Tag Archives: international baccalaureate

A Great Day For Freedom

On the day the wall came down

They threw the locks onto the ground

With glasses high, we raised a cry

For freedom had arrived!

A Great Day For Freedom, Pink Floyd

And so it ended: not with a whimper, but a bang… or at least with a large degree of whooping, running around and tearing off of school ties. After eight days of exams (or, rather, two years preparing for the IB diploma), the stress and the wait was over, replaced with an overwhelming sense of jubilance and lightness. Somehow (but luckily!) throughout the final exam, I managed to displace excitement from my mind and even at the point we were told to put down our pens, nothing seemed extraordinary. It was just another exam, one of the fifteen we each had to sit. It was just another essay, one of countless I had written in the past couple of months.  But as I went through each of the pages of my essay, numbering them and marking them with my candidate number (000794-018), it began to sink it- I realised that school was over and I had made it.

And so I ran down the stairs and outside (well, until the thought occurred to me it would be mighty unlucky for me to break both legs on the day I finished exams), probably singing something or else just grinning as I’ve never grinned before. I ripped off the tie I would never have to wear again and did a victory lap of the school oval (the term “lap” being used in its loosest sense).

I had imagined that moment ever since I started high school, and especially in the last couple of weeks. When I experienced the sense of relief and freedom at the end of my first set of exams in Year 9, I imagined how much better that feeling would be when the end of exams meant the end of schooling. When, last year, I saw my friends in the year above me come out from their final exams, I felt intensely jealous and pictured myself in their place. And finally the moment was there, unsurprising in hindsight, but quite unexpected at the time, as during the last week or so it felt like it would never come.

That feeling (labelled “diffusion of time” by Erikson– one of the many things I’ll never have to remember or write on again) peaked in the middle of the year. We were told that the middle of Year 12 was the most difficult part (even more so than exams) because all the major assessments were due in quick succession, as were language oral examinations and the such. The gloomy weather probably didn’t help either. At many points in the year, I would look at the “IB Year 12 Calendar”, look at all of the assessments and months still to come and despair. The end would never come, it seemed.

So the feeling was one of great discharge, of finally being unburdened of the stresses and requirements that accumulated throughout the two years of having done IB, especially in this year. It was a sense of freedom I remembered only distantly from the happiness of having come to the end of a school term in primary school, of having been given two weeks (or six, over the Christmas break) of holidays. Througout the IB, the workload had built up: even during the Christmas holidays of 2007-2008, I nonetheless spent many hours working and while relaxing, would still have the prospect of my assignments hanging over me. With each set of holidays, the amount of time allocated to study increased to the point where in the Term 3 holidays, I made a colour-coded study planner which had me studying for eight hours a day (anal much?). And suddenly, there was nothing. No assignments, no requirements, no study or pressure. 

And I am liberated, with so many things to do, to which I can look forward. First on the agenda was a complete purging of my bedroom, moving anything and everything related to school out of my room and into the garage. The notes and handouts- on my table, in my folders, stacked in my wardrobe- filled two photocopy paper boxes and nearly gave me a hernia as I lifted them. And filling those boxes felt so very good, leafing through the countless sheets of paper as I laid them to rest. Flipping through what I was throwing away was a reminder both of what I had achieved and what I had endured– what I would never have to worry about again. Looking at my Extended Essay handbook, blank CAS sheets, various subject syllubi and assessment markbands made me even more happy and grateful; the physical weight of what I was throwing a way a reminder of my new sense of ligthness. The fact that I can actually see my table for the first time in months is an added bonus (also to my mother, who tolerated the general clutteredness and dustiness of the room while I could still play the “hard-at-work” card).

So… three months of freedom and what to do? It would be tempting to literally flop into a sedentary mode, watching television reruns and getting up only for Doritos or coffee. But it would be much more enjoyable and rewarding to finally take the oppurtunity to do all those things I had wanted to do throughout the year but couldn’t. So a return to blogging is on the cards, as is seeing some jazz and learning bass guitar and piano accordion. Finally, I will use the indian cookbook I got for my birthday. Finally, I will read the books piling up in my to-read list. Finally, I will take up bike riding again in an attempt to raise my fitness from a dangerous level.

Finally, I am free.



Filed under opinion, random

International Baccalaureate

An exclusive look at what actually goes on in IB classes…


English Class:

Teacher: Now you see how there are many words starting with ‘C’ here? This symbolizes the naive white attitude to black sexuality.

Me: How do you figure that?

Teacher: Well, the repeated sounds sort of give that image. Do you get it?

Me: Not really. I mean, there aren’t even that many words starting with ‘C’.

Teacher: Oh. Well. Look, theres some words starting with ‘K’ and ‘Q’.

Me: But that’s not ‘C’.

Teacher: ‘K’ and ‘Q’ are practically ‘C’.


Indonesian Class:

Teacher: Alright people. You have to do the study. Every day!

Me: Why?

Teacher: I am like a car going in fifth gear. You must keep up!

Me: Wouldn’t it be hard to run alongside a car going in fifth gear?

Teacher: Yes. That is why you must do the study. Every day!

Me: Hmmmm… so what are you teaching us today?

Teacher: I am not a teacher. I am just a facilitator.

Me: But you’re being paid teacher’s rates, right?

Teacher: I am sorry, Sha-sha. I do not understand. Please do the study.


History Class:

Teacher: Alright class, today we’ll be watching a movie called “Battleship Potemkin”. It’s a very good film and you can learn a lot about pre-Revolution Russia from it.

Me: Isn’t that a Communist propaganda film? Commissioned by Lenin himself?

Teacher: Um…. er…… ok then. *plays film*

(another day)

Teacher: Alright class, today we’ll be watching a documentary called “Ten Days That Shook The World” *plays film*

Narrator: The entire army had mutinied. The Provisional Government was now left without its military support. The only group that remained loyal to them was the Women’s Battalion.

*film cuts to video of women marching out of time*

Me: LOL!


Physics Class:

(Class consists of three of us Australian citizens on one side of the room, and a bunch of international students on the other side)

Teacher: So what is a gradient?

(People put their hands up; Teacher chooses one of the international students)

Student: *Something unintelligible*

Teacher: Not what I’m thinking of. Gradient is what happens when you wait “one”.

Me: Isn’t gradient “rise over run”.

Teacher: No. Its what happens when you wait “one”. So what is the gradient of this graph? You!

Another student: Um…. er…..

Teacher: Its one over four….

Me: Rise over run!

Teacher: Shut up. Its one over four…. so that means… how many fours go into one?

Student: Um…. er…. one?

Teacher: Not what I’m thinking of.


Maths Class:

(Class is HL Maths = harder than Specialist. As thus, 95% of the class are international students. About two of them can speak English)

Teacher: Alright. Today we’re going to learn about complex numbers.

Me: That sounds complex

Teacher: Not really. It’s easier than the stuff we did last week.

Me: Very well then.

Teacher: So pretty much what it is, there’s an imaginary number called ‘i’, which is equal to the square root of negative one.

One of the international students that can sort of speak English: But Sir. You cannot square root a negative number.

Teacher: Yes. I know. That’s why we call it an ‘imaginary number’.

Me: Fair enough.

Student: *tries to imagine a number which squares to give negative one* I do not understand, Sir!

Teacher: Don’t worry. Just know that ‘i’ squared is negative one.

International students: *confer in Mandarin*


Psychology Class:

Teacher: Alright. Today we’re going to study measures of central tendency. This is used in psychology to understand the information you have. There are several methods to do this….

Me: Why are there several packets of chocolate cookies on your desk?

Teacher: Because we’re going to use them to help us learn about sampling.

Me: Oh.

Teacher: We are going to take one chocolate cookie of brand and count the number of choc chips in them. Then you’re going to fill in this worksheet. Then you can eat the cookies.

Me: Did you pay for those cookies?

Teacher: No, I charged them to the school account *starts eating cookies* Now, come up and put on a rubber glove and take one of each kind of cookie. Peter. You’re first.

Peter: *walks up to front, puts on a glove, takes a cookie. then takes a big bite out of it*

Teacher: Don’t eat your participants!


Filed under random