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Reflecting on their First Semester: Students shared their PLP Journey

The first semester of the Parami Leadership Program (PLP) is coming to an end next week. While it could have been finally a time for the 7th Cohort of PLP students to have a month-long break to spend time with themselves and their families in their hometowns, the students are finding various opportunities to learn and volunteer in Yangon.

Since the beginning of the 2020 academic year, students and faculty adjusted to online learning and teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although virtual learning seems to be challenging in the first few months, our students have now adapted to the new normal, and they have learned different things and performed well in their classes. 

Yan Aye

Before the school break starts, we have some of our students from different regions such as Mon State, Mandalay, and Tanintharyi with diverse backgrounds and interests reflected and shared the skills and knowledge that they have acquired from the 1st semester of the PLP. 

Yan Aye shared that he absorbed lessons and knowledge from different classes, like Identity and Ethics, Gender Studies, and learned various skills during his first semester at PLP. 

"I have developed my critical thinking and analytical skills from Identity and Ethics class. I have now become more liberal in a way that I can let go of [unhealthy] ways of thinking and attitudes that I hold tight for years, like, I used to blame my surroundings people for their weaknesses and mistakes. In addition, I like to discuss education and gender equality issues with my friends. I am looking forward to learning more about gender in-depth, especially in gender mainstreaming, gender public policies, and gender budgeting,” he added.

Meanwhile, Su Su Thant (Noel) shared her experience learning at PLP that "I have learned to discover my true self. Through lessons from Identity and Ethics, I know what I want to be and want to do in the future

Su Su Thant (Noel)

She explained that she chose Math Modeling and Education and Teaching Studies as elective courses because she wanted to challenge herself to learn new things. She is excited to learn more about data science, another level of math modeling. This subject has helped her to handle the data and find solutions for our real lives. As she aspires to work in the educational sector in the future, Noel added that she learned a lot from Education and Teaching Studies, like lesson planning skills, education theory, and teaching techniques applied by the teachers at PLP. 

"Also, I have learned to embrace diversity and myself. I liked to work alone before, but the research project has boosted my teamwork and negotiation skills since I have to work together with 12 members. I have learned to have a better understanding of my personality, weaknesses, and strengths. By knowing my weaknesses and strengths, I have always aspired to improve myself," she added.

As a fresh graduate, Nay Lin Thu was motivated to get the most of the learning experience from PLP, which he can apply in his future career and further study.

Nay Lin Thu

"As I used to learn through traditional learning styles [in the government school], I found it a bit challenging learning through the rigorous curriculum at PLP because I was not familiar with expressing my perspectives critically. However, during the first semester, I noticed that my academic skills and critical thinking have improved by learning and discussing with faculty and classmates. Also, courses taught at Parami have equipped me to question my beliefs and to think outside the box with open-mindedness and critical thinking," said Nay Lin Thu.

“When dealing with academic writing and reading in his courses, he explained that he is confident to ask any question with faculty members by utilizing office hours effectively to discuss one-by-one. Moreover, during advising sessions, he received valuable in-depth advice and suggestions from the Parami faculty about his future study and professional goal,” he explained. 

Nay Lin Thu expressed that "I feel excited about the weekly guest speaker session because we have a chance to learn more valuable experiences and knowledge of guest speakers with diverse backgrounds. Moreover, as the requirements of 21st-century skills, I have also improved using digital tools and learning platforms through the Parami technical support session." 

He added that the deadlines of weekly academic essays help him in managing time effectively, improving his reading skills, and exploring other related educational sources. As a consequence, he can describe and discuss huge topics and issues in his own words and with his perspectives in his academic writing. 

Similarly, Khin Yadanar Thein reflected on her 1st semester of the PLP that she improved a set of skills, mainly critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills.

Khin Yadanar Thein

She expressed that “I can now think from different points of view, which I had never done before. I have learned that when solving a problem, we need to solve it from different perspectives. I have applied my knowledge and skills gained from Logic class. Like, when people talk to me, I can analyze whether or not the message is consistent. Or whether or not they are telling the truth.” 

While absorbing the lessons to broaden her knowledge and perspective, she shared that she also had an opportunity to learn and explore the field of her interest, like economics.

"As I have always been passionate about business, I chose an elective class called Chinese and Southeast Asia. In the course, I got to learn a lot regarding the way Chinese people live their lives and work, their behavior, and mindset when it comes to economics. In the coming semester, I am excited to learn more about ethics concerning economics and entrepreneurship. Moreover, I have also improved other essential skills, such as writing, speaking, listening, teamwork, and presentation skills," she added.

The PLP students shared that common skills they have acquired from the Parami Leadership program are mainly critical thinking skills, analytical skills, leadership skills, teamwork, and how to embrace diversity. To expand their knowledge based on their interests, they expressed that they are excited to learn more during the second semester of PLP.

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