Dodging the Bullet: Office hours Alleviate the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’
By Miranda Feeley, Staff Writer
After three months of not speaking a single word of French, I walked into my first college-level French class last Monday and promptly got a bucket of ice dumped on my head.
It wasn’t a real bucket, don’t worry! It’s just that when you’ve never had a class entirely in another language before, and you’re out of practice to boot, 50 minutes straight of French can be pretty shocking.
There was one part of the syllabus that I didn’t understand at all. I had never seen some of the words before and the ones I did know were just not processing. My cogs were still all dusty and sticky from the summer and it made me feel sick to my stomach. I’m in French 202. I should be good at this, right? The only part of the paragraph that was clear to me was the big ‘15’ next to the top word. I knew that meant the section was worth 15 percent of my grade, and that only made matters worse. What, exactly, was worth 15 percent? It was a big chunk of the final grade, and I was stuck between wanting to do well, and my mule-like stubbornness when it comes to asking for help.
I spent the next day of classes picking up more work, the misunderstood part of the syllabus haunting the back of my mind. And then I decided I was being ridiculous. Not understanding one paragraph didn’t make me a bad person, and I came to Gettysburg to learn, not to show off what I already know. Of course, by then my Professor’s office hours were over, but I resolved to go the next day and clear the issue up.
So that’s exactly what I did.
He explained what the assignment was in English, pointed out what grammar rules I would need to know to get a good grade, and then I went and got some food. My spot at the college didn’t get revoked because I didn’t know what some words meant. And I’m really glad I got my first office visit out of the way, because now I know the worst part is that the French offices are in the West Building, all the way across campus from Hanson! It’s a whole extra minute past Servo–who has time for that?
Editor’s Note: This article is the ninth of our series “Dodging the Bullet: The First Year Journal,” in which The Gettysburgian‘s staff members from the Class of 2021 share stories, reflections, and perspective on their first year experience. You can read the full series here. (BP)