IB Survival Tips | Successful IB Graduate Talks About the Stress

IB Survival Tips | Successful IB Graduate Talks About the Stress

October 18, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


Hi! And welcome to my channel, where I talk to successful IB graduates and supportive parents about their experience of the IB diploma. Today I’m talking with Kleio Kartalis who is keen to share with you what she
learned about coping with the stress of the IB. Kleio, thank you for joining me here, today. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. Talk to us about the three most stressful moments of the IB for you. Absolutely! So the three moments were The first was university applications. The second was preparing for deadlines, be that for the
extended essay, internal assessments…whatever the IB throws at you. And the third one was the exam itself. Let’s take it one by one. Why was applying to university particularly stressful, for you? For me, applying to universities was exceptionally stressful, because my expectations
really didn’t match the reality. I waited for months and months and months, culminating to a major long-term stressor throughout especially my be IB2 year, that didn’t
necessarily have the kind of ending that I thought it would have according to the
plan that was what I was constantly told for reassurance. Did you feel alone, in feeling this way? No actually, this was a sentiment that a lot of my peers, be that if they
were applying for biology, medicine, law political science, even art, we all had a
very different reality from what we expected to find. Um, there’s just a lot more that goes into the process of applying that I think that initially we kind of
just thinking we write a personal statement we edit it, we send it, but in reality there’s
a lot more that goes into an application. D’you want to give some examples? For
example, you have to meet with multiple coordinators, you have to decide on what
university you are go to apply for and then based on your IB and on your
overall ‘package’, as we call it, that you want to send in, you will
then have to really talk also with your parents, um, there’s just a lot that goes into it. Even economics, now in the current day situation, you really really have to think of every
single step. And these are major steps and even the fact that you’re thinking
about these things, that in itself, the idea in itself is extremely daunting. I
think a lot of the times, the idea of it is daunting, combined with the fact that
something that you think would be a very simple easy or relatively painless
process that becomes incredibly complex that doesn’t have a qualified definite positive ending, can create a lot of stress. So based on your experience what advice would you give to IB students about the application process? The number one advice that I’d give is that you need to understand that it’s a very competitive environment that you’re entering in. So that, yes, you might not have a guaranteed positive ending, but you need to still remain motivated and not allow a potential
rejection, which even the language can have a very negative connotation and be
very demotivating, you need to always prioritize your own sanity, in a
very kind of real way, and to always ensure that you’re taking care of yourself,
and to kind of just go with the flow, as much as possible. I think that a lot of the time, just to add on to that, we can get caught into into ideas or thoughts where we say: What went wrong? What did I do wrong? And I think that it’s really, really important to take into consideration and also to make sure that you surround
yourself with people that are actually positive, and that will actually listen
to what you have to say, even if you feel like you’re just moaning and you’re being
negative, just expelling that negative energy, I think a lot of the time is extremely, extremely cathartic and
will help you in the long-term. Um, also don’t ever think that you’ve exhausted
all options. Even if you genuinely believe that you have no other option,
there is always someone or somewhere that will be available, and there’s
always going to be something that you’ll be able to do, that will be just as, if
not more, fulfilling than whatever your prior ‘plan’ was. So just I guess, be malleable, be flexible and don’t just have a ‘Plan A’. Have a Plan ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’…etc So what was your ‘Plan A’? My ‘Plan A’ was going to study law in the UK. But I also, however, applied to the US. I applied to courses that were not specifically law, but had a direct link or a direct connection to law, so that in that way, I was able to have a little bit more leverage. And although my ‘Plan A’ didn’t
necessarily come into fruition, I can comfortably say now, a year after the IB,
having already finished a year at university, that I am 100% confident I
made the right decision. And that’s not something that I would be able to tell
you in the exams in May. So the #1 tip that I have for you today, is that success is a subjective interpretation. For me, for example going into the IB, I had one idea of success, but that changed by the end of my IB two years. And that has
changing a year on. And it will constantly change. It’s a natural, organic process
and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. What’s important to keep in mind, is that as success is subjective, it may vary from what your peers are doing, it may vary from their version of success. So just learn to accept, that other
versions exist, and you be happy doing your own thing, and finding your own way to find success. You’ve also told me that cooperative communication was important for you in reducing stress. D’you wanna talk about that? Absolutely. So for me, cooperative communication was key in being able to
reduce stress when it came to all kinds of deadlines. Be that for your CAS, be that for your internal assessment, even for the EE. A stress factor that the vast majority, if not all IB students that I’ve talked to experience, is that even going into the IB, we all had this idea or this preconceived notion, that we did not have enough time to perform our utmost best. And that would lead to a really vicious cycle of denial, of perhaps not being motivated enough to even attempt whatever deadline we had to do and that would actually amount to extreme levels of stress, more closer to the deadlines that we had, for each internal
assessment. So for me, the way that I tackled this, and the way that I was able
to really reduce my stress, is to maintain a continuous, open, respectful,
cooperative communication with my teacher as well as with my parents. Specifically, with my teacher it was extremely important because it allowed me to always keep in
contact with them, and to be able to just updated them on my progress. Even if I hadn’t made that much progress, the fact that they were aware of my current state was
extremely important for them as well because they were able to then tackle it
effectively. I also think that asking your teacher for help, is something that’s going to be
very crucial, and something that for me helped me a lot in reducing stress, cause although they don’t have the permission to give you the answer that you’re
looking for, the teachers will be able to give you a personalized response that will at least give you something that you can go off of to tackle your own
problems. Let’s talk about exam stress. I mean it’s almost, you know, by definition, going to be – you cannot avoid stress when revising for exams. It is a stressful situation. What can you do about it? Ok, so something that you actually taught me in IB1, in our history class, was about
the pit. I believe that Valia mentioned it in her talk. It’s going to be in the
description below, if you guys wanna see it. But what she said is that this pit is an awful situation to be in and that it’s going to be uncomfortable.
And I think that, for me, was something that was really able to banish all the
negative thoughts, which is my tip. Right? You need to be able to banish
negative thoughts. You need to accept that it’s going to be an uncomfortable situation,
it’s not going to be the most fun situation, but that it is going to end. What
was also very interesting to find out was that it wasn’t so much the exams
themselves, as tests, that were particularly stressful, but just the idea
of the exams or the potential repercussions that these exams had. We’ve all had experience in doing tests under timed conditions, under time
pressure. I think we really need to understand, and be able to tap into our
confidence when it comes to that, that we are able to retain more information than we
thought we’d be able to retain. Just go in confident. Just see it as a test in itself and don’t necessarily expand it to the rest of your life. Cause that, I think can then create these negative thoughts,
these negative tendencies that are just ruminating constantly of: I’m going to die. This is going to be the worst thing ever. And I think that that is just not
particularly conducive to being productive, and to also just being happy and healthy…which is, I think, extremely important at all points in the IB. This is a really important discussion to have, because stress is such a major part of the IB. Is there
anything else that you’d like to add, before we finish off? Absolutely. So you will have been told by your teachers that: Stress in the IB is not necessarily a
bad thing. It can be very good, and it can actually help you be productive. And
although I do believe that, you will be experiencing a lot of different types of stress in the IB. And you’ll also be functioning within a
very, relatively high level of stress constantly, which will then have
peak points. And peak points that can also kind of last, to a certain extent. Um, but I think that it’s also important
to see, once you leave the IB the stress you will have felt, through the IB, will actually be almost like a reassurance. I think knowing that
you have survived, and that you’ve been able to perform under these extremely
stressful conditions, acts as almost like a reassure factor of, you know what, I’ve
been in a stressful situation before, and I can deal with it. I can cope. And I’m going to be alright. And I’m going to survive. And really, I think that that’s all we can kind of hope for! Subscribe for more videos