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Academics, Condor Profiles

Student struggles with pressure due to IB program

The International Baccalaureate Programme isn’t your ordinary Curie major. IB is said to be the most difficult high school curriculum. The IB students are not your ordinary students either. The amount of work in an IB class is double the amount of a regular class which leads to students working three times harder in order to keep up with the program.  

Elizabeth Ramos (Div. 805) is a junior who is part of the IB program. Ramos says she deals with emotional struggles because of the program due to large amounts of homework assigned on a daily basis. Due to the lack of sleep caused by completing her assignments, her health has been taking a downfall, as well.

“I’m very stressed out,” Ramos said, shaking her head lightly. “When I get home, I am so tired. I’m going to bed at like 3 or 4 in the morning, staying up just trying to finish all of my homework, and sometimes I don’t even finish it. You just break down. You cry and all you can do is get your work done. Results matter. You have to get the top result.”

Ramos often stresses out about her school work as if it has taken over her whole life. When she was asked if she knew what she was getting herself into, Ramos said, “I attended some meetings to actually get into IB. I knew it was going to be hard by the way they were explaining, but I knew I could deal with that challenge.”

“You have to keep up with the classes. I can’t fall asleep or fall behind,” Ramos said.

Ramos said she expected the difficulty of IB having college level classes, but the actual level of challenge still took her by surprise. The junior had thought about dropping all of her IB classes during her sophomore year due to the stress of having enormous amount of homework and projects.

“I have at least 5 to 6 hours of homework every day,” she said. “I get about half of it done, and I’m not going to lie, I do some of it in lunch to finish the rest of it.”

Ramos said she does some activities to relieve some of the stress that builds up. She usually takes a nap when she gets home, and when she wakes up, she starts her homework right away. She has taken part in Curie’s after-school exercise club. The club is mainly made up of IB students. There, they relieve the stress they have built up during the school day by playing sports together.

“I feel like sports helps me release all the stress I have. We go, play and have fun; and we don’t have to worry about anything,” Ramos said.

The junior has mentioned she has seen other IB students dropping the major due to them not being able to handle the stress and the amount of work. She believes that IB has caused students to only focus on school and not be able to enjoy their whole high school experience.

“In high school, you’re supposed to have the best memories, but when you really look at it, IB kind of takes over that. You have to prioritize IB,” Ramos said.

Ramos also feels that IB students are brought down by other students outside the program. She says that the students often criticize the IB students for thinking they are better than them due to having more advanced classes.

“We are still people. We just think differently,” Ramos said.

On the bright side of being an IB student, Ramos has said she works well with other IB students as they are able to understand each other.

“They know the struggle. We’ve been with each other for the last three years. We know how we are, how we process and how we understand certain concepts,” she said.

Ramos said she still struggles with the difficulty of the program but will continue to do her best to get the top result. She also gives advice to upcoming IB students.

“IB is really hard. You are going to stress about it, but it’s going to help you in the long run. Just do your best, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”