Upon the completion of an IB programme, life becomes a sea of challenges, dreams, and opportunity. After completing a nine-month internship at the International Baccalaureate, Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Ocie Grimsley signs off by sharing the “Primary List” — 5 key dreams, goals and reflections for the future.
I remember graduating from Clarke County High School in May of 2015. After enduring the blazing sunlight and stagnant, humid air, I received my advanced secondary diploma and the IB diploma for the Diploma Programme (DP). A milestone had been laid on my path and the next thing to do was to go forward. My future was going to start at George Mason University and one of the things I knew I wanted (and still want) to do was travel.
Now, it has been almost three years to the day. I am preparing for my last year in university, completing my minor, finishing my internship with the IB, and planning a new focus in my life. I’ve been mapping out my favorite things in life since I was little, but now I think I have finally settled on a good five-item checklist I like to call the “Primary List.” It consists of the five categorical things I want to be in my life.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have always wanted to travel. The farthest I’ve been from my hometown is Dallas, Texas or maybe New York City. This doesn’t really help when my specialty is in foreign language and linguistics, especially since I live in a primarily homogenous linguistic region of the United States, my hometown. Though I have learned a few languages outside my native one, I’ve never had much chance to practice them outside the classroom and the occasional retail experience. I’m the only multilingual person in my family, and I don’t share a learned language with any of my siblings.
So, my goal is to travel to the places that have icons I really want to see and temporarily immerse myself in the culture. Barcelona, Seoul, Lima, and Dublin are the first places on my list!
I love having the feeling of community, and though the saying says, “home is where the heart is,” I don’t know where exactly that lies, or with whom. As my years as an “official” student (the period I can put it as a legitimate occupation on an application) near their end though, I’ve found that my sense of community is in the act of assistance. My third year of university consisted of two roommates, one of whom was from Japan. Both girls were bright, lovely students who loved learning, and when they asked me a question, I happily answered to the best of my ability.
When I say community in the act of assistance, it means simply helping others. Though that might just be the fact that I’m the eldest of seven children and have been tutoring since I was 11. Even if I’m accustomed to helping others, I don’t do it just out of habit; it truly lights up my day when I know I’ve made a positive impact on somebody’s life.
This one is an obvious anchor for me. I love learning and always have; making things into games, figuring out how I learn, finding new hobbies or pastimes … Learning is something I never want to give up. This ties in with the first two items on the list: travelling allows me to learn more about a place I’ve never experienced, and community helps me learn new things about myself. I want to learn all that I can.
On top of that, I want to be able to help others understand their ‘problem children.’ By this, a problem child can be a topic, idea, concept, subject, or even a thought process (though another person is also an option.) My idea is that if you can understand it, then it’s no longer a fear, and I want to help invoke that sense of understanding and confidence into those around me.
When I say I want music to be in my life, it’s because music is the way I see the world in most cases. I relate things to musical ideas or concepts because the ones I know in that field make sense. Also, music is a language all its own. It’s the easiest way for me to learn: put something to music and I will most likely never forget it or get confused. Linguistically, I love the ‘language’ of music, because it is versatile and relatable; it is a passion I refuse to give up or compromise. I love to listen to it and to create it.
Like everyone, I struggle with a lot. What I struggle with is my own story. But, no matter the struggle I always want to be able to remind myself that I can get through the hard times so I can have the good times. I want to be able to achieve my goals with radiance, determination, and most of all, confidence in myself because self-esteem is one of the hardest things (if not the hardest thing) to rebuild once it’s destroyed. Every day I want to be able to look myself in the mirror, say, “You are enough,” and really believe it. And I will work towards that until the very end if I must.
This Primary List is the culmination of five categories that I want to keep in my future as I head on to try to create my own learning-based startup for increasing academic integrity, excitement, involvement, and performance. Until I achieve that end goal, I will do my best to improve myself in my Primary List and identify my weaknesses so I can grow stronger. As I sign off, comment below! What is your “Primary List,” and what’s your biggest dream?
Ocie Grimsley graduated with the IB diploma at Clarke County High School, VA, USA in 2015. They currently study English and Linguistics at George Mason University. They hope to become a language teacher or the owner of their own startup company.