The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The IB Diploma: A bubble?

The Diploma Programme isolates candidates, creating a feeling of two different schools

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a prestigious program offered at AHS, with rigorous classes and international recognition.

However, it is not a secret to many IB candidates that pursuing the diploma, which requires a schedule almost entirely composed of IB classes, can sometimes isolate them from students who are not in the program.

Many IB candidates have expressed that it feels like being in a bubble surrounded only by other IB candidates and feeling separated from the rest of the school.

The IB bubble is further reinforced by external scrutiny of the program from students and parents alike. There are claims that the program “isn’t worth it,” that “AP is better,” and the broad claims that the “credits don’t transfer.” Others view the IB community as elitist.

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These are all things we have heard.

Whether or not the claims are true, they have a way of uniting students based on shared experiences, regardless of mutual agreement or disagreement.

Typically, one only interacts with the students in their classes, unless they go out of their way to hang out with other peers outside of school, perhaps through a sport, club, or extracurricular activity.

There are exceptions, of course, namely lunch and electives. PE is a notable example of a class in which everyone from all academic paths meet together.

Still, both only make up a small fraction of the school day, and are not long enough to be feasible sources of interaction between students across educational disciplines.

Lunch is only 30 minutes, and free time to actually socialize during PE is at the discretion of the teacher. The IB Diploma Programme preaches the importance of open-mindedness and understanding multiple perspectives and experiences different from one’s own. However, the structure of the program has made it increasingly difficult.

The irony of this is especially frustrating because students are being limited on experiences and interactions, simply because of their schedule.

This creates an increasing emphasis on participation in sports, clubs, and organizations, where you can make friends with people you would not usually meet. AHS has a great and varied selection of extracurricular activities. Sports can help you be a part of a new community, and clubs can do the same, while also working towards helping the community in various ways.

IB does push for involvement in extracurricular activities, for example, through CAS, a requirement that has students detail their creativity, activity, and service each month.

However, simply doing the diploma can be a very alienating experience, regardless of service involvement. In the end, the IB diploma is what you make of it. Although it may create feelings of alienation, there are plenty of opportunities for students to branch out of the bubble.

It is important to find the motivation in overcoming isolation, as there is simply no better way to do the diploma than with the help of friends. But friends are not only limited to the ones in your classes. Reach out to peer groups beyond the walls of IB classrooms.

In the midst of IAs, HIs, and HLs, familar vocab to solely IB students, it is beneficial to find balance in both academic and social activities.

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About the Contributors
Shane Gomez
Shane Gomez, Co-Editor in Chief

Senior Shane Gomez is the Co-Editor in Chief of the A-Blast. He was Editorials Editor as a sophomore and junior and a Staff Writer as a freshman. He is pursuing the IB Diploma and he can be found frequenting clubs and organizations such as AWC, AYSO, ABC, AA, CFAC, HSC, SHF, MUN, NHS, NEHS, NSSHS, SNHS, VWA, and YMG. He likes to thrift, hangout, and watch movies. He looks forward to graduating.

Christina Abouzeki
Christina Abouzeki, Co-International Editor
Senior Christina Abouzeki is in her second year of journalism as a Co-International Editor. She loves reading, listening to music, and traveling. She plays on the varsity volleyball team and the violin in the philharmonic orchestra. Outside of school, she also likes to spend time with her friends and family.

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