Why the IB Isn’t That bad…by Abigail Beard

One of the best things about the International Baccalaureate program is, in my opinion, the Theory of Knowledge class.

TOK, a class in which we think about how we think about things, is basically one of the only reasons I can think of for why I decided to bind myself to the two-year journey that is the IB. While at an outrageous time(6:30 in the evening? Really?!), it is a welcome part of my Mondays.

My favorite part of TOK isn’t the stimulating conversation or the ever-optimistic teacher: it’s the cohort.

To the average person, it might not seem like I like any of my fellow IBers. I usually try to sit away from the small groups that form between friends and just about everybody in IB Year II can testify to the fact that I’ve spoken a maximum of three times since the year has started. It’s not because I dislike anyone, I just feel awkward when I talk. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what is going on. To the contrary, I pride myself on being observant. I notice inside jokes and strange anecdotes of my fellow students.

And that’s my favorite part of TOK: not the memes or the deep questions or the way everything is funnier when you’re sleep deprived.

It’s the people.

I love my IB cohort with all my heart. In each of us I see bright young individuals who are changing their school and by extension the world. We have politicians, environmental activists, artists, and visionaries! I see collaboration and understanding in a world that is becoming increasingly self-centered and cruel. We don’t just accept answers. We question, we provoke, we examine ourselves and our world. We tell jokes, we share memes, we cry together and we snack together. We make our way through this confusing world that we live in and we question all the while.

The age old question that I get from friends and family all the time is whether or not I would do the IB program again if given the chance. Honestly, I don’t really know. IB is a lot of work, both in and out of school. Luckily, after this grueling two-year journey, getting through college will be a breeze. The classwork prepares me to critically think in a world that values well rounded people over one-dimensional people and to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And, of course, if I had never gone through the IB program, I would never have my cohort.

Over the last year, I have grown so much. It’s been a long, hard journey for me: group discussions are a virtual trademark of IB and so many times TOK confuses me to the point where I zone out. But I’ve learned to stick my toes out there, test the waters, and eventually jump in. Without the support and encouragement of my cohort, I could have never grown or flourished in the IB program. I wouldn’t trade them for all the IB papers in the world!

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