In this article, Karla Jepsen, currently in Grade 11, reflects on her MYP Personal Project on high fashion. Here, you will read about her journey, as an inquirer, a thinker, a risk-taker, and her open-mindedness. You can see her self-awareness and her growing confidence which will support her as she journeys into the DP Programme, truly, a reflection of an IB Learner.
At the end of the PYP, MYP, DP and CP Programmes, our students are asked to integrate what they have learned into a culminating project which then gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their learning on a topic which they connect with in a very personal way. These projects are student-initiated and student driven with the guidance of a teacher mentor. What is equally exciting to see is not only the skills and knowledge that is gained, but the personal development, the achievement, the overcoming of challenges, in which our students become so much more self-aware as learners.
How did you come up with your topic and what was your personal connection to it?
I actually came up with my topic during the summer holiday of 2015. I was very stressed because I could not pinpoint exactly how I could create a project with what I was interested in because every time I thought about my ideas they seemed so big and difficult. I have always had a connection with fashion, especially high fashion. When I watch New York fashion week’s most talented and incredible designers present their work on stage and watching how the crowd goes wild is inspiring. I think it is beautiful to hear how fashion icons and designers come up with their ideas and the inspiration behind the fashion pieces. Doing this project has helped me understand the fashion world from the designers perspective of the fashion industry because that is not the part I am interested in but I thought it could be interesting to try and “get inside the designers head” because I have always thought of it from the business perspective. I was extremely lucky to have two very talented business people and designers in the business to give me guidance and as a primary source for my project. It was such a huge learning experience to work with these people, they are truly amazing!
What was challenging for you during the project and how did you handle the challenge?
I would have to say that the beginning stages were the toughest on me. You have no idea how many times I would get negative feedback on my ideas and record voice memos to keep track of my new ideas because it was too much to handle I had to write it down or record it. The way I handled this challenge was to try and keep my project as simple but challenging as possible. I could not have asked for a more amazing and guiding mentor who helped me keep clear goals for my project and she really helped me structure everything and give me ideas for development and that is when I finally felt some relief. I feel like once you know exactly what you are doing and how you are going to achieve your goals is when you can start to relax and actually enjoy the personal project.
What was most satisfying about your project? What are you most proud of?
I was working very hard with my time management skills because through experience I have learned that time management and organizational skills will be your best friend throughout life, school life and of course the personal project as well. I would have to say I am proud of myself for keeping on track and asking for help when I needed it. It was so important to me that I had teachers and students I could turn to for guidance and confidence when I needed it and this helped me so much as well. It is satisfying when people tell you they enjoyed your project and when you hear people are proud of you because honestly that is so satisfying and heart warming as well. Sometimes it is nice to be reminded that you are on track and that what you have worked hard on is appreciated and I definitely felt that. Of course I can not leave out the final result of the project being complete and the exhibition where all the students get to present their work and the feeling that we got through it all.
Has the personal project has affected/changed who you are as a person? What were the major lessons learned?
I believe that the personal project has opened my eyes for a potential career path because it made me become even more interested in the fashion business because I have learned so much throughout the experience. The major lesson I learned was how much I could achieve not only by myself but with the help of others as well. Throughout the project everyone around me were amazing at helping me and listening to me and this made me realize that there will always be people there to support you no matter what. I also learned that sometimes working very hard on something will show at the end or throughout the process.