Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a long overdue review

To give you a little background on my surroundings at this moment (just for fun) this is what's happening: Inigo (and probably Peter and Luke as well) are watching Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa (it's animated); Titty is making bread - I can hear the Electrolux going; Mama is doing the something in the kitchen that involves chopping; Leia is getting the mail; Z95.1 (the radio) is playing somewhere in the house - I can faintly hear "Silver Bells" from upstairs; Marie is darting around doing who-knows-what and I am typing on the computer, wondering why I decided to write this little paragraph about nothing. :D Oh, and Zuzu is sound asleep, bless her heart! Dad's in his office - 100 yds from the house.

Now for the real point of this post:

My first semester at our local community college ended last week with our final written exam. I was so tired and so ready not to think about Spanish again, that I put off writing this post until today. But, now that I am feeling ready for anything (I always feel this way after group class - which happened to be yesterday) and am looking forward with anticipation for next semester, I decided that it was time to write this "mid-term report" on my experiences at college.

To start, I would not have been ready to take this class at this time two years ago. Or even one year ago. My parents were wise not even suggest going to community college to me until this year. Because...

Confession #1: I'm really young.

Yes, that's a bit of a silly confession, but I needed to type that out and see it in print. No matter what grade I'm in, no matter where I'm taking my classes, no matter what scores I get, I'm still sixteen years old. Sixteen. You can count my age on three hands plus one finger. But my parents trusted me completely and felt that I had the mental and spiritual maturity and strength to handle outside influence.

Confession #2: I don't mind being different.

I didn't used to be this way, but this attitude certainly came in handy in class! Like the day our teacher asked, "So, now that we have learned all the numbers from 1 to 1000, let's go around and you tell me the year you were born....in espanol."

I thought, "Alrighty. So far, I've managed to stay sound pretty normal, but here's where it's going to come out."

He went around the room, calling on random people. I knew he'd call on me, since I was a pretty willing volunteer. I listened....1984...1990 (not so bad).....1991 (close!)....1982.....1985...and then.....

"Jo! In what year were you born?"

Here it goes, I thought.

"un mil...novecientos...noventa y cuatro."

Dead silence.

Then some smart-aleck says "muy joven." Haha.

After that, I was considered some kind of "wiz" student because I was so young and in this college course. People just assumed that I was doing really well - and it didn't help that my real last name is recognizably Hispanic.

Also, for the first time I observed that girls and ladies who dress modestly are treated differently than those who don't. I've heard testimonies of girls who don't normally wear skirts participating in the Feminine Challenge and seeing huge changes in the way they are treated by others. Being part of a community that values modesty, I'd never experienced that until starting at the CC. 

Confession #3: It was fun!


Turns out, one of the girls in my class is my same age (well, three months and two weeks older - but that's close enough!) and the two of us became study partners. (She's a homeschooled, conservative Christian as well) But....she never told anyone how young she was, so I continued being the "baby" for most of the semester, until one day when our teacher was asking if anyone else was sixteen, I said "{name} is!" She loved me for that, I'm sure :P

Now onto the scholarly side:

I learned a lot during the semester. If y'all want me to, I can write a blog post in Spanish sometime! Queen Lu shouldn't have a problem understanding it, and then she could comment in Spanish! That'd be pretty cool :D I'll throw in some double object pronouns and preterite/imperfect tense verbs all in one sentence for fun :P (If I can even write a sentence like that - it'd take me a while, after all, I did take 101)

There were some really hard days. It wasn't all fun. A couple classes I was tired and sick (I never did miss one, though) and few classes some of my classmates were in difficult moods. Even my teacher didn't have 100% great days all the time. Hey, this is life. I also had to study more than I've ever had, and this helped me to begin gaining control in an area that I do not excel in, which brings me to confession number four:

Confession #4: I get distracted *really* easily.

Once I get started, I can stay focused. But it was hard to "get in the groove" sometimes and I would just put it off. One week, I finished my homework in the car on the way to class. Not so good. But then again, there was many a night (mostly the weeks when we had tests or quizzes) where I'd be up until 10:30 at night studying and get up at 5:15 or 5:30am to study some more. Some concepts were easy, others were hard. I'm still in high school trying to learn ENGLISH grammar! How in the world am I supposed to learn SPANISH grammar?!?!??! I'll be a better Spanish speaker than I am an English speaker someday :D No Southern accent problems in Spanish - "y'all" has no equivalent. 

Now onto the social side:

Confession #5: I liked my fellow students.

You may be wondering why this is a confession. Of course I'd like my classmates! But you have to understand that I came into the class not expecting or really even wanting to like the other students. I knew that there would probably be no one who's family was even remotely like to mine, no one who dressed like me, or believed the way I did. I was absolutely right. There was really no one who thought *just* like us - but then, who does? My horizons broadened. I met young people from all walks of life, ...and was more thankful than ever that my parents are the ones raising me :D But I did meet some really nice "good" people who made class fun. And, there were two homeschoolers in my class! I wasn't really alone! About halfway through the semester, when I realized that the folks in my class didn't mind how young I was and that they actually *liked* talking to me in the hallway before class, I began to enjoy the social side of the community college. Age didn't matter, we were all students, all struggling through the same class, most of us with great sense of humor. So it was with a little twinge of sorrow that I learned that none of the girls that I'd come to know really well are going to be in my class next semester. I get to strike out on ground zero all over again....except for my teacher.

Confession #6: I don't mind being different.

Yes, I am aware that this is the same confession as number two, but it applies here as well so I copied it again. :D

From the very first day of class - the very first day! - I was aware of the fact that my teacher is a very liberal Democrat. He's from Colombia (South America), moved to the States while in high school and learned English. As a result, he has a great accent. But somehow, he jumped on board with the Democratic platform and it made for a very interesting semester....since I'm a very Conservative Republican. (I'm just saying that for the sake of a complete contrast, but I'd rather drop the Republican part and just say I'm a Conservative.)

On that very first day, our teacher passed out an 8 by 11 piece of paper to each person in the class. Each piece of paper had a photograph of a famous person printed on it. I didn't even know the name of the person on my piece of paper....when I did learn, I decided to pass on describing her (in Spanish) to the class. One student had George W. Bush. She described him as "anitpatico, cruel, horrible y terrible" and the class agreed!!! The person describing Clinton made him [Clinton] sound like some really great guy...and the person who described Obama was even worse. I just sat there, wondering if I should say anything. Remember, this is the first day of class!

The next class day, we went around saying who or what we did and did not like. I volunteered after a few minutes and after listing a few things that I did like, I wrapped up saying "y no me gusta Obama."

My teacher chuckled, and my reputation in class was solidified. Dad said that it was probably good that I said that, it may have kept any liberals in my class from making rude jokes later in the year. Maybe. All I do know is that I did not hear any rude comments from anyone about any aspect of my life during the whole semester. *Praise God!*

My teacher is very funny. His sense of humor is much like my dad's. He acted out dialogues with himself, demonstrated the prepositions ("encima de escritorio" :D) and I felt right at home...except that he is an atheist and a liberal. He grew up Catholic, so he has a Biblical background and sometimes "forgets" that he's supposed to be an atheist :D It cracked me up that every time he would "accidentally" mention God, he would immediately justify it. Example:
One afternoon, during a rather difficult day, he said in a very calm and thoughtful tone, "I think God must give us teachers an extra measure of patience to keep us going...."

I poked my friend and whispered "Listen, listen, here it comes..."

"...if there is a God, of course."

Knew it. :D *chuckle*

So, now for my conclusion:

My first semester at the community college was a success, in my point of view. I learned so much about life, other people, how to stand strong for my faith, I broadened my horizons AND I learned how to speak some Spanish in the bargain! Very satisfactory.

I know that most of y'all are wrapping up school for Christmas break as well. What new life lessons and experiences have you learned/gathered this semester (whether at home or at school)? How has your faith been strengthened?

Please share with me! I love reading testimonies...they're so encouraging.

Hasta luego!!!


  1. Haha! Me gusta la "Blog post?" mucho. Yo estudiando español también, es muy divertiste, verdad?

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun with your class, I know I had the same problems when I had join my High School Spanish class when I was 12. It was hard at first, I was not use to being in a class, (Homeschooler). Lucky, My teacher is a Christian and a Conservative (We have had some fun moments talking about politics) and I was taking my spanish class with other homeschoolers and some of my really close friends. But after also 3 years of Spanish I have gotten over my little problems. I hope you have fun with the rest of Spanish! Adios, Amiga!


    P.S. You should really try to write a post in Spanish that could be really fun to read!

  2. You represent homeschoolers in general at your CC, and I LOVE the way you do so. Smart while still young; modest and beautiful; republican, pro-life, CHRISTIAN; somewhat weird and different from the others (that's who we are! I'm glad you don't care about being different! Being different is just fine and sometimes totally awesome...I'm proud of my differentness).

    (Oh, and if you do decide to do a post in spanish, I'll just copy and paste it into Microsoft Word and use the translator there...)

    See you at that CC next year, Jo...

  3. I echo Gab...........see you next year at CC (hopefully!)

  4. And I echo both Gab and Leia (copycat, I know...but it's true!):D Sadly, I won't see you at CC ... four hours is long hike for a community college when I have a great one 15 min. away:)

    Glad to hear your written final went well! My Spanish is limited pretty much to "Feliz Navidad" so I have no idea what you're saying (except for the sentence about Obama...I could make a pretty good guess on that:) but good for you writing whole sentences in Spanish!!! How many semesters do you have?


  5. {Stephanie} - Si, es MUY divertirse!!!! I'm glad you're learning too, now I really *should* do a Spanish post :D

    {Gab} - So, you've decided you're joining me next year? Or this still a hopefully-if-it-doesn't-dq-you-from-college-swimming? :D

    {Nana} - I just finished Spanish 101 this past fall semester, and then I'm taking 102 in the spring. I'm not sure what next fall will look like yet.

  6. umm....still a hopefully-if-it-doesn't-dq-me-from-college-swimming...I mean, that's not the ONLY factor, but anyway...

  7. Hola! I know how you feel; I'm 14 and I'm doing a 12th grade Latin course and a college reading track! (The latter is completely miserable; the former is only somewhat miserable.)