Ah, literature. A beautiful composition of words bunched together to stimulate and perhaps inspire minds. But what are essays? Essays reflect a reader’s opinion or view on that piece of literature if they so choose to write on it. In fact there are many types of essays. The one I’m specifically referring to is the IB‘s Extended Essay! This essay that IB requires full IB students(perhaps even students who wanted to do the Extended Essay if they were not full IB) to do is what the student so chooses to write about. Be it something involving mathematics, language arts, social studies, biology, psychology, chemistry, art, or even music. As long as if it’s a subject that the school offers, you may choose that topic. This article and future articles regarding the Extended Essay will be from my own personal experience to give future Extended Essay writers insight, to what doing this essay is like as well as advice.
The extended essay can be on just about anything you want! An example I can give you is while wandering around through the internet, I came upon this forum there was an extended essay about the game Assassin’s Creed and how accurate was it to the real Italy during that era. When I read this, I just thought about how much fun they must have had “working” on their extended essay by “researching” on Assassin’s Creed.
We had our in-school field trip on September 26, 2013. My suggestion is if students don’t want to stress about the first day, get ahead. What I mean by this is when Ms. Usher hands you that purple duo-tang with those grandiose words(Your Name-Extended Essay), you start with awareness of your surroundings. Retrieve topic ideas from a newspaper, television, a senior home or even Facebook. That’s right, Facebook. If you are like me, and only go on Facebook for those funny pictures from See-More or heart-warming videos from wimp.com, there will definitely be something there for you. For example, I was scrolling through pictures one day and found this interesting picture about anechoic chambers, where these rooms absorb all outside sound. A sort of sensory deprivation. However in this chamber the noise is absorbed so well that people can hear their internal organs working such as breathing, blood running through veins and a ominous beating of the heart. So my topic thus far deals with a therapeutic sensory deprivation under psychology.
Back to topic: After you find your topic, bombard your supervisor with visits asking questions, getting advice and discussing your topic, how to find primary sources, just to make it a little more focused. You will get a more specific topic when you go to the library and search for books.
Now in the summer you can be a little lazy about this: Head on to the Rutherford library AND….do nothing in particular. Except look for books, articles on your vague topic. It doesn’t have to be concrete information, just general information is fine. The first time I visited the Rutherford library was rather confusing. They have two libraries: Rutherford North and Rutherford South. DO NOT go to Rutherford South. There is nothing for you there unless it’s a really hot summer and you wish to “accidentally” wander into a secret library with just the most majestic air conditioning there can be on a 30+ degrees day. To summarize all this, get familiar with the library, the first visit was rather confusing for me. If you need help, just ask the front desk in Rutherford North because they are very friendly and very helpful.
For people doing their extended essay on psychology, everyone is provided an account with Questia, a very large online library. Yes, they have a lot of sources. No, it is not helpful for psychology in my personal experience. There was absolutely nothing on sensory deprivation tanks; doing some general research just from a google search, or from an actual library before the in-school field trip is a good idea.
If you have taken some of the advice in this article, during your first extended essay field trip, be ready to be called a try-hard(though you didn’t actually do anything in particular).
This article will be updated periodically so keep an eye out for new experiences and information!
- The International Baccalaureate: Notes From The Trenches, Part 1 (melissadaltonbradford.wordpress.com)