It’s no secret that the IB program is difficult, but it’s not just the academic aspect. What many students struggle to do, is to manage their time between work and play. To see if we could get insight on the topic, we sat down with Secondary School Principal, Jonathan Cain.
After discussing the matter with Mr. Cain, we identified that two important skills are needed to successfully complete the IB: self-management and organisational skills. He indicated that in the 21st century, it is a lot easier for social life to get in the way of academic life. With technology always easily accessible to us, common things such as social media can quickly become a distraction. However, it is important to make sure that students prioritize their work before entertainment.
Cain states that the expectations are very simple. As students, we are required to follow the handbook policies and do the work that is given to us. “Just because you don’t have work, doesn’t mean you should be doing nothing,” he says. “In the IB, you always have work to do.”
This is where it gets complicated. If we always have work to do, how can we have an active social life?
This seems to be a common fear among teenagers completing the International Baccalaureate program. In fact, there’s even a website dedicated to these types of questions: www.ibsurvival.com. In one of the threads on the site, user Cynthia states, “If being in IB means that you can’t have friends or date, then you’re doing something wrong. It’s all about time management; if you start your EE two days before it’s due you won’t have much time for asocial life, but if you’ve actually organised your time well you can sit back and relax while others are panicking.”
Cain echoes this sentiment, saying “there’s a way to balance social and academic, [but] I think what gets in the way are other things, like social media.” The principal believes that when students are spending their time online, on social media, and on apps such as Snapchat, it is not actually being social, and should be considered ‘alone time.’ However, when students join athletics and school activities, it prepares us for the outside world.
This ties in closely to the topic of the IB learner profile, and what type of student and person we should become because of the program. We should be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. Mr. Cain points out that these profiles are ideals–that it’s impossible to be perfect in all of them. He says if we find something we’re good at and passionate about that we will hit those attributes without too much extra work, leaving time for socializing with friends.
Manage your time, stay organized, and stay off (well, limit) social media. This is, of course, easier said than done; but then again, this is IB.
Thank you, Mr. Cain for talking to The Bite. We appreciate your time!