Looking back, I really have no idea why I decided to do International Baccalaureate. Every upperclassmen I talked to discouraged me from it, whether they were in the program or not.
“Well, do you like to sleep?” they asked sardonically.
“Kiss your social life goodbye,” they scoffed.
On top of their disapproval, only a small handful of my close friends were considering it too. In fact, only a small handful of people I actually knew were considering it.
But despite all of this, I signed away my junior and senior year to Mrs. Murphy — and haven’t looked back since.
And you know what? It’s been great.
IB introduced me to the wonders and terrors of caffeine. To date, I have pulled four accidental all-nighters trying to cram in every last ounce of information before a test the next day. Two of these happened in the same week of first semester finals my junior year. I’ve since restricted my intake to just iced tea a couple times a week.
You probably wouldn’t know it if you heard me awkwardly talk about Cross Country during the fall sports pep assembly, but my public speaking skills have improved immensely through IB. After giving countless presentations on things like the use of triads in Dante’s “Inferno” and how happiness can be measured that range anywhere from 10 minutes to 30, I feel like I could present on just about anything.
IB also gave me the opportunity to really get to know the Plaza Library as my second home. Through hours of studying there I learned the rounds of the female security guard and, hence, when I could eat my unauthorized Mixx salad and put my feet up on the chairs. I learned the wifi password by heart, where the best tables are and that if at 8 p.m. the barista runs out of coffee and offers you 12 ounces of espresso instead — say no.
I could talk about the academic strengths of the program or the extreme preparedness I feel going into college, but when I’m 85 and looking back on my time in IB, those aren’t the things I’ll remember.
I’ll remember bringing my English class chocolate raspberry truffles, which were actually chocolate covered pimiento olives, for a project on deception in ‘Hamlet’. I’ll remember the look of pure shock and disgust on Taylor McDougal’s face after he shoved the whole thing in his mouth and realized it wasn’t a truffle after all.
I’ll remember hiding from Mrs. Fishman on that field trip to the Jewish Community Center for the Holocaust survivors presentation because I never actually turned in a permission slip. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I just really wanted to get out of that Biology test. Sorry, Mrs. Vannice. And sorry, Mom.
I’ll remember when that one AP history teacher who always hated us told us to keep our “cheating voices down” in the library. And I’ll remember walking past her room wearing our IB T-shirts in the hopes that she would see them and, just maybe, secretly want one for herself.
IB introduced me to so many amazing people, students and teachers alike, that it’s hard to imagine I would be the same person I am today without them.
Sure IB had its pitfalls, like requiring me to write a three thousand to four thousand word research paper and scheduling the last part of my history exam after my summer break has already started. But at the end of it all, those details will simply be remembered as minor setbacks.
I’ll actually miss those arguments about religion in TOK and the occasional — no — constant phallic jokes in psych and pretty much every other class. I’ll miss the late night study sessions and all the complaining in the Facebook group. But most of all, I’ll miss my 29 classmates-turned-friends and every stressful, crazy, inappropriate moment we shared in these past two years.