Panthers Of ISKL #33 – Hina S. – Budding Sociologist & Theatrical Star

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This week, we sat down with Hina S. who is currently a senior in her final year at ISKL. There’s a very small chance that you haven’t seen her on the ISKL stage as she has starred in IASAS Dramas, choir showcases and Bring It On: The Musical to name a few!

Hina also has been an active member of the Green Council, a Touch Rugby team member and has an avid interest in Social Sciences, with an article featured on online publishing website Medium, earlier this month.

Here is her story.

“Where are you from?” is a complicated question for me – and plenty of students here at ISKL or any international school really.

‘It’s complicated” is my usual answer. However, the detailed answer would be, “I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to a Japanese mother and an Indian father, and while I spent seven years of my life growing up in Massachusetts, I’ve been living in Malaysia for the past ten years.

‘I came to ISKL as an excited 7th grader and was immediately drawn to the friendly and welcoming culture. I was approached by so many different students who were equally, if not more, enthusiastic as each other. This same energy has helped shape my mindset towards school, activities, and life in general through these past five years.

‘Some of my interests and passions that I actively take part in at school are the Touch Rugby team, Green Council, ISKL Singers, IASAS Drama, and the fall productions!

The Theatrical Life

‘I’ve been a part of musicals since I was in kindergarten, and I’ve pretty much been a part of every musical that I had an opportunity to be in. The Theatre is my sanctuary!

‘Especially when the musical has a large cast, the community is just so incredible. Everyone has a place to be and a purpose; someone has to say a line, someone else has to switch the set, but this crew member has to cue the lights, and so on. It’s a network of people who communicate with each other through the cues they’ve learned from countless hours of rehearsals – all for a show that’s on for three nights and then poof – it’s over!

Hina in 'Bring it on' musical

‘As a performer, the adrenaline from the show is still pumping through your veins days, weeks, and sometimes months after closing night. The Saturday rehearsals? Worth it. Several practices a week? Worth it. Performance anxiety before opening night? Worth it. After being a part of 13 theatre productions and musicals throughout my life, I can say with confidence that you’ll never experience anything like it. Being part of the show gives you a second family, a creative outlet, a rush of excitement, and a great way to spend your time at ISKL! And this doesn’t just apply to the fall productions.

‘I’ve also been a part of IASAS Drama since my freshman year, and not only does it give you all of those things that I mentioned above, but you learn so much about yourself with this team. It’s a very intimate group of eight actors that work with a director to create a show, which creates a powerful bond between the team, as you are always working together.

Hina doing drama

‘Theatre requires a lot of emotion, which calls for vulnerability, and at times, has helped promote general well-being for myself and my castmates. It shows us how to face issues head-on and not to shy away from life.

‘These experiences and lessons from my shows exist in parallels across my other interests as well. As a singer, I feel vulnerable all the time! Standing in front of an audience by yourself is never easy. Still, it’s given me so much confidence and purpose that it’s benefits certainly outweighs the nervous feeling you get before a performance.

‘Finally, in the Green Council, when my Co-President and I had to present two years’ worth of sustainability activities to the Green Flag assessors, I was extremely nervous! However, my musical theatre experience helped me gather myself, and I decided to place my trust with my Co-President and the excellent staff here at ISKL. They were always there to support me, just as my castmates would, and I was thrilled when we found out that ISKL’s new campus officially earned the Green Flag award!

‘Although they are seemingly unrelated, my interests work together to shape who I am and the things I experience.

Hina playing Touch RugbyExploring the Future

‘One passion I’d like to take forward in my academic future is my love for Social Sciences. My fascination with how our minds work and how it influences our relationships and society makes me keen on enhancing my knowledge in this area.

‘I’ve taken small steps during High School to explore the Social Sciences beyond the courses at ISKL, and a recent accomplishment in my quest to enrich my knowledge was my research article getting published on Medium. The data collection process, analysis, and article writing were rewarding, and it only increased my eagerness to pursue the Social Sciences in the future!

Hina’s Inspiration

‘Even though research and writing about solutions to societal problems are essential, taking action is necessary to create. A great example of this is my aunt, Dr. Jitender Gill, whom I lovingly call Bua. She teaches at a Women’s College located in New Delhi and is part of Delhi University. About ten years ago, she noticed that some students were struggling to pay their tuition fees. Every year, she and a couple of her friends helped cover 11 to 12 students’ tuition fees.

‘Last year, it became an official project at her college, and together they were able to fund 32 students. She is still overseeing the Students’ Fee Assistance Fund. I am incredibly inspired by her selflessness and ability to transform a personal initiative into something more significant, reaching more and more students every year. She saw the long-term effects of breaking the ‘lack of education cycle’ and spur a whole chain of positive events that will come with the women’s education. She absolutely embodies three things that I would like to achieve in my life: gratitude, selflessness, and generosity.”

What does Be All You Are mean to you?

“Be All You Are’ means cultivating any and all of your interests and passions. Even if everything seems to lead you in different directions, you will find that they work in tandem to create a better you!”

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