Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I decided to make a 'school kinda thing' post because quite honestly, I will be ranting about it a lot, and so I feel you should know my pain.

So as my 'about me' says, I will be in the second year of sixth form when I go back in a weeks time (second year is year 13). And it will be really strange for me, as I am one of the ones who has been at that school since year 9 and has stayed, and can say they have survived! But this sixth form year has been the most academically challenging for me, and possibly the most socially and mentally even though years 9, 10 and 11 were shocking and rubbish to use nice phrases (I shall resist my swearing and cursing urge at this point in time!)

I was one of the 16 people that chose to do the IB, or as we call it...Hell. It is the International Baccalaureate and  is designed to test and mentally deplete everyone who tries it. In the simplest terms I can describe, it is the equivalent of 6 A Levels. Then on top of that, you have TOK, or Theory of Knowledge, which is what General Studies is based on, CAS (Creative Action Service) which is 150 voluntary/community hours and a 4,000 word extended essay. For the 6 subjects, you have to choose 3 Higher Level and 3 Standard Level, and some subjects are obligatory. I chose/had to do:
  • English - HL - obligatory
  • Maths - SL - obligatory
  • Biology - SL - obligatory to choose a science
  • Spanish - Ab Initio - obligatory to choose a language
  • Art and Design, incl. Photography - HL - choice
  • Psychology - HL - choice
So there is a wide mix, and that is one of the purposes it was designed for. The IB was created for 2 reasons in my opinion - 1) for people who didn't know what they wanted to do either for sixth form or at university, so choosing the IB keeps your options open or 2) for those of us who want/ed to study abroad. The reason I chose it was for the second, and hence why I put '/ed' at the end. I chose it because I wanted to study English and Film in America, but unfortunately due to unforseen reasons that is no longer happening.

The IB is a lot of work, and I shall say this - it is not for the faint of heart and unorganized person...which I discovered soon enough that I was. I cocked up first year (excuse the language) I messed up badly, and I failed all of my mock exams except English and that hurt, but then I continued messing up badly and I really really regret it, I honestly do. I wasted a year, and there was a point towards the end of the year when I had filled out a form ready to retake year 12 and start again. But I didn't, because I wanted to change and I wanted to make it all better and I just hope that next year, or in a weeks time, I learn from all my past mistakes and not mess this last year of compulsory schooling up.

It is hard work, it does make me rock myself slowly to sleep crying and going insane, and it does make me realise how easy school has been before. Do not get me wrong, 6 subjects compared to heaven knows how many for GCSE is a blessing...but GCSE compared to IB...now that is another matter. In my opinion, GCSE was like making a Victoria Sponge - hard to get used too, but once you knew how to manage it it was a piece of cake (no pun intended!) whereas IB is like a battenberg or Swiss Roll - you try and try and try, and you get close but never that 100% right. And for someone who hates losing and went through middle school and lower school being told I could achieve my high expectations of life and being a straight A student to then failing 7 mock exams...it really has hit me that I can't take my brain for granted anymore, I have to actually use it!

This summer has been my 'Turn Your Life Around Camp' where I have tried and endevoured where I can to sort myself out, health wise and school wise, as my health has been impacting greatly on school as I was missing a lot. However, hopefully with my blood tests and x-rays for my back, and my tonsillectomy coming soon I will be better and I can knuckle down and pass this damn thing! I have finished one of my major essays, only a 1,500 one but still that is one out of the way. I have yet to finish my main summer projects though, and I am worried I won't get time to finish them due to work and Rob, but I will do it and I am determined to show my teachers wrong and prove to them I can do this, as I have been told by all my teachers at some point during the year, some more than others, that they don't see why I am doing the IB when I clearly cannot cope, and I suppose in some respects it is to try and motivate me to work. In all honesty I just wanted to punch them square in the face, but that is between you and I!

So I have a lot of Art and Design work to do...as is the way with the world, that always happens, Art is a very very demanding subject and you have have HAVE to be committed to it, which I am feeling I am not so much, but I am trying and I am proud of my summer project and how it is developing! I just need to finish my sculptures and complete the necessary book work to accompany it, and then my extended essay. Now this...this I am having fun with as I am writing it based on English and on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which has to be one of my all time favourite books. It is beautifully written and I don't really know...I just have a passion for classics and this one most prominently. So I am enjoying writing about it...it is just trying to formulate sentences from the thoughts that I have in my head!

If anyone is wanting to do the IB the I am more than happy to give you my honest and helpful opinion and give advice, as I have finished year 1 and am moving onto my final year of schooling and of the IB so I would be happy to help, and if you aren't choosing it and are doing A Levels or GCSE then I hope whatever you choose you are successful in! And Good Luck to all!
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