The 4 (originally 5) lessons I learned during the 7 months of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

IB DP is the most challenging and rigorous 2-year high school program in the world. You have 6 subjects: 3 subjects on the standard level (SL) and 3 subjects on the high level (HL). A high level is like an upper-level when you study a subject more thoroughly. Also, every IB DP student has TOK — Theory of Knowledge. This is something that you will hate and that you will not eventually understand completely because only God knows what it is actually. Oh, and don’t forget about EE (Extended Essay) and CAS (Creativity-Activity-Service). The extended essay is a self-directed piece of research in one of your 6 subjects. CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. Creativity — arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking. Activity — physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP. Service — an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected. (Source: ibo.org) So, you need to complete all of these requirements (6 subjects, TOK, EE, CAS) to get IB Diploma. More information about the IB DP: ibo.org.

Now, I am studying on my first year of the program with the following subjects: business management (HL), analysis and approaches (i.e mathematics) (HL), English language (HL), Russian literature (SL), economics (SL), computer science (SL). Believe me, if you want to get the highest scores (and this will allow you to get into the best universities in the world), you need to be both brave and hardworking. I am aiming for the TOP marks, so everything should be perfect. You have to be the best. You need to be the crème de la crème.

So here are the lessons I’ve learned so far.

  1. Planning is essential.

The schedule of IB DP students looks like the schedule of some CEOs or top managers. Homework, SAT, exams, CAS, sport, deadlines, homework debts — these are tasks/things that we need to manage and do. Sometimes we become overwhelmed and confused with the tasks. Therefore, If you do not have a clear list of tasks for the day, then you will forget something. For the top marks, everything should be done on time and properly. To be productive and work effectively during the day, you should make a schedule of the day AND a clear to-do list with ALL of your tasks.

Schedule and daily to-do list will help you to structure the brain and mind. Imagine that you need to assemble a wardrobe from the store, but you don’t know how to do it, and you don’t have an instruction. You will try to assemble something from parts, spend a lot of time on it, and most likely you will either not assemble the wardrobe at all, or you will do it for several hours. The same thing happens when you don’t have a daily plan. The plan is your instruction for the day. When you have assembly instructions, you know what to do and in what order, you just have to follow the instructions. This will make everything faster and easier. Same thing with the plan of the day. A daily plan is your day’s guide with which you can complete your tasks efficiently and quickly without forgetting anything.

So no matter if you are a student, an employee of a large firm, or a retiree, planning will help you complete all your tasks on time. This will allow you to achieve your goals.

ACTION ITEM: During the next week, make a daily plan and to-do list.

2. Sport is everything.

Remember yourself tired after a hard day at work, when you can’t do anything as soon as you go to bed. I often find myself in the same situation, however, something helps me to stay away and continue to work. Yes, it’s a sport. In particular, regular exercise. We all know about the benefits of sports for our health, body, and mood, but why then does not everyone exercise regularly? Because our brain thinks that sports will only make things worse. We think that after sports, our body will get even more tired and then there will be no strength left at all. But in fact, after work or study, we get tired morally and mentally, and after sports, physically.

Sport makes our muscles tense while relaxing our mind and brain. While jogging or playing basketball, our brain switches to something else and rests from school or work. Sport helps us to relax and recharge with new energy. So run in the morning, go to the gym or play basketball. Do whatever you want to do, as long as you exercise!

ACTION ITEM: During the next week, go for a run in the morning or exercise for an hour in the evening.

3. Rest is more important than work.

Yes, it is. When you study and work a lot, rest becomes the only salvation. We have to rest in order to switch from studying/working. For example, you can do sports or just watch a TV series. It doesn’t matter how you spend your rest, you just need to do something else, not study or work. Sometimes, when I have already completed all my tasks, I can’t rest. For some reason, my brain tells me, “You can work some more! Come on, do something else!” And I often listen to my brain go study for an exam or practice extra. However, this can lead to you getting bored of everything and not wanting to do anything at all. That’s why rest is important.

Force yourself to rest! You shouldn’t have to work 24/7. Allocate yourself 30 minutes a day to read your favorite book or just watch a cool video. Trust me, this will really help you stay productive.

ACTION ITEM: Allocate yourself 30 minutes a day to watch your favorite show!

4. Create. Change. Innovate.

Do you know who will become successful? Not someone who will strictly follow the rules and accept things as they are, but someone who will create something new and cool. Someone who will change an area or a community for the better. Creators are the ones at the top. So, find your passion, identify opportunities and problems, and get started!

Don’t fear to innovate or change something in your community or even in the world. Changes lead to better things! If you have found your passion, consider how you can create something to help someone or improve someone’s life. It’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s the kind of crazy (in a good meaning) people who believe they can create and change things in the world that really bring change to society and the world! So become that kind of person! You don’t have to change the world, but try to influence at least one person, change one person’s world for the better. Come on!

When you realize that, then you will be a completely different person, believe me. You will become a person who can achieve incredible success in school, work, and most importantly in life.

ACTION ITEM: Try to change your best friend’s life for the better in some way.

With best wishes,

Amir Khamidullin 🍏

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