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The Perks of Being an IB Student
Integral to understanding one’s life in IB (notice how I did not say “social life”) is how the innocuous yet essential list of ten characteristics, known as the IB Learner Profile, manage to intrinsically link themselves to a student’s life in every aspect and facet.
While the Learner Profile may be looking for people who ask such insightful questions as “How is the recurring theme of Orwell’s 1984 relevant today and how has it changed over time?” and “How can I improve my ability to understand anatomy and apply it to daily life?”, the questions that normally spring up in the mind of students include compelling queries like “How are we ever going to use this outside of class?”, “How much sleep am I not going to get tonight?”, and, of course, “How will I get through junior and senior year?” To answer these delightful inquiries, I will say this: You’re probably not; almost none; and with much perseverance (read: caffeine) and positivity (read: more caffeine).
IB looks for those who are flexible and versatile in their knowledge and their ability to apply it. Our wonderful teachers provide such great lessons as “how to properly jump off a building at a 27 degree angle of depression”, “how to utilize class time wisely by debating the ethical implications of Call of Duty: Black Ops”, “how to properly satirize any politician”, and “how to read too much into minute details of everything”. This application of seemingly irreleent topics to everyday life is what I think the learner profile is intending. Being able to do this and still make sense in your papers? Now, that’s what I call versatility.
Much of the time spent thinking in IB is used as a way to calculate the odds of death prior to graduating. Also included are thoughts of: throwing your Campbell biology book out your car wnidow; how much money surgery will cost to improve your scoliosis; and where your social life went in all this time.
The ability to communicate in a concise and clean nature is exactly what IB looks for. They will find, however, those who prefer screaming, punching, micromanaging, blaming, varying degrees of texting, many a Facebook post asking for homework, and the once-in-a-while episode of crying. However, there are the saviors who manage to not only maintain part of their sanity while giving directions, but also are able to pull off a new hair style that hides the bald patches on their skull from ripping out tufts in fury. These are the kind of people I look up to.
Honesty is integral to those in the IB course. And thus, the ability to accurately write about the ethics of euthanasia in Theory of Knowledge just five minutes prior to class and still be able to trump someone in a debate outside of class is admirable. This characteristic, of course, also applies to academia in general, where the oft used phrase “IB therefore IBS” is an epithet to many. You may be rambling on to reach word count, but at least it’s your rambling.
Being open to new ideas and being exposed to a wealth of information and culture is, at first, jarring for anyone new to high school. No worries, though, for the student body and staff have had a glorious hand in opening my mind to new thoughts and accepting different ideas. The wealth of information and exposure to new material is splendid and sometimes scarring. You may or may not need therapy after reading Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits.
One of the best things about this particular IB school that I attend is the deep sense of community and friendship. It’s like a family; albeit a family that would probably make any Wes Anderson dynasty look normal. However, it remains that each of us have the best intentions for one another, regardless of how dysfunctional we all are. These are people whom you will make inseparable bonds with over the strangest things. They will not only be interested when you tell them that you can recite the Period Table of Elements, but propose a contest as to who can do it the fastest. They will also always be there for you when you have forgotten your homework over seventy-two times in the last quarter, even if they decide to hold that over your head and demand some sort of later payment.
No, IB does not mean, by risk taking, one who is more than willing to go bungee jumping, or sky diving, or bank robbing. They mean one who is willing to take an academic approach that is novel and new and to get out of one’s comfort zone. As one who enjoys his fluffy, safe comfort zone, this is been the hardest for me to achieve. However, it is certainly not hard to do so. Challenge your teacher’s views! Wear a Guy Fawkes mask whilst reciting the Pledge of Allegiance! Try the cafeteria food! Stay within word count! Now that’s risk taking.
Being a balanced student as well as a balanced person in general is generally a strenuous task. Students do sports, have jobs, have homework, and cut off communication with their siblings. Balancing that is an unenviable task. You now can run a mile in under six minutes, use your disposable income to buy coffee for long nights, utilize those long nights of homework to scrape by tests, and forget your sister’s name. What could be better?
To think and ponder over your learning and experiences is important to becoming a better person. As they say, history repeats itself. And despite all that reflection, we still repeat ourselves So, let’s hope that we don’t repeat that night on Facebook when we should have been studying for that TOK quiz; that English class in which we fell asleep reading Snow Country; and that time you accidentally said “your girlfriend is very heavy” instead of “my backpack is very heavy” in Chinese class.
As stressful and maybe unflattering as I make IB Life sound, it is not that bad. Yes, there are those periods where one doesn’t get sleep and yes, there are moments in class and outside which you would rather forget; but the experience is so joyful and fulfilling, it sometimes makes you forget all of the negatives. Having gone to CIBA for about three years now, life without IB – the insane people, the avalanche of work, the moments in the bathroom where you ask yourself about the meaning of life – is hard to think of. Every time I write a letter or a paper, I manage to make the same kind of heading as I do in class. Every time I read a book or watch a TV commercial, I use the same kind of investigative analysis that I learned in English. Every time I pace in my room, I do so in concentric circles. And every time I leave my room, I ask myself if my stuffed animals really stay put or get up and walk around. IB has become oddly essential to the way I live, and despite the procrastination, it has become a center of learning and happiness for me.