Article by: Samantha Borja

The dreaded and long-awaited IB has always been viewed as the most stressful time of any student’s ISM career. In addition to the difficulty of the program, students try as hard as they can to be involved in other school activities, such as sports, clubs, councils, and other events. Because of this hectic combination of responsibilities, a new kind of contest has arisen where students compete to see who is more exhausted and overworked: the IB aesthetic. With the IB, coffee runs and late nights are now the norm, and those who don’t visibly take part are perceived as simply not working hard enough.

This mindset is completely unhealthy, as students lose hours of essential rest and sleep, which they need to function. Junior Selina D. believes that this unspoken competition has affected her daily life, even saying, “sometimes when I’m free during lunch, or I am able to sleep earlier than 10 p.m., I feel like there’s work that I should be doing.” During particularly stressful weeks, she admits to “being more dependent on coffee, but that’s just something the IB will do to you.”

Senior John H., however, does not believe that this mentality is justified. He states, “While I definitely have had my fair share of late nights, I do not think that gloating about them makes sense because organization is central to success in the IB and is thus a characteristic that all IB students should strive to posses.” In order to keep balance, John says, “I sleep as soon as I get home. Once I wake up, I work until school starts. It works well in that I’m productive early in the morning and get tons of sleep, but it doesn’t in that I tend to be very sleepy in last two blocks.” John advises students to prioritize, explaining that, “While extracurricular activities are fun and rewarding, they come with a heavy workload. Make sure that when it comes to extracurricular activities, you are doing rewarding things – not fluff that you do not enjoy.”

All in all, time management and organization are essential to balancing academics and extracurriculars while still spending time on yourself, especially during what may well be the toughest times of high school. For many, the recommended eight hours of sleep may be just an unattainable dream, but we can’t completely sacrifice health for better grades. The line between commitment and unhealthy choices has been blurred and perhaps the result is more costly than we see.

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