A Conversation with Minerva Student Sho

Meet Sho, a student in the Class of 2021 | Dec, 1, 2017

Quick Facts

Sho Hihara

Yokohama, Japan



Why did you originally decide to pursue the IB Diploma. What courses were most valuable/memorable?

To be honest, I didn’t know much about the IB programme when I decided to go to Pearson College. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long before I realized that the IB had opened the door to lots of choices and opportunities for me, a student who grew up in a uniform Japanese education system.

The beauty of the IB is that students have the privilege to pick their own subjects to study. Although the IB values balanced studies and I couldn’t take all four sciences, I ended up enjoying most of the courses I took, and each has a strong place in my heart. Not only the courses, but even more valuable were my precious teachers.

I took Marine Science with a curious, adventurous teacher, who took us on countless unforgettable explorations; Economics from a passionate educator, who not only taught but learned alongside us students; Mathematics from a teacher better described as a “philosopher,” who always reminded us to challenge the textbook; English from a walking human-dictionary, who invited to us to realize the depth, power, and beauty of words; and Physics from a madly playful intellect, who shot potatoes from canons and made ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

Tell us about how you found your current university degree path — was there a moment when you knew you wanted to pursue this career?

Today, I’m studying at Minerva, an innovative, global undergraduate program where all classes are interactive, discussion-based seminars capped at 19 people. At Minerva, we have Location Based Assignments (we students live and learn around the world for four years) as opportunities for learning and growth. We can also combine our majors in unique ways to make them our own.

As an IB graduate, coming to Minerva was a natural choice for me. After going through IAs and EEs, I wanted an education that gave me the opportunity and freedom to explore topics that I personally care about. After my IB teachers taught me not just the “formulas,” but the true joy of exploration and discovery, I was looking for a university program where I could keep discovering something new every day. Furthermore, after realizing the beauty of diversity while at UWC, I couldn’t imagine going back to a homogenous student body. Minerva offered all I was looking for in an undergraduate program. The choice seemed obvious to me.

What advice do you have for current IB students? Related to either their studies and/or to considering a degree like yours?

The IB allows for a large degree of freedom in your learning experiences. You can choose the subjects you study and the topics you explore. Take advantage of that. Do what your heart tells you to do. Don’t be too caught up on superficial things like grades, because you, not some numbers on a paper, know best when you’ve learned something meaningful. Plus, it’s just more fun that way. Use the IB, don’t let it use you. What is school if we’re not having fun?

If you were inspired by Sho’s story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.