My dear IB fellows, as I am writing this article my calendar tells me that I have exactly 30 days for my subject exams. One month until I enter the exam week that will determine my university life. In one month, I will be taking one more step towards all of the hopes and wishes I have for my future. Honestly I don’t know what to feel about this fact – am I ready? Am I not? During the course of these 2 years, I have experienced many ups and downs. With IB I have gained a lot, but I’ve also had to sacrifice a lot. This article is my small tribute to the past, present, and future Zeynep for accomplishing this program and it is a realistic feedback writing for those who are just starting IB.
I started IB when quarantine was in the picture; so I could say compared to doing face-to-face school, online IB was a lot easier. My classes were on Zoom where I could close my camera whenever I felt like it or wouldn’t enter the class because ‘‘My internet connection is very bad.’’ Aside from jokes, online IB gave me lots of time to write my IAs and EE, do my homework daily and spare some time for myself. I’ve finished my English B EE and Biology IA way too early. While some of my friends were trying to read the book they are going to analyze in their essay one week before the deadline, I was studying other subjects. I’m sure my eyesight didn’t benefit from this change of blue light intake but all I had to do was wake up to go to school. So no regrets here!
What I regret is Math HL. In my math class nobody opened their cameras in Zoom, even our teacher. It was my first time with this teacher and something I always experienced with Turkish teachers is that they would always try to form relationships with their students in the knowledge of boundaries. But he didn’t, even after one year he wasn’t aware of our names. These may sound like excuses, and they are, a little bit, because I am definitely at fault here too. Because DP2 Zeynep regretted not listening to online classes or solving any past paper questions. I had to put in a lot of extra effort in second year to close the gaps of my own laziness, therefore my first tip is to NOT UNDERESTIMATE MATH AA! (I’m not shouting, sorry) From the start, try to keep up with the topics simultaneously with your teacher; it will help you a lot. And solve past paper questions specifically – the IB has a very different question style where they ask you multiple topics in one question, so regular questions won’t be the creature you’ll have to face in the real exam.
My second regret is the summer of DP1. Zeynep had 2 and a half months to finish her Math IA, find a concrete topic for her History IA and write her Common App essays. But what did she do? Got sunburnt so much that it hurt to lay down. (She did look good tho 🙂 ) I advise you to not to do the mistake I did, of course you will relax and lick the wound of DP1 but you have this long free time where you can spend into making your life easier in DP2. Use that time and at least make some sort of progress with your EE.
If I was allowed to swear while writing for the blog, I could explain the second year of IB to you very easily. I am doing the second year face-to-face in school and probably I haven’t experienced something so stressful in my 18 years of living! Unfortunately I can’t even say that it started off easy. I started waking up at 6:30am to get to school and have 75 minutes of classes with so little break between them. The context of the classes weren’t easy as well; I remember being exhausted and my head literally hurting at the end of the first week. I got used to that tempo, but then November-December came. In those months, I had to finalize the TOK Exhibition and Math IA, and my biology classes were useless because my teacher was absent in terms of teaching and I couldn’t get feedback on my IA. On top of that, I had my exam week. January wasn’t any better – I had so much going on that I mixed up the starting time of my German IOA and had to run through the whole school to not miss it. My school began to fail at giving us the needed guidance and we had to do everything on our own, which was exhausting. I cannot speak for every IB journey, but the first term of second year passed with lots of crying and disappointment for me.
What I regret is my Math IA (I hear you saying ‘‘Math, again?’’ and yes, math again). I belong to the people who postpone the things they are not good at and instead focus on the ones that they are good at. Therefore; in the time where I had to write Math IA because the deadline is closer, I wrote my History IA. I am very proud of how my History IA turned out, but I wish it didn’t take my Math HL for it. Not going to lie – I didn’t talk with my teacher when choosing a subject or writing and didn’t pay much attention to it until last month. I did finish writing it but it took me begging everyone I know to give me feedback because I only handed in two sections in the first feedback session with my teacher and sobbing while fixing my mistakes a couple of hours before deadline. So, my advice is don’t ever do anything I just said in this paragraph!
Throughout this article, I admit that I wrote way too much about crying, stress and sorrows. It might even be discouraging to some of you. If that’s the case I apologize, but I want to reflect on my experience honestly. Nobody denies that IB is hard and sometimes I even wonder if it is healthy to give this much work to high schoolers. Naturally, I had some other elements regarding my school to have this thought but I am not going to sugarcoat it to you guys and say it is all sunshines and rainbows. It is most definitely not. But as everyone says, at the end all of the suffering comes with it the same amount of reward.
I am so proud of myself for fulfilling every IB requirement and carrying this heavy weight successfully without giving up. This confidence in myself for accomplishing such a thing will follow and support me throughout my university life, I am sure of it. This might sound like I am promoting the IB Learner Profile but I do feel like my crisis management skills have increased. Whenever I face an obstacle now, either in my personal or academic life, I am quick on my feet to react because I’ve lived many experiences during IB requiring this quality. It does also teach you how to find happiness in little things. One empty period between Biology and Math class, the hot tea and candle while writing my History IA (yes, I am that Pinterest girl), eating chocolate with friends where one of you had a discussion with a teacher, not going to school one day and having the time to take care of myself… all of it was worth thousands. I cannot express how grateful I am for those days.
Even though I am nervous, I am looking forward to the exams. I am looking forward to seeing my studying’s outcome and what the future holds for me. Hopefully, after a few months, I can write a blog post to you about getting accepted!