The EE: An Exercise in Inventiveness

Article by: Daniel J.

“If you fail this one paper, you won’t get your diploma. Everything you’ve done these past few years will have been for nothing.”  It was with these comforting words that IB Coordinator Michael Relf addressed a group of ISM seniors learning how to correctly format their Extended Essays (EE). This summarizes the fear of any IB student tackling the EE: a year’s worth of effort, a cycle of research, writing, and revision that should produce a quality 4,000 word academic paper on any topic that the student chooses. However, that is easier said than done. Francis Acevedo, a junior who has yet to start, scoffed when he asked some of his senior friends how they could “actually procrastinate on the EE?”

Senior Sameer Ali Siddiq believed before that “[he’d] be finished by the summer of junior year, and just chill in [his] senior year. But [he] found [himself] knee deep in rice fields, interviewing farmers about their quality of life and realizing that that just wasn’t going to happen.” Senior Ethan Alcid, who chose psychology for EE, shared anecdotes of sleepless nights whenever a new draft or section was due. While these experiences are not uncommon, many students have actually enjoyed delving more independently into topics of personal interest. From the failures of communism in Latin America to the literary evolution of the popular X-Men comic book series, the areas explored are as diverse as the student body itself. When asked about his physics EE, which attempts to model the flight path of frisbees, senior Nicholas Te explained that he simply loved to play ultimate frisbee, and taking that into account, it just grew naturally into a topic of exploration.

With this ordeal of EE coming to a close, advice can be offered to those young minds about to delve into the joys of the EE.  Several seniors’ sentiments echo the erroneously quoted words of Nathan Bedford Forrest: “Git thar fustest with the mostest.” While some procrastination is nigh but inevitable, the students who get more of the work done earlier find themselves with higher quality work and happier lives.