I was one of those unfortunate souls who was in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in high school. My
high school (maybe they do this elsewhere, too, I don't know) extended IB into a four year program, thus putting
you through two years of "Pre-IB" and then the standard two years of IB. I only stayed for the first two years,
the Pre-IB years.
For those of you who don't know, the International Baccalaureate program is supposedly the most rigorous academic
program in the world. Its members take a plethora of AP and college courses in high school. In my school (maybe
others too) we were exempt from P.E. and all the stupid state-required classes (i.e. "Life Management," etc) so
that we could fill our schedule with more difficult classes.
My main problem with IB was the obvious - I burned out way too fast. I was just a scared little freshman, trying to
find myself, my place in that new school, and my place in life. That was hard enough as it is, because when you are
that age all you can actually think about is the opposite sex anyway. So you're trying to do all this anyway, and
you have to take how many hard classes? Seven!?
When you're in IB, you can make fun of the dropouts because "they couldn't take it." But I soon realized that there
is a huge difference between being able to do tons of homework every night and wanting to do tons of homework
ever night. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to such torture? High school is supposed to be a great
time in your life - you have to have fun! It was the time period when I started having fun at the beach and in
Venturing. That's when I dropped IB.
After I dropped IB, I had to take all those stupid "Life Management"-type courses, and yes they were mind-numbing.
(What was even more mind-numbing than the classes themselves was that some kids actually had trouble in them). I
also had to take some P.E., so I signed up for tennis. It was a blast! I never knew playing tennis was so much
fun! So now that I look back on it, the error of IB is so blatantly obvious: how can you develop a well-rounded
individual without any sports, without any physical education of any kind!? Granted, most would say that IB
students could just play sports after school. But I knew many students who dropped IB because it would not fit with
their sports schedule, as well as many students who probably should have been forced to take some P.E. (Including
me - I probably wouldn't have taken it if I didn't have to, and I ended up loving it). If the IB program wants to
make intelligent people without allowing little or any variance in what we're learning...well, they are going about
it all wrong.
One last gripe about IB - our director. In IB, you are required to do a certain amount of community service hours.
I did my fifty hours (and more) for the first two years, documented them well, and turned in my booklet. Unbeknownst
to me, my IB director lost it or, perhaps, threw it away when I dropped IB. So when I started applying for
scholarships, I suddenly had no documented community service. Needless to say, I was pissed, and I still am pissed
because I am not receiving all the scholarship money I could be.
You can plainly see that I just did not have a good experience in IB...and our youth is a time for fun, not for bad
experiences. That's why I definitely like real college a lot more - I can take a moderate amount of college classes
and still have plenty of time for fun. So you IB grads can call me a slacker if you want. I don't care because I
know the truth - I sure as hell made the right choice when I dropped IB.