What Does Being an IB Student Mean To You?

DISCLAIMER: This article is an opinion piece submitted by a freelance writer, and its views are not representative of the views of the Flame nor its staff.

Many of us IB students categorize ourselves as just that, IB students, a term that is technically correct but used without thought. What does being an IB student mean to you? More than the vigorous program, the IAs, the CAS requirements and the countless other acronyms that represent daunting responsibilities, what else would our students say an IB student is?


Hao Min. UNIS Hanoi International School Will Increase the Number of Full Scholarships. Digital image. Gia Dinh Vietnam. Vietnam
Online, 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

The usual defining descriptors of being tired, hardworking and stressed are in my opinion vitally flawed. It would be hard for me not to find a high school student (IB or not) out there that doesn’t complain “school is hard” or one who doesn’t answer to teachers’ failed morning energizers with the “I’m tired” excuse. Procrastination, lack of sleep and anxiety is a big issue at our school, and at other schools, whether they have the IB program or not.

There are of course qualities that an IB student is inclined to have due to the guidelines the program provides. Whether a student adopts them or not rests on the students themselves, however.  I truly believe that bright characteristics can be developed in any student.

However, I also feel that the student body – you, me, and everybody else – could be more effective in promoting the development of these characteristics. Our school needs a transition on behalf of the students from an “IB is hard” perspective to an “I need to learn today” perspective. Although “IB is hard” provides incentive for some students to work hard, it also provides excuses for others students to slack off. The “I need to learn today” mindset is one that will appeal and benefit all students.

In my vocabulary, the phrase “I just genuinely hate that subject” is not an option: it is not a justification for not trying your best. To succeed in a positive learning environment, I recommend removing this from your lists of excuses as well. I extract the best out of every subject and I urge you to do the same. Not only will it yield better academic results, but I promise that your passionate dislike will also turn into ferocious curiosity. To name a few examples, Maths and English, although very different, both force me to problem solve. Maths drives me to think critically and with reason; English stimulates creative interpretations and effective communication. Therefore, when extracting these critical skills I am one step closer to becoming a good learner.


The IB aims to develop its students into global leaders, individuals with a profile that will take an active role in the community. Their goal is to take you from the passive (maybe smart and diligent, but passive nonetheless) student to the engaged, active, and demanding student that exists in every one of us. We must become demanding of our own abilities to prosper and demanding of our teachers’ guidance to get us there.

How many of the list above can you tick off? Students at UNIS should look at the IB with a positive mindset: our graduation should entail balanced and risk-taking learners, not crippled overachievers. To me, being an IB student means developing into learners that can excel in any field. IB students know how to learn.