We brought together seven soon-to-be Diploma Programme (DP) graduates from all over the world to share their thoughts and perspectives on graduating during a pandemic. Bertha Tobias, will graduate from UWC Changshu China this summer. She reflects on the IB experience and what she expects in university in a post COVID-19 (Coronavirus) world with an IB skill set.
My reaction to the cancellation of exams was not primarily positive and that’s just because, first of all, I asked myself, “now what do I do with myself?” And, secondly, it’s because it felt like a lot of what my peers and I were collectively working towards was effectively deemed inconsequential or just generally unimportant when it meant everything to us. But, the most difficult part about cancellation of exams was that I needed to adopt a fundamentally different approach to the way I engage with the perceived value of my education.
That’s primarily because a lot of us have been socialized and conditioned to believe and/or to validate the value of our education based on how we do in an examination. So, I was confronted with trying to find alternatives ways of assessing how important my education was and how meaningful it would be in the world. So, it was not a pleasant thing to do because I needed to just rethink the very fundamental ways in which I approached what a meaningful education looks like. But, I’m obviously really grateful to have had the opportunity to do so now.
“Those are skills that I’ll definitely use for the rest of my academic life and in the rest of my young professional life”
My most memorable and challenging moment from the IB was definitely the extended essay. I think a lot of my fellow IB students will be able to relate, because having to write 4,000 words about something that is important to you, something that you’re passionate about comes with a lot of self-doubt: Am I doing it justice, am I doing it correctly, am I paying proper tribute to the importance of this thing that I’ve decided to write about? So, for me, it was definitely the extended essay and in addition, all the technical expertise that I had to learn. So, things like using the correct formatting, doing basic academic research, doing citations. In theory, that all sounds relatively simple until you actually have to put it into practice. It was challenging but it was also rewarding because those are skills that I’ll definitely use for the rest of my academic life and in the rest of my young professional life.
“I needed to adopt a fundamentally different approach to the way I engage with the perceived value of my education.”
As IB students enter university in 2020, I definitely think there will be a collective effort to overcompensate, to prove why we’re still qualified of having gained admission to certain institutions, regardless of not having written exams. So, we’ll be forced to come up with creative and original ways to prove why we deserve to still go to university, even though we haven’t written exams, as all the years prior to us. I think that is an equally meaningful pursuit, which reminds us that education is multi-faceted and, as such, that the fruits thereof can be assessed in different ways.
To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!
If you enjoyed this story, consider reading more below: