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When your true calling is also your “worst” IB diploma subject

Regina Labardini joins us this year as an alumni contributor to share her experience as a Diploma Programme (DP) student. This is her third story for our series featuring graduate voices.

By Regina Labardini

In my previous article, I mentioned that during my two years as an IB diploma student, never did it cross my mind to major in economics, even when it was the IB subject I enjoyed the most. When it came to grades, it never was my “best” subject. I often wonder if failing somehow blocked the possibility of studying economics from my mind. I bet all IB students, like me, have been at a point in their studies in which they ask themselves this:

Why did it ever occur to me to opt for that specific IB subject?…

Why didn’t I take the ‘easier’ option?…

Something I might’ve liked better, or at the very least, suffered less.

But, would you believe it if I say that, in the end, everything becomes useful? It all ends up being a tiny bit of useful knowledge stored somewhere inside your brain.

What is the ‘best’ subject anyway?

“You might suck at something that you’re completely mad and passionate about.”

I really admire all those students who got an excellent final grade across all their IB diploma exams, even when they didn’t necessarily enjoy all their courses. With time, I’ve realized that sometimes we’re naturally good at things that we don’t really enjoy, and vice versa: you might suck at something that you’re completely mad and passionate about. I’ve also come to realize, that if passion is within you, I am most certain the latter will become the key to your success when facing any kind of failure; especially for the simple joy of studying and learning more about it.

Even if you feel like you’re no good at something, don’t give up. It turns out that sometimes the subjects that are not our ‘best’ are the things we become the most curious about and might ultimately become experts. Whether you’ve succeeded or failed at a specific subject in school, it should not keep you from wanting to learn more about it.

On the other hand, if you are one of the rare individuals who enjoyed all their subjects, I would love to hear how you came to choose the subject that you’re most passionate about to go on and study in college. Was it a hard decision to make? Didn’t you have many options to choose from, given that you’re naturally good at a lot of them? In the end, choosing a major is no easy task for anybody, regardless of how naturally talented you are at something.

Does great teaching matter?

Personally, I was not one of those good-at-everything students, but I was not a bad student, either, although I did get to struggle with some subjects along the way. While I had a very hard time getting through DP physics, I now look back and really thank my teacher. First, for teaching me things that I can apply daily, like not giving up on something regardless of its difficulty. Second, for teaching me physics in a way that made sense to me and to my daily life.

Looking back, no one ever told me that the IB physics course is hard – really hard. During those years, I would always torment myself with the same question: why did I choose physics over chemistry, or biology? I’ve never been a natural-sciences-kind of person. I chose it only because throughout my elementary and middle school years, it was the subject that I better understood out of these choices.

“Always consider that all of your acquired knowledge will become useful at some point in your life, maybe when you least expect it to.”

As a current economics student, I don’t ever regret having chosen physics as an DP option, because it has helped me in many ways! I’ve even come across engineering students who I’ve been able to help with physics assignments, and, best of all is the feeling you get when hearing concepts related to physics — you can speak the same language.

While there are subjects that you might not like, not understand, or both, you should always consider that all of your acquired knowledge will become useful at some point in your life, maybe when you least expect it to. Above all, learning a life lesson from a course, rather than a natural law, or a mathematical formula will fulfill the utter goal of many teachers I know– like my physics teacher, who I hope reads this sometime. In the end, what matters most is your learning process, and, you never know when you might come in handy to help a friend majoring in engineering!

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Regina Labardini completed the Diploma Programme at the Santa Fe Campus of Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City. She has also continued her university studies at Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) and is now majoring in economics with a minor in finance. Regina loves public speaking as well as inspiring and helping others. One day, she would like to become an IB examiner.