As I’ve said before, IB is a fascinating program in the sense that while we (students) become far more aware of the world around us and how it works, we also become inherently focused on our own grades and self performance. This paradox raises questions about just how much IB actually contributes to the movement of selflessness (and whether that should even be a goal of IB) in a long discussion that undoubtedly involves CAS. In terms of the statement itself, I do believe that while it is extremely generic we do in fact live in a world where self is priority, and where the amount of generosity pales in comparison to the sheer amount of selfishness. I think CAS has been instrumental in ensuring that I am more selfless,and I know that for me personally it has spurred many-a late night thoughts about selflessness and whether I need to shift my consciousness. To be frank, I am someone who is very set in my opinions and way of thinking, and I will (almost) always be the first to admit that. Fortunately for me the majority of my opinions and thoughts end up playing out alright in the end, but at the same time I seriously struggle when I need to change my mindset or opinions. In terms of my own selfishness, it took a long time for me to realize that it was ok to admit that you were selfish. I mean if we’re all being honest, selfishness is instinct, and it takes a lot of reflection and perspective to become less selfish. I am very lucky to have an opportunity to truly change my consciousness, and it is one of the benefits of CAS that I did not initially predict. This consciousness shift first hit me about a month and a half ago, when I was researching clips to put in my project video. I assumed that sifting through Youtube clips about war, violence, and poverty was going to be difficult, but how much it truly impacted me completely blew me away. I watched tragedy after tragedy, firefight after firefight, I watched people with so little food their skin hung on their bones, and I watched people unload in vicious rants simply because someone was speaking a different language. It doesn’t matter how tough you are, watching hours of this footage will get to you, and initially I struggled to even continue finding clips. But once I pushed through that first half I was able to research positive things, and let me tell you, the look on the kids faces from small, impoverished villages hanging onto UN peacekeepers really made me feel good. Those peacekeepers risk their lives everyday on meager pay in incredibly dangerous areas, and they do it not for country or money but out of selflessness. I learned that selflessness does not require pity or your feeling bad for people in tough situations; it requires you to lend your strength and will to those in need, whether it’s through a warm handshake, a coat on a cold day, or ensuring the safety of a remote village regardless of the risk it provides to your person.

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