Story/Interview December 9, 2021
King’s InterHigh rising star Sidra on her GCSE journey and passion for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Sidra Al Khawam is an inspiring 16-year-old King’s InterHigh student who has a passion for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and has launched an exciting graphic design business. In this blog, Sidra reflects on her time at King’s InterHigh, which she joined for her IGCSEs, explores what she hopes to achieve in the future and offers advice to other students who may be struggling to choose their next steps, as she did.
I initially joined King’s InterHigh at the start of Year 11 in September 2020, to complete my IGCSEs, and I’ve been so impressed with the flexibility the school offers. I finally have time to dedicate to my hobbies and interests!
When IGCSE exams were cancelled, I initially felt very anxious about the way I would be assessed and if my results would be impacted. However, King’s InterHigh was very helpful and quick to respond to such a drastic change, providing regular updates and honest reassurance, which helped me feel at ease.
Although I worked so hard over the course of the year, I was scared to receive my results in the summer of 2021, like lots of other students. But when the page finally loaded, I burst into tears of happiness! The results of my hard work were right in front of me. It was the most amazing feeling. I received grade 9 in Biology, Business, Chemistry, English literature, German, Physics, and Maths, as well as an 8 in English language and a 7 in Computer Science.
Key to helping me achieve this was making sure I did some sort of physical activity at least once a week. This really helped me concentrate on my work, especially during stressful periods, and kept my mind and body active. Exercise also strengthens my memory, improves my thinking skills and aids concentration, enabling me to study at my best.
Every Tuesday morning, I go to a Zumba and Aerobics class, which allows me to stay strong and focused throughout the entire week, and on Sunday I go swimming for at least an hour to clear my mind before a new school week begins.
Additionally, whenever I can, I dedicate time to my hobbies and interests. This includes my musical skills, which is something I really enjoy. I mostly play the piano, but I sometimes like to experiment with new instruments like the xylophone! This makes me feel creative and happy so I’m in the best frame of mind to study.
To help me keep healthy and happy, I have also started to explore the art of cooking! I love food, but I was shocked to find out just how much I enjoy the cooking process. I gather new recipes and try them out as often as I can. Different recipes involve different techniques, and, carefully following detailed instructions, I teach myself new skills. I’m proud to have become familiar with a large variety of dishes, each with its challenges and lessons. This creative outlet has helped me feel confident about myself and in my abilities, which has helped me with my studies too.
Thanks to the flexibility of King’s InterHigh, I have more time to dedicate to my future and extracurricular experiences. This includes starting my own business! Following a Graphic Design course I completed and loved over the summer, I have launched a small Graphic Design business of my own through which I create logos, company profiles, social media posts, and more. I’ve learnt so much from this experience and am excited for what the future holds.
Due to the opportunities I’m able to take advantage of while at King’s InterHigh, I’ve decided to stay to complete my A-Levels. I am studying maths, physics and computer science. Choosing these subjects was a difficult process as I spent a long time unsure about what subject I wanted to study at university.
Deciding what university degree to study is a weighty decision with a difficult process: it feels like a life-changing decision and will impact what my future holds. To help me, I underwent a lot of research into different degrees. After critically considering what I enjoy the most, I narrowed my focus to the Computer Science field. After coming across an Artificial Intelligence and Robotics degree, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for!
I have always had a passion for technology and future developments. Technological advancements will help shape the future and what we can all achieve, and I want to be part of that! Entering this field would be an absolute dream of mine. I’m so excited for what the future holds.