How to balance the DP and your personal life over the summer?

Written By Ranjika B.

The summer break is the most enticing time of the year for most students. It is typically the longest break you will get, and it is the perfect opportunity to travel, go to the beach, meet your friends, watch movies and … work on your Extended Essay? It’s unfortunate but the IB DP does not stop its rigor even over the summer. It is easy to get swept up by the fun things to do over the break and lose sight of what to do in the IB, but with a little time and effort, it is possible to both study and have fun during the summer break. 

Get ahead on your IAs and EE 

The most common advice given to DP Yr 1 students is to use the summer between year 1 and 2 to get ahead on their IAs and their EE. This can be a bit ambiguous, as progress looks different for different students. My advice would be to first create a schedule that is flexible, allowing for a few hours every day or every alternate day to work on these assignments. Next, try to break up each task into smaller fractions. For instance, you can target to complete your research for the Extended Essay and draft an outline for how you plan to write it over the next few months. Furthermore, with the IAs, you can start to work out what you plan to do. For a Group 4 IA, you may decide what experiment to conduct and start collecting the materials you require to do the same. For a Group 3 IA, you may start planning out interview questions or collecting the necessary literature (depending on the assignment) to make your job easier in the future. The key tip here is that the earlier you get the tedious planning and research steps out of the way, the easier it will be for you to meet deadlines and produce an amazing piece of work. 

CAS ideas 

The summer is the ideal time for you to enjoy things you love to do – be it performing, playing a sport or creating artwork. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to turn your interests into CAS hours. If you enjoy playing a sport, you can use your regular practice hours as Activity hours for CAS. If you are a part of a drama club or a band, you may use that as Creativity hours. Furthermore, the summer has lots of opportunities to do voluntary work or internships. At this level of education, most of the opportunities will be unpaid but doing such activities have a number of benefits. They are an asset to your CV and college applications, they help you gain useful skills and experiences, and they contribute to your Service hours. It might seem like that activities will cut into your fun time, but you can volunteer with your friends. For example, if your friends and you love animals, you may volunteer at an animal shelter together. Or you may be able to organize a donation drive, or a tree plantation together. Most voluntary work is only successful with other people, and bringing together a large group of friends to volunteer together can be an extremely fun and useful experience. 

Remember to have fun! 

Remember, at the end of the day this is your summer break and it is your opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself. Nobody wants to spend every single day of their holidays just studying and working. However, if you plan correctly and try to combine fun and school activities together, you can have an extremely enjoyable yet useful summer. Take a couple of hours out every few days to do the things you need to for the DP, and then use the rest of your time to whatever you’d like! 

Have a great summer, and don’t forget to have fun! 

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