Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there’ll be nobody home. (A sob rises in her throat.) We’re free and clear. (Sobbing more fully, released.) We’re free. (Biff comes slowly toward her.) We’re free… We’re free…
Is this the beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning? For the past 11 years of our lives, everything has been centered around this massive learning operation of books, tests, lectures and activities. And with a final pen stroke, it is done. The last tests have been sealed away in plain brown boxes, destined to travel the world in search of a grader who holds our dreams and fears in their hands.
Years of tears have gotten us this far, but I’ve shared more bodily fluids with this program than just that; the IB has taken my sticky sweat and the red-hot blood coursing though my veins. Each night of stress and every lost hour of sleep has added up to be my contribution to conquer this programme (spelled properly with two m’s and an e), but when one puts as much effort into a single operation as we have done, there is no doubt that we are left changed. There is a quickness in my blood born of challenges and endless paper 1, 2 and 3 essays, a patience in my heart born of writing and revising and writing and revising and writing and revising lab experiments (until you wonder who really is the experimenter and who’s the test subject here, eh?) and most importantly, a love in my soul for everyone that have struggled together to get to this point.
For although IB, so notorious in its academic rigor, has seemed at times to be the bane of everything good in the world, it has brought together the “best of minds of my generation” that will NOT be “destroyed by madness.” We learned to trust each other in our darkest times, searching through the small hours of the night to find classmates to talk to, the only ones that know our struggle. Crying through our smiles and laughing trough our tears, we few, we happy few; we band of students have been on the most extraordinary journey to learn about our own place in the sun. In our agony of procrastination we despaired of ever reaching the end, but look at who we are now, at how far we’ve come. Look at what we have gained, of what we have built, at what we have done. Look and see the real bonds of joy we have created between us, stronger than the strong force and more real than product of a complex number and it’s conjugate. Decades from now, when the last echoes of how to OPVL and the words “to what extent” no longer ring in my mind, this friendship will always be with me, as I hope it will always be with you.
But even as our journey comes to a halt, our mentors are still trudging forwards. Oh teachers, who have seen classes come and go, thank you for your persistence! For pushing us out of our comfort zones and into the world, for making us learn and read and think and NEVER cheat (well maybe that was the role of turnitin.com), you have molded us into who we are. We owe any and all successes to you.
And so, we have come to mourn the passing of Willy Loman, of the dictators Hitler Stalin and Pinochet, of two source interference, of works in translation and working IN translation, of differentiation, of late nights and of the #struggle of IB, not with sorrow but in glee. We look towards the new day, the break of dawn, to search for the next adventure. And in the infamous words of “Stay in school, kids,” we turn past the closing of the first chapter of our lives to a brand new page where we set forth into a brave new world.