Though the International Baccalaureate (IB) program provides students with opportunities to expand their academic abilities and experience global education, many students at Valencia High School (VHS) have reported that IB builds up just as much stress as it does academic achievements.
Currently participating students have reacted positively to IB regarding its benefits in their education achieved through its rigorous requirements, such as the Extended Essays; Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) hours; and the mastering of six different subject areas.
Kristy Kao, a junior at VHS, told JSR, “In IB, higher level courses take up two periods so the material taught is much more advanced and detailed than regular Advanced Placement (AP) classes. We can learn more in depth in subjects that we are interested in.”
Jennifer Pi, a VHS senior, added, “IB connects you with hard working people, opens your mind to other cultures, cultivates evaluative skills and acceptance of the things you’re not so good at.”
However, as many students join the program because of its advantages, just as many choose to discontinue the program due to the huge amount of stress. During interviews with JSR, these students expressed that they were stressed not necessarily because of the workload but because of other aspects of IB including competition and pressure.
Tanya Nguyen, a junior currently in the program, explained, “I think the IB workload is about same as APs. It’s not too bad. What’s really stressful about IB is the people. IB is full of really smart people and that makes you feel insecure about yourself.”
Many students are also stressed out about the IB assessments, required in order to acquire the IB diploma.
Ezaz Hasnain, a junior, commented, “IB’s oral assessments are like going an extra mile. I mean, no one wants to stand in front of a class for 15 minutes talking about a difficult subject on almost a monthly basis.”
The IB program gives students opportunities to reach an academically advanced level, but it is also true that it takes away chances for them to fully enjoy their high school years like regular teenagers.
Junior Ida Kyaw told JSR, “We’re still just teenagers and kids, so it’s a burden to think so deeply all the time. We learn to have self-control but one little mistake can shift the whole balance for us.”
Despite the rigorous requirements and the stress it gives, the IB is continuing to witness growth in the number of participants every year.