I went back to my high school a couple months ago for the International Baccalaureate Program’s Alumni Day where the Class of 2013 (my cohort) spoke about our experiences in IB and how they affect our college lives. It was a really nice event where we all got to hug and talk about what we were up to in college and how we were getting involved with everything on campus. So, the question is, after spending so much time in this program, what advice did we give to younger student?
Advice from My Peers
1. Don’t procrastinate.
It’s a given, but we all know that it’ll happen. We hope that making the kids in the IB program aware of how things can really pile up in college when you procrastinate will help some of them start earlier than they would have.
2. Make the most of every moment.
It was kind of shocking to hear that one of our classmates found out she has a weak heart this summer and she is not expected to live past 50. She pushed extremely forcefully that we should make the most of every day because the next day is not promised to you. She says that that is something she does every day now since she really understands how much life is worth and how precious it is.
3. Be able to accept others.
Learn to take the time to listen out to listen to others. It really is a skill that has to be developed. As James Orbinski said in Imperfect Offering, “Stories, we all have stories. Nature does not tell stories, we do. We find ourselves in them, make ourselves in them, choose ourselves in them. If we are the stories we tell ourselves, we had better choose them well.” I think back about this quote and this book we were required to read, and it’s proven to be more true than I could have ever imagined.
4. Follow Directions.
Rubrics are your friends. In college, teachers will fail you without batting an eye, which most high schools don’t really do. High schools are required to have certain grades and statistics go down on paper. In college, since you pay for your education, the professors will give you the grades that your work earns based on their expectations and standards.
An example of this is when I thought I could get away with writing a french paper the night before it was due because I had done it in high school; but lo and behold, I got a big fat D on the paper. The teacher didn’t seem to care about the letter grade; instead, she was more concerned about the quality of work, and she thought that the work I had handed in was deserving of this way less than satisfactory grade. I now understand that you only get out as much as you put in and that college is a place that is going to make you want to push yourself to your best instead of turning in half-done work.
5. Enjoy your high school career.
Find time for everything if possible; you really can do it all! It’s all about time management. We really wanted to let the high schoolers know that you can do everything you want and still get all of your school work done. That was one of the biggest regrets for some of my classmates. Situations change and sometimes it’s nice to take advantage of a more “irresponsible” time in your life and have lots of fun, but you can still do so while doing everything else!