IB vs AP

By: Mimi L. ('19)

We all know the scene: slumping down into the couches in the Student Center, an IB Junior exhales long enough to cause the weary eyes of various APers to turn his way. The IBer turns to one of his fellow students and begins to ramble on about the difficulty of his latest IB Bio test. The APers, naturally, exchange a glance that says the same thing: Not this again, an IBer who thinks that Multiple Choice is practically doomsday.

Across the courtyard, an APer runs like her hair is on fire, trying to make it to the library in time in order to catch a coveted spot at one of the large, round tables in the front of the library where they can lay out the materials of their RAP paper. Looking on from the confines of the gazebo, a gang of IBers laugh—exchanging a glance that says the same thing: not this again, an APer who thinks that writing a paper is like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

These are just a few of the stereotypes that pervade IB and AP life. The battle, it seems, is over which one truly is harder: whose tests are forced to study more for, who spends more time on papers. Both groups want the glory of taking pride in just how hard they both work. So, the question then becomes – which one truly is the greatest? In order to settle this battle once and for all, I thought I’d employ the most adamant IBer I know, Jacob Baumstein, opposing the most ferocious of all APers (not that that’s saying much), Fletcher Bartlett. This one’s for all of you juniors and seniors – and, you, too, underclassmen—if you feel like starting the feud early.


On a brisk December afternoon, the two boys with glistening black hair walk into the IB Lounge looking askance. Fletcher, visibly out of place, scrunches up his nose and makes a comment about the “stench of IB.” Jacob sits comfortably on the couch. And this, my friends, is where we set our scene.

1. What was the deciding factor for your original decision? 


Jacob: For me, the deciding factor was that I had heard amazing things about IB, and I like a small community inside of a larger one.

Fletcher: Number one, I was too lazy to fill out the application for IB.

Jacob: Well that doesn't say anything about your work ethic.

Fletcher: Sh. Number two, I wanted to be in a program—

Jacob: That was a little easier?

Fletcher: *Rolls eyes.* No, that supports my learning style.


2. What stereotypes do you have about the opposite - AP or IB?


Jacob: They don’t know how to write. All of their tests are just multiple choice.

Fletcher: It takes no natural talent. It’s all about how hard you work – and how good you are at talking about your feelings.

*May I add that at this point an anonymous IBer butted in to say, “He’s not wrong.”*


3. How do you break these stereotypes?

Jacob: Our tests really are quite hard – and we don’t always talk about our feelings.

Fletcher: We have plenty of writing and papers. Just ask Waples.


4. What's your favorite IB/AP class?


Jacob: Theory of Knowledge.

Fletcher: Um—

Jacob: He doesn’t know, because he’s only in two.

Fletcher: No, I’m in three, you dunce. How many “upper levels” are you in?

Jacob: Its higher level, buddy.

*I then interjected to steer back the conversation.*

Fletcher: My favorite is AP Chem.


5. What class would you have wanted to take if you had chosen the opposite program?

Fletcher: TOK, for sure.

Jacob: AP English with Waples.

(Duely noted: they are both with Waples. Keep up the good work, Doctor).


6. If you could go back, would you have made the opposite decision? Why not?


Jacob: Absolutely not. The classroom environment is more geared towards me—and I love the community inside of IB.

Fletcher: Hell no. I could not do that much writing or group work. Plus, I really like the classes that I’m taking currently.


7. To all current and future underclassmen, what advice would you give pertaining their choice of class?

Fletcher: Just choose the superior program, AP. *Laughs.*  No, just make sure you know who you want to be your teachers, who you like being surrounded by, and how high you want your GPA to be. Just kidding. Kind of.

Jacob: I’m going to be a little more mature: choose the program that fits you as a person. You have to take into consideration whether you want to spend a semester away Junior or Senior year, what type of college you want to go to, and, generally, what you prefer for assessments.


So, there you have it, folks. The perspective from both sides. Clearly, despite what many people say, there is no “better” program. In my experience, every single IB or AP student has been happy with his or her choice. For all you underclassmen, if you’re unsure of what choice you want to make—visit a class! It’s really beneficial to see what the classroom dynamic is like and what kinds of students take specific classes. Also, don't get too caught up in the stereotypes, often times they are just products of combative relationships such as Fletcher and Jacob's. And don't hesitate to cut yourself some slack and opt for easier classes where they fit in your schedule. I think that IB vs. AP is just one piece to the puzzle that makes Country Day so unique. Check out Jacob’s article on breaking IB stereotypes for more information! 

Opinion Editorial: Snapchat's Discover Page

By: Sammy F. ('18)

Swipe left. News at your fingertips—literally.

Snapchat’s Discover provides an opportunity to be caught up on Cosmo’s how to “Be The Girl Every Guy is Obsessed With”; to be intellectually stimulated by The Countdown’s question “Did Lil Pump Take the Throne?”; to read MTV’s exposé on how “Zendaya’s Fave Food Will Have You Like, ‘ME AF.’”

These are only three articles I spotted on my Discover page the other morning. The section is saturated with sexist articles, celebrity news and arbitrary information. While this type of information can inspire our outfit for the day or fill time waiting for an Uber, it doesn’t provide subsistence.

Scroll down and The Washington Post and The New York Times appear. Not all of Discover is Hollywood’s playground; however, news is buried beneath the stars. Snapchat hasn’t capitalized on its position to create a centralized location to receive accurate, influential news.

During an era with growing dissent in our politics, the dissemination of honest information, especially to younger generations, is crucial. Imagine the ability to have digestible, reliable news about international and national politics, economic policies, or social movements, right there after you send your morning mass snap. This would change the conversations had on the CCDS campus and in communities across the nation. We, as the youth of America, would be updated, knowledgeable, and ready to express educated opinions—all by our favorite app. The conversations that once revolved around Kim K’s curves or the answer to why men love relationships around the holidays will be discussions of current events.

Snapchat’s popularity, as a platform with 71% of its users under the age of 34, could be used make this type of news accessible. Rather than turning to Tweets, we would just have to swipe left.

Opinion Editorial:

The Best of John Green's Books

By: Mimi L. ('19)

1. The Fault in Our Stars

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”

Of course, I had to start with the most tear-jerking, soul-crushing of all of John Green’s books. (If you don’t know the premise of the story, then you have bigger problems, my friend). This book taught me, as many of Green’s books have, what it means to make the best of life in the worst situations. If you haven’t read it (and, therefore, bawled your eyes out), get crackin’.

2. Turtles All the Way Down

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person, and why.”

When Aza, an anxiety ridden high school girl, learns that her childhood best friend’s millionaire father has gone missing, she is forced to set her own misery aside in order to help solve the mystery—and, hopefully, collect the reward money that comes along with a case closed. What she finds, though, is something far greater than the life she led before. Green’s long-awaited 2017 novel is everything that I hoped it would be: a story about loss, first love, forgiveness, and what it’s like to grow up in a world where a million and one things are demanded of you.

3. Looking for Alaska

“Thomas Edison’s last words were: ‘It’s very beautiful over here.’ I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”

What do an abundance of cigarettes, barren halls with large, daunting bathrooms, and great loves all have in common? You guessed it! Boarding school. Looking For Alaska shows what it means to find your first love in a place where everything feels like the end of the world—and how everyone, from a person obsessed with famous last words to an eccentric girl living in the “Great Perhaps,” grapples with that differently.

4. Papertowns

“And there are a thousand ways to look at it: maybe the strings break, or maybe our ships sink, or maybe we’re grass—our roots so interdependent that no one is dead as long as someone is still alive. We don’t suffer from a shortage of metaphors, is what I mean. But you have to be careful which metaphors you choose, because it matters.”

Fish guts. Spray paint. Nair. Two neighbors—a boy and girl. One goes missing, the other goes searching. ‘Nuff said.

5. An Abundance of Katherines

“The future will erase everything—there’s no level of fame or genius that allows you to transcend oblivion. The infinite future makes that kind of mattering impossible. But there’s another way. There are stories.”

Math-genius Colin has had 19 ex-girlfriends with the name Katherine—and, due to his great misfortune in the area of dating, is obsessed with the concept of finding the perfect mathematical formula to predict the success of said relationships. Definitely a book for the wandering soul.

6. Let it Snow

This mélange of stories, by various authors in addition to Green, includes tales about love around the holidays. It’s a good, quick read to be enjoyed over a cup of hot cocoa by a crackling fire with Frank Sinatra playing in the background.

7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson

“Because I have spent my entire life falling… it’s the worst feeling in the world because you feel you have no control over it. Because you know how it ends. I don’t want to fall. All I want to do is stand on solid ground.”

This one has the premise of two boys who couldn’t be more different but who share one enigmatic similarity: their name, Will Grayson (aptly named, huh?). Set in Chicago, it’s a coming of age tale that reminded me to be careful about how I treat people and just how large of a role fate plays in my life.

As I leave this article, I think about the quote that I included for Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. These books remind me of what being in high school, and on the edge of so much possibility, is all about. We can’t avoid the inevitable—we are living and we are dying, and what we do in between that time may be lost in oblivion. But “there are stories;” essentially, there is something (or many things) important to be done while we are here. And that’s why you have to read John Green’s books—to remind yourself of all the possibility that there is, and the stories that we can tell along the way. 

Opinion Editorial: Reinventing School Spirit

By: Lucy E. ('19)

School spirit is not lacking on this campus. We see it in every Spirit Week and in the grade themes at football games. Things students are able to rally behind create a larger sense of pride that encompasses the whole campus and gets everyone involved. However, I do feel like school spirit is lacking in particular areas that have less representation on campus. I believe this is a culture thing, where expectations to attend and support certain sports are much higher than the expectation to support the smaller ones. Certain aspects of the school push these expectations on the student body, which leads to a student pressure to act the “expected” way (think the difference in facial expression when telling a football player you can't go to their game vs a girls tennis player).

Dress down and school pride days have migrated towards celebrating all sports, but it's not hard to miss the fact that they usually only come the first 10 Fridays of the year. A lot of small things that not many people notice happen that project more focus onto some sports more so than others. I’m sure we all look forward to the day where the Boosters club brings donuts during lunch to celebrate the in-season athletes and recognize the sports. Last year, that day fell on the day where the entire swim team was racing to defend their conference championship title. Obviously, I find myself partial to the struggles the swim team faces when it comes to lack of recognition or managing to bring even one fan to a meet, but for many of the smaller sports it seems as though the expectations for attendance and support change.

How do we change this? How do we rally school spirit behind sports no one roots for? During an exciting conversation with Mr. McNish and SC C. (’19) we came up with some answers. We've got a few ideas: the best we have is starting what we want to call BucsFever. The goal of this would be to have a group of students dedicated to advertising all sporting events for all teams. We want to have special games as official BucsFever games where students can earn rewards for going to a certain number of these specific games. We want students to be passionate about sports that aren't their own, because it's your classmates on the court or the field. We also want to make hype videos for all the sports teams, and make better use of the Bucs Athletics social media sites.

So, I implore you, get out and support the Bucs. Support the teams that don’t get dress down days or any fans other than their parents. No sport is more important that another, it's just not. We all work hard and play passionately when we do. Imagine a full student section at a girls softball game or track meet. I think increased school spirit would not only make players more excited at their games, but create a sense of school pride. So get up! Get excited! Show up for all the Bucs, and support each other with the same enthusiasm you’d expect. 

Winter Coffeehouse

By: Katie F. ('19)

A lot of my friends didn’t attend the winter coffeehouse a couple weeks ago because they claimed they had “too much work.” Here’s why I think they could have afforded losing a couple hours of homework time. Coffeehouses at Country Day give students a rare opportunity to do something at school, but not for school. No grades, no sports credits. Which is awesome, because all the people in attendance are either there to share their talents or there to support their peers.

 It also is a chance for our teachers to see a little more of who their students are besides how they do in class. That’s huge!

Here are some of the performances that made the night interesting:

  • Gus Benson started off the night with a svelte loop cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine."

  • As always, Mr. Stukes read a poem… This year, it was about laundry.

  • Tarun Prakash performed an unparalleled comedy routine about CCDS.

  • Alana Markel did a resonate, stripped-down cover of “Landslide."

So, even though I may have had to stay up a little later than usual that night, it was absolutely worth it. 

The Elephant in the Room: IB Stereotypes

By: Jacob B. ('19)

Dear Upper School Students and Teachers,


You’ve just read the title “The Elephant in the Room: IB Stereotypes,” and I know what you are thinking: another IB student taking yet another opportunity to talk about IB. In some ways, you are correct, as I am an IB student and will be talking about IB. I am writing this letter to try and disprove five common stereotypes around Country Day IB students. IB is a smaller community inside of our larger one. This, in itself, has its benefits. That being said, there are some negative stereotypes which I hope to open a dialogue around. Before you scroll down or close this page, give me a chance - I feel that rather than AP, College prep, and IB students being competitive, we can all work together to strengthen each of our individual programs. These are some of the stereotypes I had heard about IB when I was registering for my Junior year courses and throughout first semester.


1. “IB students don’t take tests and quizzes, they only write papers.”

Whoever told you that you never have a test in an IB class is 100% incorrect. It is true that some classes such as English and History do not have multiple choice, but we still take quizzes and tests (even if they require more essays or extended response). Often, we substitute the word “points” for the word “marks” and none of us can tell you why. We can tell you, however, that we as Country Day students did not make the decision so therefore we should not reap the consequences of it.


2. “The GPA boost is SO unfair.”

Theory of Knowledge is a real and interesting class that is not even remotely similar to any other class offered on campus. So many people have come up to me and congratulated me for getting a 1.0 GPA point boost for talking about my feelings. First of all, Theory of Knowledge is neither the time nor the place to talk about your feelings. The goal of the class is to answer the question “how do you know?” Still don’t believe me? Stop by during A or D block to experience it for yourself. In fact, we DO have real grades in ToK: every other week we write a two-page paper where we ask a knowledge question and have to answer it using only personal knowledge (not going to explain that here). And Waples does not grade these lightly- ask anyone.


3. “IB is a cult.”

False. IB students do have a lot in common, because we take the same classes. We spend time out of class studying, talking, or working on group work together (which we do a lot of). But we only occasionally make a sacrifice – and it usually only a small quiz grade. We hang out together all day because we have most classes together, but we enjoy eating lunch and spending time with other people.


4. “The IB lounge is so “extra.”

One could argue that this is true, but we do not hang out in the IB lounge to be pretentious. I am confident that IB students do not feel superior to AP students, and I am sorry on behalf of all of us if it comes off that way. In fact, the IB lounge has a mini library of resources, such as practice books that we use to help us in our classes. If you propose a valid reason, I’m confident that they would be willing to work with students who want an AP lounge. Yes, we have a lounge, but there is no reason that a college prep or AP student couldn’t come and get work done or print something to the IB lounge.


5. “IB is only for girls.”

This is not true. IB is generally girl heavy but that doesn’t mean that guys can’t be successful in the program. The current Junior class of 24 has 6 guys, and we are all doing great.


These are just some of the many stereotypes about IB, and I am confident there are plenty about AP as well (read Mimi Lamarre’s article recounting a conversation we had a few weeks ago). I encourage the underclassmen reading this to ask questions to all types of students and do solid research before making a decision. Ask some upperclassmen about the experiences they have had, not about the experiences they did not have (for example, I would not be a good person to ask about APUSH). If you have any questions please reach out.




Jacob Baumstein

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