Confessions of an IBDP Graduate: A Reflection of Two Yearsby Aida Ileani Ross
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) was nothing less than an adventure. It was two years of last minute everything, and a whole lot of hard work. Between my Internal Assessments, required reading, and extra-curricular activities, I rarely had time to get bored. But now that I’ve finished the IBDP, I have spent three weeks binge watching everything in my Netflix ‘recommended’ box, I’ve had a self-reflection of some sorts; IBDP really was more than all the work. So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 lessons I’ve learned from the IBDP.
Be CONFIDENT in all of your choices
People always say the best way to live your life is with unapologetic confidence. We praise Rihanna for daring fashion choices, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be as daring in everything we do. You are most definitely going to make terrible decisions in school. There will be a time when you should absolutely not eat three servings of chicken nuggets at once in the school cafeteria, but that doesn’t mean you won’t do it. You will most definitely have to make difficult decisions. You will realize that skipping lunch to sit with your sad friend in the bathroom and be there for her is important.
I learned to have confidence in my choices, and it has given me a better outlook on life. I care less about judgemental eyes around, and more about how I felt after making those decisions. Most importantly, I learned to make decisions that are important to my personal development. My social skills have absolutely improved throughout the IBDP because I learned to communicate my opinions and express myself better with others. I learned to stand by what I believe in.
WHO cares if you’re a try-hard?
I overloaded myself with extra-curricular activities during my time in the IBDP. Sports? Check. Martial arts? Check. Music? Check. TEDx organiser? Check. Model UN? Check. (Honestly, how did I do all of that?)
I was also very passionate about the subjects I took in school. I love history. I read extra material because I was genuinely interested in the class, and my hand shot up every time I was allowed to ask a question.
I’ve learned that being called an ‘overachiever’ is not necessarily negative, even though some people tend to use the word to put down strong, passionate, goal-oriented individuals. You won’t have any regrets about trying something you were interested in even if it doesn’t work out, because you took the effort to step out of your comfort zone. Through these activities, you will also meet a lot of people who share the same interests as you, making amazing memories along the way. When I look back on the time I organized a TEDxYouth event during the junior year, I remember how my best friend, Aditi (who co-organized the event with me) and I went around lunch tables with a rehearsed skit to get people to buy tickets - and it was so fun!
GRADES aren’t everything
Don’t push yourself to the point of self-destruction over a grade. What matters is that you are working hard and trying your best. So what if you get a B or a C one time? If you’re worried about how it will look on an application: don’t. There’s a lot more to the review process than solely looking at grades, especially if you’re taking rigorous courses. Of course, try your best to make As (or in the IBDP, 7s), but what’s most important is the knowledge you are gaining. Live in the moment and explore what your lessons are truly about in depth. I know I did, and it made my learning experience more engaging and full of passion.
Do something fun every now and then! The IBDP is tough, and I found that loosening up and being a teenager is just as important as putting hard work into classes. Don’t miss Spirit Week at SKIS. Go to the school dances even if you think they are lame. Be bold and try to sing for a crowd. You’re going to need something to reminisce on, and I can guarantee you it will not be your exams!
ASK for help
You don’t know everything, even if you think you know yourself better than anyone else. I entered the IBDP with a lot of confidence, but I learned that I simply do not -- and probably will not ever -- know everything. Learning to reach out to someone and admit you need guidance is essential, especially in a course as challenging as the IBDP. Sometimes all you really need is to tell someone you aren’t handling things perfectly. I met incredible teachers and friends during the IBDP, and they have made my experience a lot happier and easier.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than learning about yourself and being true to what you want. I grew into my own skin over the past two years. Despite all the stressful nights and tired days, I had fun trying new things and finding out who I am and want to be.
I am proud of my accomplishments, and the fact that I try hard. Past me has nothing on present me, and future me is going to hopefully be even better. Sri KDU absolutely made my IBDP experience some of the best years of my life!
Aida Ileani Ross