Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To IB or not to IB

I have been a student at the International School of Curitiba (ISC) for the past thirteen years and, ever since elementary, I always heard about this mythical creature called the ‘IB’.  Supposedly, this was some type of monstrous course you had to take in High School-it took away your sleep and made everyone look like zombies. Now that I am a sophomore, only a quarter away from becoming an IB candidate, I see everything from a different perspective.

Every one is entitled to one unrealistic dream, and mine is of working for Amnesty International- or at least for any other NGO of this sort. Model United Nations is one of my biggest passions together with writing and public speaking. Still, I do not wish to work directly to the United Nations since, unfortunately, I believe the organization is not as transparent as it should and that, even if it helps countries and people deal with crisis, not all funds are used in an appropriate manner. If this was to actually be my future goal, my college major most certainly would not have anything to do with Physics, hence representing that me taking this course will be useless. Well, no knowledge is completely useless, but it will most certainly have nothing to do with my future. 

For the last few months, I have spent every available hour in my day pondering: what will I do with my life? This is the first question you need to ask yourself as an IB student- you must have at least a broad idea about what are your interests, your likes and dislikes.  I have been completely torn between my options, being that I am sixteen years old and I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life- I have dreams, everyone does, but not that will help me decide what classes I will be taking for the next two years. So many unanswered questions… and if it had been not for our career orientation sessions, I would perhaps be having a nervous breakdown right now. Our counselor has been making us take typology tests such as Holland Codes and Myer-Briggs tests and, they have helped me have a cleared idea of what my academic strengths are. Of course, I understand that they do not provide me with exact guidelines of who I am and what will I do in college; yet, it is a start for me to be working with. According to these tests, my ideal job would include an area that involves public speaking, writing and lecturing others; I am of social and enterprising nature. Not that I do not agree with these results, because I do, but they do not englobe all of my areas of interest. For instance, even though I am not one of those mathematics or biology prodigies, they are subjects I clearly enjoy and whose account was not taken into consideration by either of these tests.  

As my last few months as a student with a fairly regular sleeping pattern, I am very excited to choose my classes for next year, and presentations on each course have made me understand more about what I will have to choose from.  For instance, I previously had no understanding whatsoever of the difference between Literature and Language and Literature- now that I do, I am certain of which one pleases me more and where my profile matches best. I was almost absolutely sure of what High Level and Standard Level classes I want to take, but these plans were ruined as soon as the only class I did not plan to take, Physics, became an obligatory course if we want to earn the Brazilian Diploma. This was the one subject I knew would not make a difference in my future because, given that I have already had contact with it for approximately two years, never was I fascinated by the quantum world and all that Physics has helped us accomplish. I recognize that it is an important subject; still, not one that I would like to take. This ruined my plan of taking High Level Biology as my science option and Economic as my elective given that now I will have to take Physics as my science course and Biology as my elective.
Life at an IB School 
Even though I recognize that taking the IB will be to my benefit once I enter college, I constantly find myself reflecting about rather will IB or not IB. I am still not sure I want to study abroad, and I hope the remaining time I have before I need to send our college applications will be enough for me to make this decision. The work load of an IB student is significantly bigger from that of an average student in Brazil, yet I see this as woking harder now in High School to suffer less once I get into college- wherever that may be. After all, I know that I am not the quickest decision maker in the universe –it took me about eight years to ‘man up’ and face my IB choices-, but ISC offers a strong support for students who are as lost as I am. Just be sure that, if you are also facing though decisions regarding your future, that you apply yourself entirely to whatever it is you choose to do. IB will most certainly put you in front of other fellow students in college- you will be more prepared to face the challenges imposed on you by your upcoming adult life. Make sure to put enough effort so that you only have to do things once- it must be the worse feeling in the world to spend two years of your life preparing for an exam so you can earn a diploma and fail such exam. Furthermore, make sure you are not taking a burden heavier that you can carry- you do not want to end up like Hitler and fail HL Math.