Why IB Was The Worst Thing To Happen To Me

Why IB Was The Worst Thing To Happen To Me

But still, I would do it all again.
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If you are, or are friends with an International Baccalaureate student, you've probably seen the posts on social media announcing their freedom from the chains of IB. "We passed!"..."No more IAs!"..."Good riddance, high school!" You're probably thinking all right, we get it. IB kids, can you maybe chill? but their excitement is no exaggeration. IB was the worst two years of my life (for academics and my mental health) and I, for one, am beyond glad it's over.

The first reason that IB was such a horrible experience was the toxic community it created. My public high school had both an IB stream and a regular stream of students. This bred a sense of exclusivity to the point where us IB students had a cult-like support system in place. We were IB. All we could talk about was IB and our EEs, IAs and every two letter acronym we could think of. Although at times, the close-knit community was nice, one person's anxiety would spread to everyone else and our "support system" turned into a machine designed to keep all of us on edge at all times. Many of us rarely ventured out of our IB bubble to find time to relax (and sleep) between our assignments and tests.

Second was the obvious workload. The way IB is designed is to force you to become a well-rounded student. Unlike AP, or my provincial education system, you can't choose courses that you're good at or are interested in pursuing. For IB, you have to take a course in almost every discipline. So although you may find the math coursework to be a piece of cake, the tests, homework, and papers may be overwhelming to another student. Unless you're gifted with an affinity for all subjects, IB guarantees that you will struggle with the workload for at least one course in your high school career.

The worst part of IB, however, are the exams. Senior year exams in May. For me, this meant re-learning two years of material for all my courses in two weeks. Maybe it's just that I'm not too good at dealing with stress, but I can only imagine the number of snaps I've been featured in as "that girl breaking down in the library." However, if the slew of panic-stricken tweets that flooded my feed were any indication, my classmates were in the same boat as me. Honest advice to the IB students in their junior year: start studying early. You've heard that line a million times before for a reason. You may feel invincible after finishing all your IAs and EEs, but exams hit you a lot harder than you will be prepared for. Oh, and don't hesitate to drink tons of bubble tea to get you through the three weeks of hell.

If you ask me right now if I enjoyed IB, I would say with utmost confidence, that no, I did not. Was IB worth it? Would I do it again? Well, yes. I'm a lot stronger than I was before the whole IB debacle took over my life and the happiness of finishing my last exam and running out those school doors is not so bad either. As a bonus, I have a cult-ish support system of friends I can count on for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Crusader Connection

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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Saying "No" Is OK

It is okay to put yourself first and do what's best for you

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It's that time of year again when your days are filled with nothing but class, work, assignments, clubs, extracurricular activities and much more. Your time and brain are going in every possible direction. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if letting go, actually gave you something back? That's right, I am talking about the word no and all it can do for you.

I too, fall into the trap of doing more is better. Having all my time devoted to activities or work is good for me. Taking nineteen plus credits hours somehow makes me a better person, even smarter person. Well, I hate to break it you, and me, that this thought process is extremely detrimental.

There are no rules that say we must do everything and anything. If there are, they are wrong. And that's why saying no is so important.

Currently, I am taking nineteen credit hours. Soon, I am going to make sure that it is sixteen. After the first week of classes, I discovered I was in a class that would provide me with a wonderful education, but it was not counting towards my major. After thinking about it long and hard, I decided that it would be best to say no to this particular class.

Before this year, I would have said, it's okay (even if it wasn't) and muster through the class. To the old me, dropping a class would be like quitting, but I cannot even begin to tell you, and me, how far from the truth that is.

Saying no is brave. Saying no is the right thing to do. Saying no allows you to excel in other areas. Because I have decided to say no, I am opening two more hours in my day. I am relieving myself of work and projects that would add to my already hectic schedule. I am doing what is best for me.

However, there is a part two to this no phenomenon. Continuing with my example, I now have two open hours in my week. The overachiever in me would try to find something to fill it. Maybe another club or activity. Maybe more hours at work or a place to volunteer. And while none of these are bad things to do or have in your life, you are just replacing a time taker with another. When you say no, mean it and don't fill it.

This is your year to say no. Not because you are lazy. Not because you aren't smart enough. Not because you can't. Say no because it is best for you. Say no because it frees you. Say no because you can!

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