Spanish Lesson by Courtney

I didn’t understand a single word he said. I had taken four years of Spanish in high school, so the next step was SPAN 352: Composition and Conversation 1. The only problem was that in high school my teachers still spoke English. This instructor wouldn’t speak more than 10 words of English for the entire semester. Maybe it would have been better to take it in the fall of my freshman year rather than the spring, or maybe I would’ve been just as lost. Point being, I sat there for 50 minutes staring at this instructor and didn’t pick up more than a few words. Maybe I really wasn’t suited for being a Spanish minor.


  Now, I’m not the type of person to drop a class or give up. That’s probably the only reason I went back two days later to sit through the second class. I didn’t like the thought of having one less class or of trying to find an open class somewhere else after the semester had already started. I also didn’t like the feeling I knew would come from having given up after one class. It just seemed like giving up on my minor during freshman year was too easy and flat-out quitting. And I am not a quitter. So, I went back. And I went back again. And again. And again.

            I was entirely out of my element in this class. I was an honors student. A 4.0 average honors student. Maybe I’d only been in college a semester, but it was an impressive title all the same. Being “smart,” well, it was my identity. I was simply the smart girl. But in this class, I was at the bottom of the grade roster. No amount of studying could possibly improve my listening skills overnight. I simply had to go to class, listen hard, and ask him to repeat himself after every other sentence. It just wasn’t comfortable. I was always that student that everyone secretly hated for acing the midterm. Now I was the student everyone else looked at to feel better about their own grades. No matter how lost or confused they were, at least they weren’t as lost as me.

            I guess there’s a lesson in this experience, though. I don’t know if you really want to hear it, or maybe you figured it out already. I’m going to say it anyway. You can’t always be the best at something right away, if at all. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it certainly changes things once you do. Of course I learned more Spanish throughout the semester, but more importantly that class taught me to cut myself a little slack sometimes. Sometimes hard work is just as good as or better than being a genius at something.

It’s actually a bit amusing to think about that class last semester from my bedroom in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. I ended up with an A in the end, and I was able to study abroad in Spain for the summer because of it. Now more than ever I’m grateful for that lesson my Spanish class taught me. It doesn’t matter that the girl two years ahead of me is doing better than I am in 450: Advanced Grammar. The fact that I’ve only taken one university level Spanish course and can keep up at all in 450 is an accomplishment in and of itself. Not expecting myself to be perfect, well it’s probably the most useful thing I learned last semester to prepare for Spain. I guess that maybe I am suited to be a Spanish minor after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar