So. I'm done. I got my diploma. I'm going to university. I made it. Amazing. I got my results three weeks ago but I hadn't deleted this app cause I guess I hadn't finished processing that it's all really over, y'all. But I didn't want to just say goodbye without really saying anything relevant or helpful before so here are some realistic tips from an IB survivor.
•BE INTERESTED. As cliché as it sounds, when choosing a topic for your EE or IAs pick something you are GENUINELY interested in. I know it sounds like bull but that will really make all the research, analysis and typing like much less of a burden. If you are really interested in it, you'll be fascinated and eager to do more research, it won't be a boring task you HAVE to complete. I chose an EE topic I am still fascinated by and I loved working on my EE cause I was able to find out a lot more about it. A similar thing happened with my IAs. Don't rush into a topic just because it's the first thing you could find, actually look for something that interest you.
•RESPECT DEADLINES. Again, I kNOW I sound like every teacher ever by saying this but trust me, deadlines are your beat friends. If you keep up with the deadlines your teachers give you, if they break the project down into several deadlines (one for topic, one for plan, one for half of the words, one for a full first draft, etc.) then even you fellow procrastinators will not be doing an ENTIRE thing in one night. If your teacher gave you a single deadline, then give yourself several deadlines, break it down, and work on it little by little.
•WORK AT YOUR OWN PACE. Speaking of procrastinators, everyone is quick to bash us, but honestly, if you work best under pressure go for it. I know I do. I did most of my TOK essay and one of my best IAs the night before they were due. Don't over do it and get over confident, though, you need to realistically keep in mind your abilities. Before I typed up said essays in one night, I had done all my research beforehand. Learn how you best work and stick to that. Don't feel pressured by classmates that begin a task a month before, that's just the way THEY do it. BUT keep in mind that you ONLY stick to that work schedule IF you notice it's working. If all your work done in that way has given poor results, then you should look into changing it.
•STUDY GROUPS. This is something that really depends on the type of person and student you are. There are some people that prefer to work alone and that is totally fine but I must say I did find working with classmates very helpful. Not only do you exchange information, challenge and push each other, you can also form an amazing bond and friendship. I know I'll never forget my History class. Sharing information can be very helpful for everyone involved, and working with others is also great because it somehow becomes less stressful, knowing you're not alone in this and occasionally fooling around amidst all the crazy studying helps with nerves, stress and anxiety. All work and no play will break you.
•GET SECOND OPINIONS. It happens every once in a while that we get unlucky with teachers. If you're not satisfied with the way a teacher graded your work, or the grade they gave you doesn't seem right (maybe you feel it's too low or too high), don't be afraid to ask another teacher to check your work as well just to be sure. Same thing if you have a question your teacher is not clearing up, ask another teacher or, reinforcing the point above, a classmate.
•KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Now, unfortunately, this is something I regret not doing. As the IB was coming to an end I became less and less motivated. By the time final exams came around in year two, I was completely demotivated to study. I no longer cared whether I did well or not, I just wanted it to be over. Because of that I barely studied, and it reflected on some of my final grades. So now I tell you to please never do that. It's only two years and you can do it, give it your all, I assure you you can make it. If you're starting year two and feeling tired, keep at it, I swear it's just one final stretch, you've already gotten this far.
•IT'S WORTH IT. I know, again very cliché but it is. I kNOW it all seems like just an unnecessary stress ball being forced into your life but it's not. I'm not saying it's easy, this programme nearly killed me several times but I learned a lot, not only in terms of the subjects I took, but also about handling stress, dealing with an insane amount of workload, and I can write a 1500 word essay with my eyes closed. Not to mention the fact that, as I said above, I created some amazing relationships with my classmates and even some teachers. And now that it's over and I did well, it honestly just feels good to know that I did it, that I made it through successfully. I think that the feeling of victory over this IBeast is rewarding enough.
•NO SHAME IN DROPPING. I'm a 4HL student. I had my 4 HLs throughout the whole two years. I kept telling myself I would drop one but for some reason never did. I was able to handle it, yes at times I wish I had dropped one but in the end I survived and did quite well on all 4. But, I was one of the FEW that didn't drop one. If you have 4HLs and are hesitant to drop one because you feel like you're giving up, get that out of your head. There's no shame in dropping an HL eventually, most people do it and I honestly believe it's the right choice. If, as a student with 4 HLs you're struggling to keep up with all four just pick one to drop, I swear there will be no judgement from anyone, and if there is hmu and I'll smack the judgement out of them.
•DON'T LET IT TAKE OVER. Yes, the IB is extremely demanding. But that doesn't mean your life needs to revolve around it. Come on, you're in highschool, I kNOW the guilt that comes with going out or working on something that's not IB related, but try to ignore it and do it anyways. Y'all, go ahead and think about what you'll be wearing to grad, go hang out with your friends, go to the movies, take a break, you deserve it and you need it. As I said before, all work and no play will eventually break you.
•HOBBY NOT OBLIGATION. Ah yes, one of the most famous acronyms in this programme, CAS. Again, super cliché, but take part in activities you enjoy. I kNOW it's an obligation but try not to treat it as one. Sure, you have to write about it, but choose something you enjoy. For C and A pick out that one thing you've always wanted to learn to do, or that hobby you stopped doing for whatever reason. Don't take this as a task, instead look at it as an opportunity to do something you enjoy and relaxes you, as you still work towards obtaining your diploma. Same thing goes for S, if you start doing a service activity and you don't like it, look for something else, that's what I did. I dropped several things because I simply didn't enjoy it, and I stuck with something I really liked and genuinely fulfilled me. Trust me, if you try, you will find that handful of things you enjoy.
•UPDATE CAS JOURNAL REGULARLY. Yet another thing I didn't do and wish I had. I tried to do it but it slipped my mind every time. Try try try to update your CAS journal every week, just spend a few minutes on it every Sunday and be done with it. I kNOW it's a tedious and annoying thing but if you update it often (I'd say AT LEAST once a month) then you won't see yourself in the situation where you have to hand in a certain number of entries and you have NOTHING, so you have to play Sherlock Holmes, printing calendars, checking dates of pictures and texts to figure out when you did what. That's really just more effort and work, trust me I've been there. So keep up with the CASdashians.
•TOOLS AND RESOURCES. Use them all. Or at least give them a chance. If a teacher or classmate recommends an online tool/resource look it up and give it a try. I was quite hesitant (and lazy) to experiment but in the end I'm happy I gave them a try. Bio Ninja (now with an app) and Smartbacc saved my life on many occasions, and Diigo is amazing for keeping track of websites you use and quotes you've extracted from them. And if you find something useful, be a pal and share it with the community, we can all use the help and the tips.
•YOU CAN DO IT. Finally, one last cliché: you can do this. Believe me, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed yet here I am, graduated and starting university in three weeks. I had to deal with stress, anxiety, doubt, all of it, but I did it. It's hard as nipples in the snow but it's not impossible. You have your smarts, you have your teachers, you have your friends, you have your family (don't underestimate their knowledge), you have the internet, and of course this amazing international community of stressed out, broken IB students all over the world. You'll be alright, trust me.
Yikes that was WAY too long, maybe it's a bunch of nonsense (like most of my essays) but I hope it's useful nonsense that helps at least some of you in any way.
Okay bye now. Good luck. Now go, children, go forth and conquer, show those examiners what you're made of.