Whether You IB or Don’t IB, You’re Right

John Naranjo

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Before the end of the first semester I made the decision to switch from the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program to the certificate program. Honestly I couldn’t be happier that I chose to make the switch. The diploma program is a tough one and while the diploma candidates have my respect that doesn’t change the fact that the program is simply not for me. Though I had the support of my friends that doesn’t mean that I got off without facing jokes about being a quitter or too dumb to do it. Although these were nothing more than jokes it got me thinking about the way kids in the IB program or those who are taking honors and AP courses view their fellow students who are not.

Now being an IB student myself, I can’t really speak for the people that aren’t a part of the program. It seems like most of them just seem to ignore us just as we ignore them. I mean honestly how many friends of yours can you name that aren’t taking at least one higher level class? Personally I can’t think of a single friend of mine that isn’t. For students who choose not to take these types of classes, can you name many friends of yours that are taking a higher level class?

Although of course it is rather hard to make friends with people you don’t have very many classes with, classes aren’t the only way students on this campus are able to meet and collaborate with each other. The many clubs on campus as well as the different after school events held throughout the year are just a couple of examples of ways students from any corner of the school can meet and become friends.

It really makes you realize that kids in IB and those taking higher level courses have created a bubble for themselves, one in which they’ve become very complacent with the divide they’ve put between themselves and people taking regular classes.

Speaking of “regular classes”, what’s up with that term? Many do not know this but the technical term for these classes are College Prep (CP) courses for short. I’ve heard that term be thrown around since my freshman year to refer to CP courses and as my time in high school went on I saw this word being applied to the students taking these classes themselves. “Regular kids” is a term I hear just as frequently and I’ve even heard the term “bad kids” be applied to these students as well. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. What exactly makes these kids regular or bad? What reason do IB kids have to be so elitist?

To put it simply, there is no reason. IB and higher level courses are not for everyone. Some students choose to take different routes during their high school career and that’s entirely ok. Everyone has different goals, ambitions and limitations and thinking you’re better than someone because theirs don’t match yours is just wrong. I’ve met many kids who choose only to take CP courses and honestly some of them are a lot more kind and certainly a lot more humble than many of my own peers.

About every week I hear some spiel from teachers or other students about fostering unity on campus but those usually come from the ones who throw around terms like “regular kids”. Since I first came to North I’ve always been warned to stay away from “them.” If people on this campus really feel the need to make sure there is an “us” and a “them,” then perhaps the people here at North don’t really care about unity as much as they say.

Long story short, there’s no reason people taking higher level courses and CP courses can’t get along. We are all students attending North. We need to stop separating “them” from “us” because if we don’t then this campus will never truly see the unity that it should. So don’t be afraid to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally converse with, you might find that you’ll have a lot more in common than you thought.

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