Planning – The Key To Making Life Easier

Hello all, we’re back with another installment of Let’s See if Sam Can Keep Up with CAS. We are currently entering our third month of school and CAS, as well as nearing the end of the first trimester. And let me tell you, since that faithful September day that we started this complicated program, I have learned more about life skills than I could have possibly imagined. Out of all these skills, one has come up so consistently I’ve practically made it my personal mantra (pending copyright of course). Planning. Is. Everything. Planning is the skill that will allow you to succeed and thrive where others stumble and fall. Planning is the difference between “I’ve got this” and “What the @#$% is going on”. Now this may all sound dramatic, but IB has come with a heavy workload to say the least, and this means getting lost is incredibly easy, especially when CAS is brought into the equation. All of this begs two questions: Am I staying on task? And, if so, how?

Lets tackle that first question first. Overall yes, I have managed to stay on task both with IB and with CAS itself. As is expected with a large project, there will always be small delays, and I have seen this first hand. I am still waiting on a key community member to respond to interview questions, and I have yet to deliver my first seminar due to some scheduling complications. Those two hiccups were plenty enough to send me into a 5 minute, overwhelmed, stress-driven spiral as I felt my project slipping through the drain. Silly, right? After all these are two very minor details that my CAS teacher is aware of, and its highly unlikely that they will demonstrate any negative effects on my project or schedule. And yet, my brain sent itself into emergency mode, and I learned another very valuable lesson about life. When you spend the majority of your time tightly wound, constantly worrying, and in a conflicted mind state overall your brain will find the smallest problems and turn them into your own personal monster. It is imperative to stay positive and focus on the good things and accomplishments. It is also important to examine issues from a logical, calm standpoint, which brings us to our second question; “How am I staying on task?”

Quite honestly, a large portion of my current success can be attributed to a single assignment I completed in the first or second week of school. This assignment was to create a Gantt chart (a business organization tool) for our CAS project. A Gantt chart is relatively similar to a traditional to-do list, however it provides much more comprehensive information as well as a visual that can demonstrate task completion. This Gantt chart features every significant deadline and task of my project by week, and it has been unbelievably helpful in keeping me relaxed and on task. It allows me to complete tasks in a timely, collected manner while preparing for the coming weeks. This chart has been the main reason I have succeeded, however there are certainly other factors. I promised myself that I would strive to stay organized this year, and I have done that by focusing on reducing procrastination and completing tasks effectively while still enjoying school and life in general. A large part of this enjoyment comes from helping out with other students CAS projects, as I did with the Halloween party and the cleaning of the youth centre this past week.

Overall, IB is intensive and stressful, and CAS is certainly a contributor to that. However neither IB nor CAS is a match for some effective, timely manner. As Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And of course we can’t forget the pointless worrying, beautifully illustrated by this very Wild West quote: “Worry is like a rockin’ horse. It’s something to do that don’t get you nowhere.” (Merica!) Thank you all and have a wonderful Sunday.

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