Considering IB? Read This!

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Now is the time of year where NDA freshmen, sophomores and juniors complete their registration for next year’s courses. For some sophomores, this can mean considering International Baccalaureate classes or the diploma for their junior and senior years.

In the second semester of my senior year,  I am in the final stages of the IB Diploma Program. I’ve finished Theory of Knowledge, handed in my extended essay, and my exams are rising quickly on the horizon. On my way out, I can definitively say that deciding to “go full IB” was the best academic decision I made in high school.

My IB classes have brought a wide, interdisciplinary approach to academics. Classes like IB Philosophy and IB History have taught me how to look at a multitude of perspectives, how to compare and argue their values and limitations. In IB English, I’ve learned how to draw my own conclusions about and interpret poems, drama and classic literature. I’ve learned to make reasoned arguments, how to support my thoughts and ideas.

Additionally, my IB classes have stretched me beyond my areas of comfort, encouraging us students to be “globally-minded.” I’ve studied wars and foreign diplomacy in non-Western nations. I’ve learned about theologies and philosophies from across the globe. I’ve read and analyzed works in translation from China, Colombia and the gulags of the Soviet Union. I’ve dived into the cultural customs and current events of Spain and Latin American countries while speaking Spanish.

Theory of Knowledge, the only IB class exclusively offered to IB Diploma candidates, taught me about the importance of my language, drew me to question from where and how I gather what I know, and what biases I hold and must reckon with–all in the early morning hours of zero period.

My IB teachers are intelligent, dedicated individuals who really have pushed me to do my best. IB classes are challenging and demanding, and this resulted in many late nights for me (since beginning IB, I’ve become a big proponent of napping). Still, the learning was unparalleled, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed being a part of the discussions and learning that have taken place in those classrooms.

IB calls students to be intellectual risk-takers, to be open-minded, to be balanced and caring. I was encouraged to be creative, active, and to serve in my community–explicitly, to lead an effort for the betterment of the world. Whether it be creating a therapeutic knitting club at NDA, raising awareness and funds for the mistreatment of Thai elephants, or kicking at football games to raise money for kicking children’s cancer, my fellow IB classmates have motivated and inspired me through their dedication and service.

The IB program has caused me to grow immensely over these past two years, not only as a student but as a person. IB really aligns with Notre Dame’s Catholic mission of educating its students inside and outside of the classroom, of teaching us how to be good students and good people.

All in all, I am so glad that I decided to attempt to earn the IB Diploma. Though it certainly isn’t the right fit for every student, it was the perfect fit for me. Still, I’d encourage students who may be daunted by going “full” to take one class in a subject that they enjoy because I really believe that the IB approach to learning makes a difference.