Sofia Parunova joins us this year as a 2018 alumni contributor to share her experience since graduating from the Diploma Programme (DP). This is her second story of the series.
By Sofia Parunova
I chose IB physics standard level (SL) for my IB Diploma Programme (DP) although this science has never excited me. I did so as a combination of overall IB strategy I thought was best, external advice, and my own uncertainty about the future.
“I could have shone where I was naturally better, but instead, I struggled someplace else where I wasn’t meant to be.”
Today, “choosing physics” has become an idiom for me — it means don’t to do something you know you won’t enjoy. You should know this a student but also as a parent, who of course wants the best for their child, but has to accept their natural abilities might not be the same as their offspring’s.
This might seem like the obvious thing to do, but it’s easier said than done. I shared my experience of choosing IB subjects based on possible careers I might pursue, rather than on my natural strengths. Despite the invaluable lessons it taught me, it still left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I only worked for what I needed to get to achieve for my final IB grade. I could have shone where I was naturally better, but instead, I struggled someplace else where I wasn’t meant to be.
This is why I decided to never “choose physics” again after graduation. I decide to do law in a different country although people warned me that meant I would have to forever stay there practicing law. What happened instead? I am still here, but my law degrees have not only made me a productive professional, but one who has worked in three different sectors by their mid-20s.
“Making a choice to do something you can’t immediately benefit from is not a bad choice. It’s the right choice for you.”
I also decided to do a Master’s in law focusing on online privacy although some asked me why, when I had already decided the standard path to legal qualification and practice weren’t for me. Surely the obvious thing would have to been to complete the legal course required to start a training contract with a firm? Today however, I couldn’t be happier to be a content producer in the education sector with expertise in data protection, which is one of the hottest topics nowadays.
Making a choice to do something you can’t immediately benefit from is not a bad choice. It’s the right choice for you. It is a bad choice to do something because it seems logical but it doesn’t sit right within you. If things don’t turn out as planned, at least you will have made your own mistake.
“What the heart wants” is not something I heard often during my school years and the DP was no exception. I was used to doing what I had to and not what I wanted to. The programme can be an exciting and challenging academic exploration. But if you don’t do something you enjoy, it might only be a steep, challenging learning curve. Don’t let that happen. Listen to your heart and follow your interests.
Sofia Parunova completed the Diploma Programme at Kolding Gymnasium, Denmark. She continued her studies with a bachelor’s in law at the University of Essex, UK and a master’s in intellectual property and Information law at King’s College London. She joins us this year as a 2018 alumni contributor and will share her experiences over the course of the year.
To learn about the IB alumni network, visit ibo.org/alumni and read about our 50th anniversary featured graduates to see where other students have taken their studies and careers.