation certainly marks an achievement — fulfilling the school’s graduation requirements in completing a well-rounded program which enables the students to be an active, contributing member of society, ready to take on adulthood and deal responsibly with the new challenges which may come their way.

At YCIS Century Park campus, our students have, at a minimum, dual language capabilities coupled with a unique bi-cultural understanding of both East and West, often with a third or fourth language fluency which enables the students to communicate well in the languages of the nations who will be at the forefront of the world’s future economic leadership. Successful completion of the IB Diploma Program has led past graduates to the top universities in the world, including those in the Ivy League, Vassar, Chicago, Stanford, and others.  

However, academic success is only part of a successful student’s repertoire. Service learning is an aspect dear to the philosophy of YCIS and with the experiences our students have in this area, they will carry with them the attitudes to help make our world a better place. The experiences of a strong extracurricular program provide leadership opportunities and outlets, whether in athletics or performing arts or elsewhere, which will enable the students to have a healthy work-life balance in the future.

Graduation marks a passage of time. It is a beginning and an end; a chance to celebrate an accomplishment and also look ahead with anticipation. 

(Fred Runkel)

Nearing a milestone

Fred Runkel is co-principal at YCIS Shanghai Century Park campus.

Bittersweet time for students 

Graduation is a bittersweet time for us, as we say goodbye to high school and to the friends and teachers we’ve made over the past few years.

It’s nerve-wracking to think that in just a few months, we’ll all be in completely different continents, having to face the real world alone, without the comfort of the presence of old friends and teachers. I don’t think I could have made it this far without their continual support and guidance. The realization that you’re now an adult, with your own responsibilities and burdens, is a scary truth. Having to face college and a completely new reality soon is exciting for sure, but if you asked me, I’d probably want to stay at school for a little while more, enjoying the familiarity and safety that high school entails.

There’ve been plenty of good, and also some bad memories, but all of them were what made the experience of high school so unique and fulfilling. It’s going to be hard to leave all that behind, and I don’t doubt that graduation day will probably be one of the most heart-wrenching day of all of high school for most of us. The thought of walking down that aisle and receiving my diploma actually scares me more than taking my final exams did.

Graduation’s definitely about partying as well, as the students get to celebrate their achievements and finally being done with two stressful years of IB. 

(Pang Susan Sihua)

Nearing a milestone

Pang Susan Sihua is ?a Grade 12 student at SSIS

Heading to the school of dreams 

Watching older students graduate is always inspiring. They are now free to go to university and pursue their own path in life. I always saw my graduation as so far away, something that would take years to happen. I’d never really put that much thought into it since it seemed like it wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. Yet, here I am, a Year 12 student and less than a year away from graduation. When did life start moving so quickly?  

The first few months of the IB curriculum weren’t bad at all, but now I’m starting to feel the promised challenge of the program, with assignments to write, piles of information to remember, and numerous CAS reflections to complete. On top of that, there’s also the need for deciding what to study and where to go for university.

Some of the Year 13 students had told me about their goals for the future in the past, but seeing them actually heading toward the school of their dreams encourages me to work hard and do my best during the last and most important year of high school. If they made it through all of this, well, then I can, too.

(Florencia is a Year 12 student at YCIS.)

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