The First Few Months of IB as a Junior Reply

A few months into the school year, almost every single student at BSGE is drowning in work. With the new schedule’s 45-minute periods, the transition into the new school year is taking a lot longer than expected. For juniors, this transition is made more difficult because it is the first year in the IB Program.

The IB Diploma Program is meant to push students to work to the best of their ability. It prepares students for college by teaching them extensive academic and time management skills. Being a part of the IB Program means completion of the Theory of Knowledge course, an Extended Essay, a total of 100 Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) hours, and meeting specific grade requirements for IB exams. Not all students are IB candidates by the time they end junior year, and an even smaller number actually receive the IB Diploma the summer after senior year. Even though colleges cannot know whether or not a student will eventually get the IB Diploma when they apply,  merely taking the courses and going through such a rigorous process shows how hardworking a student is. The IB Program seems to be intimidating and stressful, but in the end it is all a matter of how the student manages their time.

Compared to in the Middle Years Program, students in IB are given slightly more flexibility with the classes they can take. For math, juniors have the choice between Math SL and Math Studies. For science, the choices are Biology and Chemistry. Some classes are harder than others, but the choice depends mostly on the student’s interests and how much time they are willing to dedicate to each class.

Many juniors are feeling confident about this year. Gabi Prostko’18 said, regarding the school year and workload, “This year’s been not bad so far! I’ve heard to expect the workload to get more intense as months pass, and it’s definitely more work than past years, but I’m managing somehow so far”. Being an IB student, she feels as though she is being treated in a more mature manner, with teachers “preparing us for college but also not treating us like we’re five”. The transition into IB has become a motivation for many to work hard and improve their grades. Because this year is one of the most important years to college, many are starting to see why it is necessary to work to the greatest of your ability.

On the other hand, the new schedule has harmed many people’s previous routines. For Sarah Mathai’18, the year so far has been quite stressful.  The classes seem to be going by too quickly as teachers rush to get through all of the content. The transition into the new schedule has also become a struggle for teachers, because many of them have taught in 70-minute periods for much of their career. Students and teachers are trying to work together to create more suitable lesson and homework plans to adapt previous years’ curricula to the shorter class periods. The pace of each class is a lot quicker than in previous years, but it is getting easier as the year goes by.

With the large number of adjustments and transitions for the juniors, keeping the work under control seems like a challenge, but can be done. Even though it may not seem like it, the motivation that is pushing the class of 2018 is sure to help us successfully get through our first year of IB.

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