To My Fellow Procrastinators

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For the Chronic Procrastinators:

 When you hear people talk about the IB programme, you’ll hear plenty about the intense rigour and demand of the course, as well as countless stories of seniors drowning in non-stop assessments. There’re always a small handful of chronic procrastinators in every batch, the majority of whom are unsurprisingly from the Year 4 IP cohort (I’m no exception). It can be very daunting hearing all that the IB has to offer, wondering how you’re going to survive when you got here studying the bare minimum and rushing last-minute work. It’s easy to tell yourself every year that this is the year you’re going to pull yourself together, “get legit” and show everyone what you’re really capable of. But of course that never happens. You wonder how you’re going to survive if you continue at this rate (or at least your Year 4 teachers do). Is it even possible to slack through IB?

 Yes. Yes it is.

 You’ve spent years honing your skills in the art of procrastination, and by the time you get to IB you’re already well-equipped to slack your way through anything life can throw at you. Why spent a month studying for a grade 7 when you can cram everything into one day and get a solid 5? That’s, like, 3% of the effort for 71% of the results. You know the ways of slacking inside and out, and no-one can stop you.

 That’s the scariest part. No-one can stop you.

 The reality is that it’s very possible to spend your 2 years in IB putting in far less work and effort than the rest of your peers and still coming out perfectly fine. Unfortunately, the IP to IB transition really doesn’t help here: on top of the lack of ‘O’ levels, you’ll find that many of the intricacies and quirks of IB (the grading system, CAS, and a very sizable chunk of the IA formats) will be familiar ground. It’s convenient, but it does breed complacency. If you’re a slacker, it’s common to hear teachers warn you that you won’t sustain, your grades will plummet and you’ll get yourself into serious trouble. But if you’ve lived much of your student life this way, you’ll know that that isn’t necessarily true, and it’s a myth that slackers always get really bad grades. (My overall grade point totals in secondary school were generally in the low-to-mid 30s but went as high as 41 – not exactly stellar but by no means bad.) Really, I think the biggest danger of procrastination is that nothing much at all will happen if you do continue to procrastinate; there’s no push factor to really force you to change.

 The real consequences are intangible, and they’re great. The stressful feeling most people get when deadlines are approaching is far worse when those deadlines have already passed, and at times I imagine it as a dark cloud looming over my head at every moment. Despite the most common excuse ever invented, it becomes genuinely very difficult to forget to do homework, and it did take a toll on my quality of life in general, especially in Year 5. In addition, the feeling of dissatisfaction most people get when they hand in work-in-progress drafts is the feeling I get with almost every piece of work I churn out. Trust me, it sucks.

 To sum up, if you’re asking yourself if you can afford to slack through IB then you’re asking yourself the wrong question. You totally can, but with added stress, dissatisfaction and the opportunity cost of spending two years being less than the person you could be.

 Instead ask yourself if that’s the kind of life you really want to live.

Tan Aik Hui (6.17) is from the graduating batch of 2015.

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