Reflections halfway through the IB diploma

Daria and Łukasz, our 4th edition scholars, have returned for their 2nd year at LAS over a month ago. Senior year is much different from junior year, as students prepare for university applications and their final IB exams in May. There is also a wealth of experiences and perks of being a senior at LAS, to make all that hard work worth it. We asked them to share their thoughts and reflections halfway through their scholarship adventure, which you can read about in detail below:

  • Has the transition from junior to senior year been very challenging so far?

Daria: Paradoxically, senior year is much easier for me than junior year. Returning to the school after the summer holidays felt like coming back home – to our amazing friends and supportive staff. I already know the people, the place, how to manage my time and focus on my well-being – it’s crucial! The workload is huge with all the essays and college applications but I’m really excited about the future and rarely stressed. I can’t express how grateful I am to the understanding teachers who are always there to offer help if we’re struggling and trust us that we complete the work without putting much pressure on us, which enables us to manage our time more freely. Frankly, I feel like I finally found my true self and am able to focus on what’s important to me to make the most of this great experience. 

Łukasz: Not really. While the increase in workload is very noticeable, being familiar with the school gives a lot of confidence and makes the transition easier and less stressful than it otherwise would have been. The ability to skip the onboarding process (or as the school likes to call it “orientation”) on arrival, as well as not having to become acquainted with faculty, take away most of the complexity of the first couple of weeks. You can jump straight into a familiar environment, quickly settle in and get going with whatever is on the agenda at the time.

  • What are the perks of being a senior?

Daria: Definitely living at Belle Epoque! This majestic building has all the spaces, such as the library, Grande Salle, the Cave that we can benefit from during our free time, and the unlimited coffee supply that comes in handy during long study sessions. I feel like we’re so much closer together with our friends now that we all live in the same building and not separate dorms. Everything is at one place and it saves so much time – I can be in my room just two minutes after classes have ended. Academically wise, the teachers already know us and give us much more flexibility in learning. In a more metaphorical sense, senior year is all about discovering yourself. You have to make all these decisions about going to a particular university to study a particular subject, which forces you to really deeply reflect on the person that you are and what you truly want. It is scary to face but also really thrilling. 

Łukasz:  Definitely the dorm location – living, eating, studying, and having classes in the same building is so much more convenient than having to spend upwards of 20 minutes every day just to move between lower and upper campus areas. The time saved, not having to wake up ridiculously early and the general access to all vital facilities cannot be overstated.

  • What was your favourite moment or part of junior year?

Daria: Ski season! I’m a huge fan of skiing and being able to hit the slope every two days is beyond amazing. It’s so relaxing to just forget about everything for a few hours and enjoy the beautiful views while racing your friends.

Łukasz: Skiing in the winter semester was great. I am by no means an avid skier, as a matter of fact, before January (the beginning of the ski season at LAS), I’ve been on a ski slope a grand total of three times in my life. Nevertheless, learning the basics, and seeing myself slowly improve, was extremely fun – everything necessary to learn quickly and safely is here, from instructors to infrastructure. Now, as an intermediate skier, I’m hoping to get as much of the upcoming season as possible.

  • What are you most looking forward to during your senior year? What are your goals for senior year?

Daria: One of my biggest aims to achieve as well as exciting events this year is TEDx Countdown that I’m organizing at the school. The event is about finding solutions to climate change. We are going to invite speakers from outside of the school so that they can share their knowledge from different areas, such as science, activism and green business with us to reflect on how to face this crisis. Organizing the event is a lot of work but we have a great team and the school is beyond supportive of our initiative. I can’t wait to make it happen. 

Łukasz: Surviving the aptly named “IA hell”, and then successfully applying to at least one university. It’s that time of year at LAS when most of the IB assessments are due and as such, there’s a lot of work to be done, especially in the form of researching and then, writing it up. It doesn’t end there though. Once that’s done, there are university applications to be completed, some as early as October 15th – essays, personal statements, letters of motivation, and whatever else the admission officers came up with. All in all – it doesn’t get boring at the very least until November. If I come out the other side in relatively good shape, I will be happy.

  • Describe the last 3 weeks in 3 words

Daria: Road to self-discovery.

Łukasz: Write. Write. Write.