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The power of pushing through

We invited IB Diploma Programme (DP) graduates to reflect on their lives and studies. Learn more about the IB Alumni Network at

by Rachon Sweiss

I know how it feels. You’ve been going to the same classes, taking exam after exam, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter – and you’re beginning to wonder if any of this is worth it. Your teacher assigns another project and you start to look up famous people who dropped out of school and still made it big. (If Steve Jobs can make it, so can I!) If you go to a school where there are students not participating in an IB programme, you begin to feel deprived of the luxury that is free time and the feeling of not having anything to do.

There’s nothing easy about getting an IB diploma. Every single aspect that goes into achieving one must be tediously and painfully worked through. However, it is incredibly easy to quit. There comes a time at the end of your high school career – when you’ve submitted your college applications and yet the work keeps coming your way – that you start dissociating from your responsibilities. The light at the end of the tunnel is so bright it blinds you from seeing where you actually are.

What’s the point of putting in all that effort? Sure, from a high school perspective, you’re basically done. However, there’s a reason why you need to be prepared for one final push, and that is honoring the actualization of the past two years of blood, sweat and tears that you put into being an IB diploma candidate.

When I entered my new college environment, my experience in IB gave me the foresight to understand the power of hard work and pushing through difficulty.

Most people believe there is nothing worse than failure. However, it’s impossible to fail at something if you don’t first make an attempt at it. The worst feeling in the world is giving up before trying and then wondering if you would have succeeded, and that is not a feeling you want to start off your post-high school life with. Coming out of the other side of the IB diploma knowing you at least tried will give you pride and confidence – because even if you fail, you’ll quickly learn that life moves on, and while success provides immediate gratification, learning from your failures deepens your understanding of yourself and provides lessons to learn from that success cannot.

After I completed my external examinations and graduated high school, I honestly didn’t care at all if I received the IB diploma or not – I had graduated and was starting college in the fall, ready to move on to the next chapter in my life. However, when I found out that I did in fact earn the diploma, I was surprised at how fulfilling it was to know that I achieved what I spent the last two years of my life working towards. When I entered my new college environment, my experience in IB gave me the foresight to understand the power of hard work and pushing through difficulty.

So, as you feel your grip starting to loosen, remind yourself why you started on this journey, and let the fear of regret push you through the finish line.

Rachon received his IB Diploma from Granada Hills Charter High School in 2015. He is currently pursuing a BS/BA in Biology and Psychology at University of California, Irvine.

When he’s not in class or attempting to uncover conspiracy theories, you can find Rachon in a movie theater, at a bookstore or outside enjoying the weather in Southern California.

Have a great story to tell? Write to and learn more about the IB Alumni Network at