Daria Lysyakova was one of the two valedictorians of the graduating class of 2016, and has been an active member of the ISP community most of her life. We met with Daria earlier this summer to talk about her experience at ISP, as well as her plans for the future.
With her 12 years at ISP, Daria knows the school like the back of her hand, and recognizes the benefits of the IB programmes. "Course elements like Personal Project at the end of Grade 10 and Extended Essay of the IB Diploma teach us how to apply our learning and become independent students. I find that the interdisciplinary approach gives us better understanding of the real world problems, and teaches us how to discuss subjects from multiple angles. For instance, current topics such as climate change were viewed from several different perspectives in my classes, involving geography, politics, biology and economics. This gives us, as students, a much more complete picture of the world, and helps us become accustomed to applying our knowledge in different situations and areas."
In addition to the academic and cognitive skills that she has acquired at ISP, Daria says that the school has given her a specific international mentality. Daria was a member of the student council throughout her Secondary School years, and was the president of the council during her Grade 11 year. "I like interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and know already now that I will be living in many different countries in the future. I've spent 12 years in France, but I still feel more Russian than French. Then again, I don't feel entirely Russian when I'm there! I have been exposed to many different cultures at ISP, and I'm looking forward to exploring them in more depth during my university years."
Daria's immediate plans include studying law, possibly in England. "My favourite subjects in school were history and geography, and I've been actively involved with the Model United Nations (MUN) since Grade 6. I've loved attending conferences, through which I have gained confidence for public speaking", Daria says. "During my first MUN years, I was extremely shy and nervous of stating my opinion even in internal meetings, but today I truly enjoy speaking in front of an audience." Indeed, the way Daria delivered her speech at the graduation showed that she was not only at ease with the situation, but also has the ability to deliver her message in a clear and convincing manner.
"I started thinking about studying law through my interest in social sciences, and through the MUN experiences. I read books, researched and was even able to gain some work experience within the area, and all this solidified my choice to apply to Oxford and King's College to study law. The choice of universities made the second year of the Diploma course quite hard, as the application process took place at the same time as the summer and fall projects that we had to do for the Diploma. However, my work was rewarded, as on January 6 – the day of Russian Christmas – I received an email with good news. It took me two weeks to realize that I had indeed received an offer from Oxford!"
At the time of the interview, Daria's results had not yet come in, so it was not clear whether she would actually start in Oxford, King's College, or some other university in the fall. "I feel that my exams went well, so I'm hopeful. But whatever happens, I'm sure I will find my place" she said then.
When asked whether she has any advice for students who will be starting their diploma course in the fall, Daria had her answer ready: "Finish your Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) projects in Grade 11 if at all possible. You should also choose your subjects wisely, and take ones that you are truly interested in. It can also pay off to take two similar courses that can complement one another. Finally, organization is the key to success!"
Students embarking on the IB Diploma courses might want to take Daria's advice, as the results that she received on July 6, 2016 give her access to Oxford this coming fall.
To read more about ISP's successful IB results, please visit www.isparis.edu/results2016
Congratulations, Daria, and the whole Class of 2016!