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IB Stuff I Hate The Most: An Angry Rant

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Before I bust through my keyboard in fits of stressed anger, I might as well introduce myself (especially considering this is my first post on IBsurvival.com). I go to a school where IB is offered as the most rigorous academic option one can possibly choose. As I've explored this website, I've discovered that in other high schools programs like AP and Junior College (?) are offered alongside IB. At my school, there are regular classes and there are IB classes, and that's it. There are 15 juniors in the IBDP, including me, and we're halfway through 2nd semester of our junior year.

Lately, I've been thinking really hard about why I put myself in this program. I think it's because I've been in advanced classes every year and when I decided to go for the diploma, I figured it was just the next set of advanced courses, the next step. Except now I realize that when I took this step, I fell through some sort of latch door and straight into a fiery pit.

This year has been the most miserable in my life (granted I've only even had 16 or so years of it). I cry all the time, I have worse anxiety than I think most humans are supposed to experience, and through my Psych IB course I've unofficially diagnosed myself with depression. All I can think about is this massive weight that's always dangling above my head.

If I work really hard, bust my ass doing homework for hours and hours every night, sometimes the weight isn't so scary. There's a feeling of accomplishment until I realize that the weight never shrinks or moves. It stays in the exact same place, ready to smush me, and the only way to make it not-so-bad again is to continue painstakingly studying at every goddamn moment of my life.

Recently I started to realize that in order to study so hard, I gave up the things in my life that really mattered to me.

I stopped writing completely. Writing is my greatest passion and it's what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. I had a short story published at the beginning of the year, and I hoped to continue publishing my work throughout the year to get my name out int he writing world. But writing is something that takes time, and IB does not allow it's participants extraneous time. I barely have any to practice piano or guitar. My school's newspaper is falling apart because I don't have time to keep it together anymore. I had to quit karate (which is probably why I'm at least 75% ready to kick something at any given moment). I don't have time to participate in Tech Crew, and now I'm demoted to a camera operator because it's the only position where you only have to show up one time. I haven't even read a book in 2 months (something I usually do in a couple of days). Because of my 6 classes, I don't have room for an art class (another thing which is very important to me). Basically, everything that was important to me I had to give up for the sake of my academics.

And then there's CAS, which has become unbearably complicated this year (if you don't know about this you should check it out). CAS, which is supposed to simply be proof of a well-rounded student who has more than a 4.0 GPA, but a passion for the world and it's people. CAS hours must also show a high, complex understanding of the world, a wide range of thinking. The problem is that they've given us 7 Learning Outcomes that are supposed to serve as prompts for high level, expansive thinking, when in actuality, they only serve to put our experiences in a labelled box. They've given us the perfect tools to shrink our wide experiences, our complex thoughts, into 7 little boxes. I can't stand it. I know I'm supposed to jump through those 7 hoops and be done with it, but it's just so absurd.

There are so many hoops involved in this program my coordinator created a motto for us: "IB BS." I just don't see the point in jumping through all their hoops, especially at the cost of my happiness. And besides, if I do decide not to go for the diploma anymore, I can still register for the exams for collegecredits. At my school, I can still take TOK (which I do enjoy for the philosophic discussions). I can have the freedom to take the classes I want to take without worrying about HLs and SLs. I can drop whichever classes I need to in order to get my life back to the way it should be: happy. 

I'm just really tired of it all, but someone might as well try to convince me to stay.


Edited by chieftanliv
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IMO if it is making you miserable and you have an alternative to the IB which isn't going to disadvantage you... Why continue in IB?

The alternative is that you can try to make better use of your time. I mean an art lesson and that theatre technician thing should be legit CAS so it's 2 birds with one stone kind of thing and you don't have to ditch your hobbies because they score you CAS hours anyway. Homework shouldn't take you hours and hours every night - can you prioritise necessary vs unnecessary homework? 

IB is soul crushingly life consuming. It's both great 'prep' for being able to perform highly under pressure the rest of your life, and also stupid because why spend more of your life under high pressure than you have to? Depends on your perspective.

Really though you either need to tough it out and try to get the balance better somehow, or give up and weigh the pros/cons of doing that. It's your call.

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It's alright to rant once in awhile, IB can be really really stressful... ^^" I agree with Sandwich about you considering the possibility of continuing IB but personally, I understand your struggle. I was put into the IB system over a finger snap notice during the school holidays from a regular school and the next thing I knew was I didn't even get to say a proper goodbye to my friends. IB is definitely soul crushing, it makes you cry 24/7 and really feel like getting out of it but the contents that the IB teaches can be interesting and it often thought me how to think critically what I have learnt may be true or false. This is generally where TOK steps in. :) I practically deleted most of my source of entertainments and stopped having the leisure to read novels either. I've even been crying due to the stress in IB for these past few weeks and the amount of work has left me extremely exhausted. Sometimes I kind of question whether I should stay in IB, I bet its quite common that students in IB who do so. Somehow I would always find the joy to have opportunities to learn different things from the IB compared to the national syllabus here. Instead of just giving up everything that makes me happy in my life, I'm getting the opportunity to work a few steps ahead being equipped with most of the stress I would be getting in uni and probably skip a few semesters ahead. I didn't get to take Psychology here but I can perfectly tell you that the stress with the people here and my sudden change between syllabus has caused me depression too. There are a few things that you definitely can prioritize like how Sandwich advised. Arts can be part of your hobby too. I usually take the long holidays to reward myself and spend the whole day just drawing again, you could actually request for a supervisor to credit your hobby as your CAS, which is creativity and you can draw endless things such as taking up challenges to draw something about peer counselling which is a project my juniors and I are now working on. CAS isn't as hard as you think. I suggest you to use an opportunity during the summer break before you transition to DP2 to work on a large project to gain more CAS hours, you could work on something related to your future career and that helps you in your university application. That's the little stuffs about IB if you feel like you still want to consider IB ^_^ 

Of course, if you finally made the decision that the alternative would be a better choice for you, go for it!!!!!!!!!! Life's too short for you to feel sorrowful and too stressed out. Live it you own it rather than having IB to take over your life and stay happy ;) 

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I think the main problem with your school and experience is that you don't have a good support network. At my school there are approximately 600 students and it's an IB only school. Every one of my peers and seniors (well, not considering that I am currently a senior) do the IB and we all complain about it a considerable amount (I'm not saying it's not difficult) but the thing about the IB is that it doesn't operate on a bell-curve so that if everybody gets a 45 then the IB is cool with that and won't moderate people down. So, we share notes, we understand the IB lingo, and we share sites and resources.

While I can't help with an inter-school support network, there are lots of resources specifically tailored for the IB on the internet if you search the right things. You will get to know what sites help with what. This is particularly true for Psych, English, and TOK/EE. Share this with your fellow IB peers and create a support network between the 15 of you. Become more knowledgeable about how the IB operates. If you don't know about the assessments that you will be given then it's much harder to work with this system. It's a very structured program which I think makes it more effective than other systems, if not easier. Find the syllabus for each of your subjects and make notes off that.

And remember, there is a great support network here. I am willing to hand out notes and advice, as are most people who do/have done the IB. If it's really not for you, quit it before it's too late. But it is a very beneficial program once you get used to it (which I will admit, takes about a year) and universities prefer it over other courses such as AP or OP.

And one last thing, about your extracurricular activities; most of the ones you listed are eligible for CAS! The IB promotes balance and while it doesn't make it easy in practice, somebody who doesn't do the things they love is certain to crash and burn. Because nobody can deal with that kind of stress.

Contact us if you need help or support!

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