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Shaping a passion for advocacy

We welcome Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Saarah Sherifi of Seminole High School to reflect on the value of her IB education and share her passion for advocacy as the DP class of May 2020 celebrates their hard work and achievements.

Shaping a passion for advocacy

By Saarah Sherifi

I graduated from the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in the spring of 2019 and if I could re-do high school one more time, I would choose the DP again. Throughout my first year at university, I have carried the lessons and skills that I have learned from my time in the programme over into my studies here. The spirit of hard work and determination for success that the IB helped me foster has allowed me to stand out as a pre-med and most of all, positively impact not only my community but an audience that transcends geographic boundaries.

I tend to think of the IB programme not just as something that is quickly done and over with once I graduated, but rather like a programme that has had a life-long impact upon sets of skills such as time management, critical thinking, perseverance and pushing myself to my limit, that we learned.

“I will always bring the skills that I developed through IB on every journey I take.”

One of the skills that I treasure the most is problem solving and the ability to form a plan of action. Many times, individuals are met with an obstacle, and they fail to act. Instead, they wish for the hurdle to be removed rather than breaking it down themselves. In my junior year, I became more involved in writing, specifically about social inequality and I felt that shedding light on injustices occurring within my country was, and still is, something that I am passionate about. With the skills that I had further sharpened through the IB programme, I decided to take a stab at creating my own non-profit social media campaign, Stronger in Unison.

While it was a bit of a rocky beginning, as you can imagine how it would be balancing a heavy mixture of academics and responsibilities, I found the time and energy to make my dream turn into a reality. I steadily partnered up with writers in Europe and other parts of the United States and students who shared the same flame and knack for writing.

With time, what was once just an idea slowly began to gain likes, comments, shares and an audience.

Last semester, I organized and executed a university-wide Thanksgiving drive that benefited the university’s food pantry, which supports students. Using the time management and collaborative skills I learned in high school, I was able to partner up with the pantry and plan out all aspects of the drive including the social media coordination, drop-off locations and notify major clubs about the drive. Overall, with my planning, time management and collaborative skills I was able to donate more than US$400.

“[The IB] has had a life-long impact upon sets of skills such as time management, critical thinking, perseverance and pushing myself to my limit, that we learned”

Later in the new spring semester, I teamed up with a few strong women in my leadership class who also shared my same passion. We came up with a plan, acted upon it and founded Her Health, a new club that focuses on educating women and girls on their reproductive health and rights while also offering a support system where they can reach out for critical information and resources. With my skills and talent as a published writer for my university’s chapter of Her Campus, I began to manage all social media content as well as the blog on our new website.

As I reflect about the two organizations I founded, I realize that without what I have learned from the IB programme, I probably wouldn’t have achieved these goals. Perhaps I would’ve embarked on this journey later in my college career. However, I know that the IB programme ignited my drive for work and success because I saw my hard work pay off by earning top grades, awards and scholarships. I am more than glad to have been a part of and graduated from such a prestigious programme. I will always bring the skills that I developed through IB on every journey I take.

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Saarah Sherifi is entering the second year at her dream school, the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in the health sciences preclinical track and minoring in chemistry while also working towards gaining admission to a top medical school.

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 We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!

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