Bloom Graduate, 2019
Livina is proud to say that she was one of Bloom’s first students. She has fond memories of her earliest days, when play-based learning was the primary approach. The shift from struggling to memorize times tables in a traditional school, to learning those same fundamentals through play in a Montessori environment, was dramatic. This different approach to learning helped her blossom.
Play-based learning informed her earliest years, which is common for early primary learning in Montessori environments, but as she got older the academic requirements became more rigorous. Despite a demanding curriculum, her teachers tied her learning objectives to her interests: Livina studied puberty to meet the public system standards for learning biology. “School can teach you how to process information, develop your work ethic, deal with people, ask for help, and leverage a community. But when you’re super passionate, you’ll do some deep investigation to pursue an interest.” At the end of primary school, Livina fell in love with Korean culture through K-pop music and began teaching herself Korean.
In high school Livina learned that adults don’t know everything! She realized that the Cambridge exam system was as new to her teachers as it was to her and that that she needed to actively research, question and discuss the examination process with her teachers in order to ensure that she delivered exactly what was needed of her. But Livina recognized that her teachers had valuable life experiences, and that she could learn from them. She saw her teachers “learning and evolving.”
Importantly, Bloom pushed her to think critically about the answer to the question “why?” which was stimulating for her. “School should teach us how to ask questions and be open to receiving the answer. It won’t always be something you like, but questioning is critical to the fundamentals of being human! And if you don’t like the answer, ask yourself: why don’t you like the answer? When you don’t like something, you should be able to think critically and give three reasons. People shouldn’t be able to make statements without even having thought about why they feel the way they do.”
High school was very stressful, but Bloom helped her become independent. “We were given a lot of freedom, but ultimately you know that your work and your time are your responsibility. I had to problem-solve on my own very often. A lot of people don’t learn these skills until they get into university, but it’s helpful have acquired these skills as a high schooler.”
“Students need skills, but also space to figure out what they want to do.” When figuring out her life’s purpose, she stated that she wants to “tell honest stories that touch other people.” Livina plans to spend a year interning for music companies in Korea and other countries, composing and recording more of her own music, and becoming certified in five languages.