Four students detail various bizarre and intriguing events from their daily remote learning life.
Story 1: Sean
It all began one stormy night. I was casually lounging around, not doing much and procrastinating from all the strenuous school work. I got comfy, put on some casual nightwear to sleep, and just as I was eventually becoming productive, the power went out. This was indeed quite a setback, but luckily it came back. I decided that the power may go out again, so I went as quickly as possible to the toilet and tried to sleep whilst feeling that cool air-con aeration. To try and block out the howling winds and hammering rainfall, I listened to an audio-book to try and calm myself down and get in the mood to sleep. That, however, didn’t go to plan as I heard a scream from downstairs, and immediately after, the power went out again.
I ran downstairs, grabbed the flashlight from my phone, and asked, “What was that scream about?”
My sister said that she saw some weird-looking insect and the power outage frightened her. Anyhow, I sat down with her late at night, in the dark, as we waited for the power to come back. In all honesty, I was bored, anxious, and didn’t know what to do. So, I wandered around, looked outside the window and noticed that through the darkness, our neighbors’ lights were still on. This was quite perplexing and no one in the household had an explanation for it, so we all decided to just go to sleep and hope for the power to be back up in the morning.
The next day, I woke up earlier than usual and noticed that the power hadn’t come back. I opened the blinds, got ready, and put my shoes on to take a little walk outside for some fresh morning air. However, when I stepped outside and looked at the road… I found a fallen tree which blocked the whole road between us and our neighbors. This tree seemed to have taken out the power line wire that gave us (and only us) power. Which explained why we seemed to be the only ones with no electricity.
In the end, we called emergency services to get the wire back in place and move the tree. Overall, I never did get to finish my school work that was due on that day, but at least I had a valid and unexpected excuse for it.
Story 2: Bella
When I was in middle school, one of the things I looked forward to in high school was visiting the college fair and learning all about the colleges in the event. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, this event happening in real life is simply not possible at the moment.
Luckily for me, many of these colleges have adapted to the new digital environment and are starting to hold virtual events. Thanks to our college counselor, I have been able to access these virtual events and stay updated on universities I may be interested in. So far, I have gone to three of these virtual events and it has definitely been a unique experience.
One particular college visit that really opened my eyes was University of St. Andrews.
This is a university located in Fife, Scotland, and was founded in the 15th century. Its notable alumni include Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Something I really liked about this visit was that before even talking about the school, the host, who was an admissions officer, talked about how to write your personal statement. As a freshman, I had no idea how personal statements were supposed to be made so this was an excellent introduction.
Additionally, the fact that it was coming from an admissions officer made it more credible and reliable. She talked about things such as: how to plan, what to say, what to avoid, her top tips, and much more. This was especially helpful because it gave me a guide for what I could do to improve how I looked in my college application, and it made me more aware of the importance of extracurricular activities.
Furthermore, I now pay extra attention to important events that go on around me because that could be a possible topic for my personal statement. It is essential to be prepared, so I am lucky to have been given this information at a young age. It was truly an intriguing experience, and I cannot wait to go further in my college journey.
Story 3: Dominic
One of the experiences I participated in during remote learning was actually a CAS experience. A group of colleagues and I had gone out to Mactan and went on dives to remove the Crown of Thorns from the reef. Crown of Thorns is a type of starfish that endangers local reefs. In order to feed, these species turn their stomachs inside out and digest the thin layer of soft tissue off of a coral’s skeleton. They do so until all of the nutrients of the coral are gone. What’s left is a mere husk of dead coral.
Our team of about ten or more divers, equipped with tongs and nets, swam down to around fifteen meters deep to remove the Crown of Thorns. We dove for forty minutes to an hour, scouring every crevice to extract them. One thing we also had to consider was the spreading of the eggs. If we were not gentle during the extraction, or if we aggravated the Crown of Thorns, they would panic and release their eggs. This would hinder our goal of removing them from the reef.
All in all we retrieved over five hundred Crown of Thorns in the span of two dives.
I encourage others to try and get a diving license so that they may help in projects like these. One can even go on dives to pick up trash and plastic from the sea floor. There is more to diving than seeing the world under the water, as it can make a difference in our environment and make the world a better place.
Story 4: Dana
“This will all be over in two weeks.”
Little did we know that two weeks could instantly turn into eight months? Nine? Ten? No one really knew.
Somehow, it seemed that I was in another universe. Students were allowed to go to school. We had blackboards and wooden tables instead of the usual whiteboard and plastic chairs. The sky outside was quite dark; it didn’t seem like it was morning at all. When the bell rang, a female teacher I did not recognize started briefing us about the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Presentation requirement we had to accomplish in class.
However, something seemed off. Her expectations of the TOK Presentation was the exact opposite of what I had always thought it was supposed to be. She said that all knowledge questions had to be first-order, which meant that it should be about a specific subject instead of about knowledge itself. As confusing as it was, I did not get to question her and left as soon as we were dismissed.
The next day was my presentation. Somehow, it seemed like my Fairy TOK-mother had magically spun up something for me to present. And on the spot, a thin, American-looking guy was assigned to present with me.
Weird, I thought.
Nevermind, I just want to get this over with. After we presented, the teacher told us that everything we did was wrong and that knowledge questions needed to be second-order, which meant that it should be about knowledge and not a specific subject. I was so confused—what was happening? She just said the exact opposite the day before.
When she told us she had no choice but to fail me, I closed my eyes, and tears started flowing down my face. I couldn’t believe that I had messed up something so important to my final grades. When it felt like I had closed my eyes for so long, I decided to wipe my tears off first.
I opened my eyes and suddenly found myself on my bed, trying to process what exactly I was going to do now. Suddenly, I realized that it was still early November; I did not actually do my presentation yet.
Oh, joy! That was all just a dream. I guess Fairy TOK-mother was having too much fun waving her magic wand.
Stories by Bella F. (Grade 9), Sean K. (Grade 10), Dominic L. (Grade 11), and Dana T. (Grade 12); Feature image by Marianne G. (Grade 9)
The views expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.