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A journey to self-discovery

We asked Diploma Programme (DP) graduates to share stories about their IB experiences. Cynthia Claudia tells us about a critical choice she made during the DP and its outcome in her life after graduation.

by Cynthia Claudia

As I began Sekolah Menengah Atas (Indonesian for senior high school), I remember constantly asking myself: “What do I like?” I was a student who did not know what her interests were. Even right up to when I started the DP, I didn’t have a clear idea of my main interests and I couldn’t choose my subjects. I thought very hard about this and often second guessed my decisions.

I asked myself, “Should this subject be my HL choice? Am I really capable of writing on this topic for my extended essay?”  And most importantly: “what will happen to my future if I can’t decide?”

I did have one advantage: IB students in my school were encouraged to join classes of their interest and decide later on their final course choices. After trying out different classes, I discovered that I liked psychology as well as business and management. I suddenly knew for sure that I wanted to pursue these subjects for individuals and societies. I also realized that I clearly had little interest in the arts, so I took them off my list. I did, however, look for other courses where I knew I could discover new interests and I picked biology from the sciences because I wanted to learn more about how the human body works.

For biology, Cynthia presented research on a method to detect the presence of borax in food products. The project also supported her CAS activities.
Looking back, I was extremely grateful that my school gave me this exposure to different subjects. I was able to find out what I liked and didn’t like and so, I shaped my subject choices to my strength and weakness. It enabled me to take learning into my own hands and this is what made the IB distinctive from the local curriculum in Indonesia.

I suddenly found myself asking an entirely different set of questions and in awe at how much I could bring from the classroom to the outside world. Isn’t it interesting to learn more about yourself in IB biology? Or how people really behave through IB psychology? Psychology even gave me a glimpse into human relationships as we explored Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. These courses turned out to be the most valuable in supporting my learning journey and personal development.

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb

IB students are encouraged to ask questions. When we get an answer, we ask more questions. When we hear a big word, we ask for clarification. When we can’t seem to comprehend, we will let you know and ask for a simpler explanation. When we hear something fascinating, we will write it down in our notes.

At that time, it would have been easy to notice that there were lots of scribbles in my notes annotating the things that were interesting to me and what I wanted to know more about outside the scope of the class. I also noticed that these habits cultivated my curiosity and made me a better learner throughout my university studies.

You will be intrigued at how much you will discover about yourself.

I was extremely grateful I had supportive and inspiring teachers during my DP journey. There were certain times when I had doubts about myself. Most of my IB teachers acknowledged the potential I didn’t even see in myself. Their spirit of confidence made me realize that I was indeed a capable individual and my own tenacity and confidence grew until I was ready to face any challenge ahead.

If you find yourself asking questions, consider taking one or two DP courses and you will be intrigued at how much you will discover about yourself and the opportunities waiting for you.

This is my IB story. What is yours?

Cynthia Claudia graduated from Cita Hati Christian High School, Indonesia with her IB diploma in 2014. She is currently completing her undergraduate studies and writing her thesis on the topic of leadership learning in student organizations. Her passion in the fields of business and psychology stemmed from the subjects that she took as an DP student. She joins us this year as a 2018 alumni contributor to share her experience as a recent graduate.

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