My Schooling

I enjoy learning things. I like taking classes. I have been going to the University of Michigan since I was in 10th grade. My high school only had Latin and two years of French as foreign languages. It was a small school; only 325 students. If you wanted to take a class they didn't offer, you could take classes at UM or at the other high schools. Since I didn't care to go to the other high schools, I began taking university classes. My first class was a European history class. Then, I took French and Italian classes before I graduated from high school. I got into UM and have been going ever since. After the first few semesters I figured out that I couldn't do full-time because I didn't put enough into each class; or maybe I put in too much, and couldn't last out the semester. At any rate, I began going part-time, only taking two or three classes each semester, and although it takes a long time, it's much more fun. I have taken Old English, Symbolic logic, Cultural Anthropology, Japanese, Film Studies, Calculus, a lot of Linguistics and English-language classes, Astronomy, "Math for Poets", and many other interesting things. This semester, I am taking a class called "Primate Social Behavior." It is really fascinating so far- even the readings!!

I take classes that look interesting at the time, and don't pay any attention to what I need to graduate, or to how many science classes I have. Now I am nearing the time when I could graduate, and it looks like my idea of a rounded education meshes pretty well with the University's.

I have studied quite a few languages throughout my career; French, German, Welsh, Italian, Latin, Old English, and finally Japanese. I have come to one conclusion- although of course native speakers make the best teachers for pronunciation and intonation and natural feel, I don't think that anyone ought to be allowed to teach a language without having Linguistic training. When a student asks why something is the way it is, a foreign language teacher shouldn't be allowed to say, "That's just the way it is in our language. There's no pattern. You just have to memorize it this way," When 90% of the time, there *is* a pattern, or a reason, or there used to be a pattern which you can kind of see even though the modern forms have mutated. "Just memorize it this way" is completely contrary to the notion of education.

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Last modified: September, 1996