Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Regina Labardini tells us about her passion for learning and how she transformed a critical moment into an opportunity to lead during her first year at university.
By Regina Labardini
I might not have realized it back then, but I am now sure that it made me and my friends self-driven, hard-working students, whose passion and interest in learning comes from within.
When I began my first semester at college, I had the fantasy of finally getting to spend time with people who all would have the same interests and motivations that I have—that we would all speak the same academic language, without any misinterpretation. I had this wonderful idea in my mind that I would constantly be learning new things from my fellow classmates. Shockingly, that fantasy remained just that—a fantasy. Right when I thought I couldn’t be happier about finally graduating high school and leaving all that stress behind, I realize that I do miss that place.
We’ve all been there during the DP: the stress of the word count for your extended essay, your endless IA’s, and constantly forgetting the differences between Paper 1, 2 and 3 for each subject. A candidate number – what is that? At that time, I began to wonder if all the wear and tear of being a Diploma Programme (DP) student is worth it. Well, you may not know it now, but you will as soon as you graduate—step into college, and discover the marvelous advantages of being a DP graduate.
Around October of my first year as an undergraduate, I began to get many assignments that relied on teamwork—which were nothing new to me coming from the DP. However, to those who had not been DP students, teamwork seemed like a novelty to them. I soon found myself handing in teamwork assignments that had been practically done individually.
I decided to get rid of all negativity and let my positive leadership skills kick in.
The utter disappointment of my careless classmates led me to think about the only possible explanation behind all of this: a lack of interest. Some clearly didn’t care at all about any course they were attending, if said course was to their liking, or if any given teacher transmitted passion in class. They dismissed anything that would have made them feel like they belonged right then and there —find something that will let you enjoy these brand-new learning experiences! It got to a point where I honestly thought my own university was admitting people who had no interest in studying or doing something with their lives, and the thought of it was a point of anger, to say the least.
I then began to talk and exchange anecdotes with former DP classmates, who had begun their studies at other universities. The common denominator? We had all encountered people with a lack of interest in studying and no apparent knowledge of the concept of teamwork. After multiple assignments, projects and the overall stress of not being able to confide in the working capacity of others, I decided to get rid of all negativity and let my positive leadership skills kick in.
Instead of managing and working on a team assignment all on my own, I began to lead my team and actually work together. Constantly pushing them to better their results, asking in precise manners for what needed to be done, and assuring an effective communication between all team members, all led to excellent results and peace of mind, of course. Fortunately, I also found other people (now friends) who share that genuine hunger for enriching their own knowledge and skills, while studying and exploring a field of interest.
The least I can do with all the skills that I have developed through the DP is share… the passion for learning, the adrenaline rush of being a curious inquirer…
This struggle, organizing a team to work toward success, is how I became very thankful for having been an IB diploma student. It really got me thinking too. Perhaps not every person that I encounter in college (or life) will have had the same opportunities that I did. The least I can do with all the skills that I have developed through the DP is share. Share the passion for learning, the adrenaline rush of being a curious inquirer, and above all, to remain open-minded when facing challenges. I have also reached the conclusion that I do miss the crazy, stressful DP days. For I might not have realized it back then, but I am now sure that it made me and my friends self-driven, hard-working students, whose passion and interest in learning comes from within.