Article by Georgia Limcaoco
Photograph by Sarah Daniels
Every year, students at ISM are faced with the daunting task of selecting courses. They carefully weigh their options and electives, reading course descriptions and consulting counselors before ultimately making their decisions. However, at the end of sophomore year, a massive game changer is introduced into the system: IB.
The courses you pick for the International Baccalaureate program are arguably the most important choices you will ever have to make in your high school career. In order to help the sophomores with their IB course selections, a couple of seniors, who have already obtained a certain familiarity with the offered courses, have shared some of their experiences.
Noah R., a member of ISSBA, currently takes HL Math, Computer Science, Literature, and Physics, and SL Chinese and Psychology. He is one of only three seniors who have chosen to take four HLs, the requirement only being three.
“I would only recommend taking four HLs if the person doing it has given it a great deal of thought, and gauged the workload of his or her other classes as well,” he says. “Keep in mind that this workload only grows.” He decided to take four HLs because he wanted to delve deeper into Computer Science, and felt that he could handle the challenge.
When picking his own IB courses, Noah turned to many people for help.
“I spoke with my parents, my counselor, upperclassmen, and thought deeply about it myself,” Noah says. “A lot of factors are at play when picking courses, from college requirements to parental expectations. But always remember that, in the end, it is you taking these classes, and you who has to struggle through them. Pursue what you enjoy.”
Joshua T., another senior, is currently taking HL Math, Chemistry, and Economics, and SL Physics, Filipino, and Lang-Lit.
When asked which class he finds the hardest, Joshua replies, “All my HLs are equally difficult, but none of them are impossible! If I were to do IB all over again, I would take the same classes.”
As advice to this year’s sophomores, he says, “Choose the subjects that you enjoy and are genuinely interested about. IB is a time to personalize your education. You make the choices, not your parents or your friends. No subject is impossible if you are interested and are willing to put time into it. Interest keeps you fueled during the length of high school.”