Education @ IMSA vs. Education @ Our Home Schools

Two people working with computer and book.

The pressure put on students here at IMSA to do well and to manage all their work with their extracurriculars and sleep schedules is a constant reminder of how easy school was back home. I remember those days when I was the best at everything when it came to academics, and I never had to work hard to get an A on my transcript a single day of my life. The contrast between those low-key lazy, zero-stress days at my home school and the continuous, strenuous, zero-sleep days here at IMSA is astounding when I reflect back on it, but it has also impacted my life in ways I would’ve never thought about before.

While my home school was, hands-down, 100 times easier than IMSA is, I’ve realized that I hardly learned anything there. My understanding of concepts was solely surface-level, and while it was enough to keep me on top, it was not enough to answer all of my questions. Coming to IMSA, while it may be a decision I think about with regret at times, was definitely something that enhanced my capabilities and overall understanding. The quality of education here at IMSA, as a result of it being based off of collaborative, thought-provoking approaches to learning, allows the student body to develop a more profound interest and knowledge base in all subjects, and keeps everyone asking “why?” rather than accepting and memorizing the facts we are given.

Daniel Shin, Class of ’17, says, “I remember lying in my bed with disappointment after not getting an A+ in one of my classes at the end of my freshman year. Needless to say, much has changed since that day and now. Although I struggle much more in every aspect at IMSA, I believe that IMSA is teaching me something that is more important than calculus. IMSA is teaching me to adapt and adjust to more and more challenging situations, and I think that is the most important lesson to learn in school. Although I miss being the best at everything, I think this was a necessary lesson for me to learn.”

IMSA, through its methods of teaching, shows us that we have to learn that our grades will reflect the work we do and the effort we put in, and that learning more and trying to understand concepts rather than memorizing them are more important than a letter grade on a piece of paper. In the end, the knowledge we take with us from IMSA will surpass that which we have learned in the past, and likewise the knowledge of our future peers as well.

Vadini Agrawal, Class of ’17, says, ‘My old school was pretty easy, and we didn’t have any thought-provoking discussions in class compared to our classes at IMSA. Here, we think more about underlying concepts and try to understand more, and I think that’s really important in making us better students and better learners rather than just kids trying to get good grades.”

Similarly, Gina Jiang, class of ’17, says, “IMSA is a much better environment for us, as students. The content is more challenging and actually makes us think, and it’s also often hands-on and collaborative. This style of learning is more effective as it allows us to see how other students approach their learning, and motivates us to try new ways of learning that may help us even more. Also, the teachers here are so much more willing to talk to me outside of class and help me fortify my understanding, which is important because you can’t find that kind of support anywhere else.”

Overall, I agree with all three of these points and truly believe that the education system here at IMSA, while more complex, is so much more beneficial to the student body than any other school could be. Granted, the stress levels and the lack of sleep are no motivation to continue to work hard, but we all understand that the profound level of comprehension we gain from the style of teaching here is more beneficial to us in the long run, and completely worth the long nights and tiresome days.


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