Today was the first day of the Fall term. I guess I never got around to blogging last year about the fact that I decided to add a year to my schooling. It was kind of a stressful time and I didn’t blog much then. I think most of you know anyway, but when I reached the third term of my first year in the interpreting program, I realized that I wasn’t ready. The first two terms are more how to interpret, and the third term you really get into the interpreting itself. I was still struggling too much with the language and wasn’t ready to focus on interpreting.
My grades were all fine at that point, so technically I could have kept pushing through. But after spending much of the first couple weeks of the term in tears because I was so frustrated and stressed, I spoke to my teachers to see if it would be possible to retake a few of the first year classes before continuing on with the harder interpreting classes.
They agreed to let me. As far as I know, I’m the first person to voluntarily drop back and retake classes in this program. A lot of people fail out and retake, and it’s common to have three years before you graduate the program. Most of those retake second year classes, though. I felt it would be better to get a stronger foundation of the language down first, so that I could better learn and focus on the interpreting part of it.
While it was a hard decision at first, especially to think of leaving my classmates, who are a second family, I’m really glad I am doing it this way. I continued with half the classes that third semester and then have worked hard all summer. My skills have improved a lot, and I’m looking forward to seeing them improve even more this next year.
It was kinda odd going back to the ASL class I’ve already taken. I’m surrounded by 23 other students who are scared, nervous, and feeling overwhelmed with the immersions into signing. They talk about being nervous at Deaf events, and scared of presenting things in front of the class…
I listen, and I remember so well those feelings, but no longer struggle so much with them. But I’m but weak in ASL grammar and the use of the language just the same as them. I feel a little stuck between two worlds--one foot in the first year and one foot in the second year. One annoying thing (lol) is that I don’t have a good answer for a simple question I get asked constantly--“What year are you?” Everyone in the Deaf Community is familiar with the program I’m in, and knows it’s a two year program. It’s a simple question that, from me, requires either a long answer or a incomplete answer. Oh well.
My decision to voluntarily retake some classes will perhaps result in more students following my example as needed. It’s rather exciting to think that my decision may result in more interpreters with better skills. One of my classmates was also struggling, though her grades were okay. After seeing my decision, she decided to follow suite. She told me that it helped her to see how well it was working for me, and to see that I still was included fully in the second year group.
Besides the slight feeling of being in limbo, today went well. The students were nice, and I have some close friends from during the summer or past classes in the class. The second year students, last year’s family, have classes right after ours. We share a lunch break, so I was able to hang out with them for about 45 minutes.