My name is Sasha Cassidy, and I study Dentistry in CEU San Pablo. I received an IB diploma in 2023 and did the course in China, although I am half Irish half Russian. I completed the program in English, and as I consider both English and Russian my native languages, there were fortunately no language barriers or difficulties for me.
The most notable skills I developed during my IB years were critical thinking, communication, open-mindedness, and inquisitive learning. These are a great asset to me now in university as I am in a very diverse and distinct environment in a foreign country, which has posed plenty challenges that these skills allowed me to overcome.
The IB program also helped me develop my problem-solving skills through encouraging students to start clubs and organise events both in and outside school. For example, I successfully brought the Clothesline Project to my school, a travelling exhibition that advocates for mental health. I was able to resolve all the scheduling and logistical issues that I encountered, which there was a plethora of, as this was not just a school-wide event but also required collaboration with other schools and community centres.
Furthermore, my research and analytical abilities were enhanced in the IB through internal assessments for which students wrote about a topic of their choice. This repetition of copious individual investigation, analysis, and evaluation aided in increasing the efficiency and quality of these processes.
A specific assignment in the IB program that I believe contributed significantly to my skill development was the Extended Essay. This 4000-word report was done entirely outside of class and helped me improve a great deal of skills such as planning, organization, and time-management. After this, I felt very well prepared for the academic demands of university life because it taught me how to utilize my time and energy effectively.
A time-management skill that I acquired that is proving valuable in my university studies is the ability to produce and follow study schedules by creating specific and attainable goals. Especially for larger projects, having a timeframe with intermediate deadlines and the steps required to meet them is invaluable for producing high quality work while simultaneously reducing stress.
Lastly, the IB program helped me develop critical thinking skills that are beneficial when transitioning to university-level coursework. I am more capable of analysing the complex information, arguments, and observations to synthesize an understanding of complex concepts, which is helpful for everything from discussing subjective events in history to interpreting results of experiments in biology. Overall, I believe the IB adequately prepared me for university and taught me all the skills I need to succeed.