Article by Meg Barraca

As the new school year rolls in, many ISM students are encountering new experiences and firsts. The freshmen are walking through the high school hallways for the first time; the seniors have begun to feel their first cases of senioritis; even the sophomores now have a year of high school experience under their belts. This year, as the class of 2019 claims the title of juniors, it is their first time to be immersed in the IB program.

The juniors may have heard many things about the IB, whether it be from an older sibling or the orientation given three-fourths of the way into sophomore year. The most reliable source of information, however, comes from this year’s seniors. Fresh out of their first year of the rigorous academic program, it is safe to say that they have learned a lot from the experience, from the good and bad to the do’s and don’ts.

Senior Andrea P. is a part of a variety of afterschool activities such as VAC, the HS play, NAHS, and Project Best. On balancing these with the IB, she advises Juniors to focus their efforts on what they find important.

“Of course, I prioritize studies first but as long as you communicate well, are proactive and never EVER waste time, you should be fine,” Andrea says. When asked one thing she wished she did differently in Junior year, she says she wishes she thought more about studying effectively.

“When I was in junior year I got lazy in organizing my notes, and that really bit me in the butt.” She says. “​I realized that I have a pretty short attention span and can only really focus for short periods of time. To combat this, I space my studying periods in sessions–this is essentially 25 minutes of pure focus, followed by a five-minute break.” She says that although big tasks may be overwhelming at first, breaking it down to a specific number of sessions makes it seem more accomplishable.

Another senior, Janelle P., further emphasizes on the importance of staying organized and prioritizing, and encourages students to study smart rather than hard. “Know which assessments are re-assessable, know which ones aren’t, and plan your studies accordingly!” She says. “Also, talk to your teachers. Not just about your interest in their subject or how good they look in their outfit/ haircut. Let them know about your schedules, about what’s up, help them get to know you.”

As the school year continues and the International Baccalaureate tests the perseverance and drive of the upperclassmen, they will be able to take this advice to heart–and one day, be able to pass their own words of wisdom to next year’s upcoming juniors.

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