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Congratulations to CISB HS Graduate Emily Shang

July, 2017
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Shang Yu Tong (Emily), High School graduate of Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB), will go to Macalester College to major in biology.


cisb-hs-graduate-emilyGraduating from High School leaves me with complex feelings. As everyone is, I am delighted that every assignment and test is done, and now is finally the time for me to relax a little and reflect on my experience at CISB. It also feels a little sentimental when I need to say goodbye to my classmates, teachers, and school. However, the future beyond graduation is certainly exciting too.


I didn’t decide to go to any summer school this summer as I used to do. Rather, I want to spend more time this summer with my family, because I won’t see them as often when I go to college. I might also travel to Europe with my family or go to visit my friend in Australia. Meanwhile, I am also taking university writing lessons with other rising college students to prepare for university-level work.


I entered CISB right after I graduated from Elementary School, and that means I have been studying at CISB for five years. It sounds like a long time, but I felt that it passed quickly. At CISB, I have been trying to make my experience colorful and enjoyable. I was once a drummer in the orchestra band, an actor in the film club, and a writer in the newspaper club. I have also debated in citywide tournaments with the debate team and played on the volleyball team. People at CISB always welcome new members to their groups. Besides clubs and activities, in every classroom, teachers are supportive and students are free to discuss and share ideas. I think these are what making CISB special – the freedom for students to thrive and the caring that supports them.


My best memory at CISB would be the field trip, which we took back in Grade 11. The trip was both an enjoyable voyage and also a chance for us to complete the IB group 4 project. Almost every student in our grade participated in the trip. We traveled together to the Great Wall. During our trip, we climbed mountains, set up camps, and did a lot of activities to build up teamwork skills. It was the time when the whole group got out of classrooms and got to work and live together as friends. It was certainly a unique and unforgettable experience.


Another great experience I had was with the biology class. I had a 17th birthday party with my biology classmates! It took place when we got to have some free time during one class. My teacher and classmates sang the birthday song for me and we shared the cake. It was also very funny when my biology teacher tried hard to find a lighter for the candles. It was surprisingly lovely to celebrate my birthday in the biology classroom (where we also do dissections).


I took IB in High School. My higher level courses were biology, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology, and my standard level classes were French Ab Initio and English Language and Literature. IB students usually say they dislike the IB because it takes a lot of time and energy. I feel that it is a challenging program (which often deprive my sleeping hours), yet I like it because it is a powerful program that prepares students for university after all.


To make my High School life enjoyable, I do more interesting activities outside classrooms. I have joined a lot of clubs and teams at school to gain more colorful experiences. During my free time, I like to compose music pieces, doing some drawings, and exercise in the gym to relax. These activities made my High School years more interesting and also helped me a lot when I feel stressful with school works.


I often found myself struggling at school because of poor time management. With the IB program and a lot of activities that I like to do, time seems to be always not enough. I would say that time management is an important skill and a lot of effort and persistence is needed to learn how to do it well. My strategy to manage time is to make a simple timetable of things I need to do in a day and prioritize tasks when there are so many of them. When one gets to know their own way of time management, many things seem to work out much easier.


I have been studying in international schools for five years since I attended CISB in Grade 7. I certainly feel that international school education is a great preparation for my future. Not only does it allow me to adeptly use English as another language, it also makes me an independent learner, a risk-taker, and provides me with a lot of freedom to do activities that I want to do. Such independence and passion for knowledge and experiences are, in my opinion, essential skills for the future.


Advice for fellow students: You should enjoy your time at school and try out different things. High School years can be a very beautiful time if one manages to try out different activities or classes – join some sport teams and clubs, and discuss different questions and ideas with teachers and classmates. It might feel stressful sometimes. But when it does, one can always take a pause to relax, hang out with friends, or have a talk with family. You should explore your potential freely at school; tests and papers are only a part of it. 


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