Aarsha Mukherji – Mumbai, India
Aarsha Mukherji is an IB student at Oberoi International School in Mumbai, India. She has been performing since she was four years old and wants to pursue musical theatre when she grows up. When she’s not singing, you can catch her fast-rapping the lyrics to Hamilton, winning a game of Monopoly Deal with friends or chasing her little puppy around the house. She was last seen procrastinating while trying to write her brief bio statement for this feature.
Can you tell us about your MYP personal project? How has your school and/or community supported your MYP personal project?
The aim of my personal project was to write, translate, produce and sing a song in 22 official languages of India (according to The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution)—a song that reflected ideas of inclusivity.
Being the daughter of a Bengali father and a Rajasthani mother; born in cosmopolitan Mumbai and raised in a building that was like mini India, my childhood was very diverse. Cutting across language and religion, my friends from our building had backgrounds in different parts of India. I realized that the reality outside my building compound was different; it was often filled with hatred, discrimination and division. The same differences my friends and I celebrated were used to tear people down, differences in language and religion. With this project, I wanted to remind my fellow countrymen of the legacy this country holds. Therefore, my goal was to spread an important message about unity and cultural diversity through music, strengthening the notion of one nation, in my increasingly fragmenting country.
My community has been extremely supportive. The response I’ve gotten has been overwhelming. My peers and my teachers have sent me so much love, both over e-mail and in the corridors. My extended family, people from the building where I live, people in the comment section on YouTube. They’ve all made me feel loved and appreciated, for which I am beyond grateful.
What key skills did you develop during the MYP that you have been able to apply in your life?
Communication. If it weren’t for MYP, I would have never learned the importance of active communication. Right from 6th grade I’ve been practising my speaking, writing and debating skills and now that I’m in 10th grade, I can see the improvement when I watch videos of myself giving presentations or read pieces of my writing. I’ve ameliorated as a communicator in its entirety, especially as a writer and an orator.
Research. Before the MYP taught me how to utilize my sources and actually find information that was of value to me, I did not know how search engines worked. Because of the MYP, I’ve been introduced to the world of citations and in-text citations, the various source-validity tests like CRAAP and OPVL as well as the importance of media literacy in today’s world. Before 6th grade, I didn’t even know what plagiarism meant. All thanks to MYP, I now know, by just looking at the aesthetics of a source, how reliable it is.
What advice do you have for students balancing academics with extracurriculars?
To be honest, I’m the worst person to be giving advice regarding this because I, myself, have supremely awful self-management skills. It is extremely hard, we all struggle. But, the only advice I’d give is do whatever makes you happy. Everything else will fall into place. If one day you don’t feel like studying for the test, don’t. If one day you don’t want to go to football practice, don’t. It’s important to maintain your mental health and once that’s in place, it’ll be much easier to concentrate on whatever’s keeping you busy, whether it’s extracurriculars or academics or both.