Essay topics are hard to come by
Jared Lang | Highlands TodayAs a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme, there are certain tasks that must be completed before I can receive my IB diploma. First, I must perform well in each class, as well as in several internal and external assessments including tests, presentations and science labs. I also must finish a specified number of community service hours, physical activity hours and creative action hours. Lastly, I must write an extended essay.
Published: January 23, 2013
Published: January 23, 2013
Somewhat like a college thesis, the extended essay is a 4,000-word essay, written on any topic that the student chooses. This topic must be selected from a core subject but is chosen by students based on what interests them and what they feel knowledgeable about.
Writing the EE is a process that begins during junior year and ends senior year. It includes many drafts, many conferences with advisors and many hours of research. This paper is obviously a huge burden on IB students; at the same time, however, it is an opportunity for students to explore an area of knowledge that they are excited about.
For the past two years, I have been stressing my EE. Four thousand words is a daunting task, as the most I've ever written is 1,800. My biggest fear has been that if I cannot decide on a worthy topic, I will be stuck writing about something boring. This would not only make the process drag on forever, but would also result in a poorly written paper.
When thinking of what to write columns about, I usually think about my week and conversations I've had with people. I try to determine what topic I discussed most fervently with my friends, and usually the answer is a great idea for a column. Because my EE process is beginning to start, I have been assigned the task of deciding what major area my essay will be about.
To narrow down the long list of possible topics, I assessed the past year and concluded that I spent much of the year learning about and speaking about American politics.
No matter what the conversation is about, I find myself linking it to the history of American government. For example, during President Obama's second inauguration Monday, a quote of George Washington's was cited: "What is most important of this grand experiment, the United States? Not the election of the first president but the election of its second president. The peaceful transition of power is what will separate this country from every other country in the world."
I looked over at my dad and revealed that, though President Washington's sentiment was prophetic, it was actually the election of the third president, Thomas Jefferson, which peacefully transitioned the power because both George Washington and John Adams were federalists. The election of Jefferson — an Antifederalist — is sometimes known as the "Revolution of 1800."
Little tidbits of information like this one pop up into my conversation constantly, and I find that I speak more confidently when I talk about American history. Even as I typed the previous paragraph my hands flowed effortlessly from key to key. Because of my fascination with the history of American politics, I have decided to write my extended essay about that topic.
To my friends who are tired of hearing about the American Revolution, my sincerest apologies.