"International Baccalaureate," what a mouthful, isn't it? But those two words sum up my high school years, mostly because it's that specific academic program that made my life absolutely miserable. It's funny, though, how I'm able to reminisce my "Dark Ages" and view it in a slightly more positive (and comical) way. So, what better way to commemorate the experience than to write about a few of its most striking features?
1. So. Many. Acronyms.
IOP (Individual Oral Presentation). EE (Extended Essay). IA (Internal Assessment). TOK (Theory of Knowledge). These are the ones that I specifically remember, but I'm sure there were much more. My peers and I knew these distinctions by our junior year (when the IB program actually begins), but it was a new world for our pre-IB freshmen selves.
2. Writing becomes second nature.
There's a well-known saying between IB students that goes like this: "IB. Therefore, I BS." It's our motto and mantra. Simply put, we're so used to writing an essay every single night (thank you, English class...) that we can do it in our sleep. Or, at least, within half an hour during lunch. It comes in handy when you choose an English topic for your Extended Essay research paper, thereby forcing yourself to write almost 4,000 words about a novel that's equivalent to the size and weight of a massive brick. (But I enjoyed it nonetheless.)
3. The level of procrastination we can accomplish is unreal.
This connects to number two, in a way. Many IB students can put off an entire project until a few days before it's due and still finish with flying colors. Same goes with essays. You'd be surprised at how far an assignment can be pushed until the very last minute. We're masters at it, to the extent that we procrastinate on our procrastination. It's a blessing and a curse.
4. Sleep is for the weak.
I say this both with a light laugh and with utmost seriousness. Junior and senior year was when the amount of time I slept dwindled down into the lower single digits. So, I learned to adapt and become more nocturnal.
...Now that's a huge lie on my part. In reality, all of us were zombies.
5. Three letters: CAS.
I don't really need to expand on this that much because I think all IB graduates remember the horrors of Creativity, Action and Service. It's basically the IB's version of community service/volunteer hours. Here's a good summary of it:
If this was an option, I would've taken it within a heartbeat.
6. That feeling of relief after finishing IB exams in senior year.
There's nothing quite like it, honestly. Once you walk away from your last however-hours-long exam, you're free. You can do whatever you please because there's pretty much nothing else left to learn. If you're excused from finals, then you're perfect to the T.
That is, until exam results come out in July. In which case, you may have a reaction similar to the one below (either out of joy or out of sadness):