If you’ve ever wanted to do a school program that sounds about as confusing as rocket science, Ogden High has just the thing for you.
This year, I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program, which despite its name really isn’t as complicated as it seems when you figure it all out. The goal of the program is to take classes in six areas over junior and senior year and complete other requirements, then test in hopes of earning the International Baccalaureate diploma.
Looking at all the requirements on paper, it’s definitely overwhelming. Even so, I’ve had this program in mind as what I want to do for a long time. When I first heard about it in elementary school, I knew that it sounded like a good fit for me because I like to challenge myself, and that’s what IB is all about. The fact that it can be a really hard program didn’t scare me away from it; it ended up being one of the main reasons that I was interested in IB.
My school made sure all of us who want to complete the program were aware of what it requires through many meetings and a boot camp over the summer.
The goal of the program is to create more educated, well-rounded and global students. So far, I feel like this has been met as I continue to learn about the same subjects I’ve always been taught in totally new ways. I’m beginning to see how different classes are related not only to each other, but also to my life.
Not every school has this program, so I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to take these classes. International Baccalaureate requires that students take a class in certain areas, which are the core classes (English, math, science and history), as well as a language and an elective.
Ogden High offers biology or chemistry for the science requirement; Spanish and French for language; and theater, art, business and music theory for an elective, but every IB school has different options.
The program also requires students take Theory of Knowledge, which is a philosophy-based class that asks how we know what we know. By the end of senior year, students also need to write an extended essay about a topic of their choosing and complete CAS (creativity, activity and service) experiences that show their growth. It is a lot, but I think every school could benefit from having students involved in the program because it expands their thinking and involves giving back to the community as well. Plus, I’ve been having a lot of fun.
So far, IB has been a really great experience. It hasn’t been super easy, but all my teachers and advisers have been super helpful. The classes include mostly only those who are also in IB, so we have a support system and we’re all working toward the same goal of eventually getting our diploma. Even at times when I do feel stressed and overwhelmed, I know that the other students are in the same boat and it makes me feel less alone.
I’ve learned so much in the first semester and am continuing to think about things in new ways. I already feel like I consider the world around me with a more open-minded perspective, which is one of the aims of the program.
Next year, I’ll put all my knowledge together for my assessments, which vary by subject and are almost exclusively written. Some will be graded by my teacher, but others will be graded by an IB grader like how an AP test is scored. I have yet to start any of my major assessments, and although those scare me a little, I also feel like the group of students and faculty around me will make it totally manageable.
I don’t have much experience yet, but right now I think the program is a good fit for anyone who is dedicated, is willing to work hard and wants to challenge themselves. Once all my exams are scored (each out of 7), the points I earned for each of them will be added up and if I hit the magic number of 24, I’ll earn my IB diploma as well as graduate from Ogden High.
I’m excited to continue in the program and to see myself take on the exams and earn my IB diploma — eventually.