Sophomore year. The year that chemistry hits everyone hard, math isn’t all easy A’s anymore and the first chance for me to take an AP course in social studies– AP European History.
It’s the beginning of the advanced placement track that some students will carry on for the next two years. It’s also the year for students to make the hard decisions for classes beginning junior year that will affect the rest of their high school experience. The course options open up to AP, IB, standard classes or a mix of all three.
I chose the mere idea of the International Baccalaureate program in eighth grade. The concept of a close knit family all taking classes as hard as AP intrigued me. I shadowed St. Teresa’s Academy, Bishop Miege and Sion, who all offered advanced course options, and I would have had a great education at any of them. However, Shawnee Mission East offered the IB program. Although it sounds absurd, the idea of being able to accept a two-year long challenge stuck out to me– in a good way.
Now here I am, two years later about to pursue my eighth grade self’s dream, finally realizing how rigorous the next two years ahead of me will be. In eighth grade, I knew it was a difficult course load, but I didn’t quite grasp just how difficult.
Now that I have been given all the facts and witnessed my brother undergo this course load, I’m able to grasp what IB truly entails. Seminar will be replaced with the Theory of Knowledge course, CAS hours will be a required part of my life and I will have the weight of an extended essay on my shoulders for the next two years.
However, it isn’t completely time consuming. I see my brother relax (sometimes) and I know that the stereotypes surrounding the program aren’t 100% true. The IB kids are far from anti-social dorks – they’re editors of publications, captains of sports teams and people with a wide variety of hobbies and social circles. I have no intention of quitting everything to complete this program.
I am willing to face this challenge by putting all my effort towards the full IB diploma program and extracurriculars at East. Sure, there may be times where I’ll be home on a Friday night finishing up an essay, or my focus will solely be on organic chemistry for days.
I’m not even halfway through the rigor of my high school career. The jump from freshmen year courses to sophomore was hard for me and from what I’ve heard, nothing compares to the immense step from sophomore classes to junior IB classes. However, it is also thrilling to know I will be learning more than the basics and choosing this path in order to do so. When an IB student presented to my chemistry class about IB chem 2, she explained it as a class where you don’t just learn chemistry, it transforms you into a chemist.
It won’t be easy. As a 15 year old, I know that I will have to force myself to be motivated, not procrastinate and that Monday night Bachelor episodes and Criminal Minds binges won’t always fit into my schedule anymore. Despite this, I chose to sign up and take this educational path, and I don’t believe that it will make me antisocial or be completely life-consuming.