School Quotes – United States of America

IB: The few, the proud, the sleep-deprived.

I think, therefore IB.

Heidi is currently a student in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, an internationally recognized curriculum that encompasses many areas of study, in addition to encouraging students to become involved in extracurricular activities and complete a capstone project. Heidi and her friends often make jokes and comments about IB, and the two above statements are examples of these. Exclusive phrases like these help to distinguish IB from non-IB students; IB students feel like non-IB students can’t really relate to what they’re going through with the Program. At Heidi’s high school, the curriculum is vastly different between the IB and standard high school requirements. As the program was created in 1968, neither of the comments existed prior to this time (terminus post quem 1968)

The first statement is a play on the United States Marines slogan: “The Few, the Proud, the Marines.” In relation to IB, the “Marines” is substituted with the “sleep-deprived.” IB students typically do not get a bountiful 10 hours of sleep per night—when I went through the program, I usually got 3-4 hours of sleep every weeknight. Certainly there were IB students who managed to get far more sleep than me, but some of us were able to dub ourselves “The 3AM Crew.” For the word “proud,” IB students are definitely proud of themselves and their achievements, nearly reaching the level of hubris. One of the downfalls of some IB students is their conceited nature, thinking that because they are IB students, they should have special treatment. As an IB alumni, I do agree with them: the IB students do deserve special treatment because of the huge quantity of work and time they must put in to their studies and extracurricular activities. As for “few,” the IB students were definitely a minority. In my graduating class of about 360 students, just short of 30 people were taking a full IB course load. The phrase asserting that IB students are “the few, the proud, the sleep-deprived,” is actually a very apt description of that particular group.

The second statement is a play on the famous quote “I think, therefore I am,” by René Descartes. One of the required courses for the IB program is Theory of Knowledge, in which students learn about various philosophers and different modes of thinking. It is a discussion-based class where students talk about current issues and abstract concepts. Often, the teacher tries to bring in relevant quotes from different figures in philosophy, in order for the students to learn about what other people thought about the process of thinking. My guess is that the phrase “I think, therefore IB” arose as a result of a teacher bringing in this quote from Descartes. For people merely hearing the phrase, it sounds as though the person is saying “I think, therefore I be,” clearly a grammatical error. However, when written as “IB,” it becomes a clever comment used to distinguish IB students from the “non-thinking,” non-IB students. It appears that this phrase is a good example of the hubris sometimes exhibited by IB students, even appearing on t-shirts.

Generally, these two phrases are not used when in the presence of people unfamiliar with the IB program. Sometimes they will be used in conversation with students who participate in the Advanced Placement curriculum. Between Heidi’s high school and its rival high school, there is an ongoing dispute about whether AP is better than IB or vice versa. Often, these sorts of phrases will be used in the arguments, as clever justifications for why IB might be better than AP.