Comedian, concert master, art column editor and scholar are just some of Andrew H.'s personas. Having obtained a perfect 45 IB score and recently admitted to Columbia University in New York, Andrew is sharing his journey so far with us here today.
The IB is not a Solo Journey
Looking back on his IB journey at Dulwich, Andrew highlights leveraging all the resources he could access at school. As many will know, the IBDP is not easy. The demanding curriculum requires juggling six subjects across disciplines, completing coursework and exams for each alongside the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge class and CAS (Community, Action & Service) requirements. Undertaking this academic path is a challenge, and Andrew, no different from his peers, felt the pressure. However, with the support of his friends and the Dulwich Network, he was able to meet challenges head on and reach the goals he set for himself.
Andrew spoke about it feeling that Dulwich was not only a school and a community but also a big family. "In IB's most hectic moments, Dulwich has really helped me find a sense of order and relief. I have a wonderful circle of friends (you know who you are!) who guided me through bouts of self-doubt and teachers who encouraged me every step. I must also thank our year group's IB team! In retrospect, they did much to lighten our workload by spreading IA/exam deadlines between the two years so that we weren't too overwhelmed, while sending out positive thoughts and hosting self-care talks, of which I am appreciative. I couldn't have survived the juggernaut that is the IB program without the support of my friends, teachers, and mentors alike!"
Sharing his moments of uncertainty, he says, "In those moments, I found that it's important to have a supportive network of friends and family lifting you up, as well as adopting a glass-half-full mentality – sometimes, repeating the occasional 'I can do this or I will pull through' to yourself, or even ostentatiously power posing in your study room, can work wonders for your mind, body, and spirit."
The IB program and Dulwich taught him what it's like to be a daring, independent researcher. He explained: "Many of our internal assessments involved close personal engagement as we had free reign to choose whatever we wanted to write about. The IB program was also a test of mental character – and I think I've grown in this aspect as well, becoming more resilient as a result. While before, I used to skirt around obstacles to escape failure, now I tackle them head-on. I'm honestly proud that I'm not afraid to take on more healthy risks now."
Exploring Artistic Passions
Aside from academic pursuits, Andrew has explored other passions, particularly in the arts. He starred in a comedy short created with friends while continuing his extracurricular responsibilities as concertmaster for symphony orchestras and arts column editor at UNIT-E.
"Being closely in touch with the creative process and my artsy side not only gave me a much-needed distraction from the trials and tribulations of the IB but also played an integral spiritual role in strengthening my drive and a sense of purpose," Andrew said.
As for advice to students just beginning their IB journey, he suggested the practical tip of downloading and carefully reading the IBO’s subject syllabus guides to assessment criteria in order to guide their writing in coursework and exams. But more generally he stressed, "choose subjects that you're genuinely passionate about instead of those that you're just taking for the sake of impressing college admission officers. I feel that it's better to have a slew of subjects that closely align with your interests and energize you to work harder than ones that you find incredibly mundane or pointless and that make you lose your drive."
The excitement to start university is clear in his voice as he shares his final thoughts before departing.
"I'll be attending Columbia to study English while exploring side interests like economics or film. Dulwich has given me a wealth of experiences and perspectives that I will treasure and bring to the next chapter of my life. Although the future is a constant unknown, I'm excited about the possibilities that I will uncover!"
We are so proud of Andrew’s intrepid spirit, passion and commitment and wish him the very best of luck in his future!
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