When I arrived on campus for Orientation, I had only a general idea of the classes I wanted to take. As I desperately searched through the course list, trying to put together a schedule the night before registration, one terrifying thing stuck out to me. Language classes were only offered every single day, and no introductory language sequence followed a typical Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule.
As a potential international relations major, I both needed and wanted to take a language, yet the idea of being stuck with classes every day wasn’t appealing. People around me were scheduling their classes in order to have entire days off, but I didn’t really have the option to not take a language. So, reluctantly, I signed up for Arabic 101 at 8 a.m. every day. All of my friends who I told about my enrollment in Arabic said I was crazy, and I would deeply regret my choice.
However, I am incredibly glad both for the 8 a.m. timeslot and the fact that the class takes place every day. I have found that languages are best learned by spending as much time as possible with that language and being forced to spend at least 50 minutes a day on the language is a good place to start. While my experience with languages at the College of William and Mary has been limited to Arabic, I have also realized that having a class five times a week allows teachers to devote time to more difficult topics.
In languages, it is important to have a good foundation to build on, and spending five days a week in class is perhaps the best way to achieve that outside of actual immersion in the native country. So, while I am not exactly thrilled that I won’t get a day without classes for a while, I appreciate the necessity of having language classes every single weekday.
Now, I will be the first to admit that what I also loved to complain about was the earliness of my Arabic class. I signed up to do it again in this spring semester, though, so there must be something I liked about it. I’ve been lucky enough to grow close with people in my class, so I’ve made wonderful friends.
There’s nothing like waking up early to learn a hard language to bring people together. I also personally find that when I don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, I do nothing and am incredibly unproductive; so, for me, having an 8 a.m. forces me to start my day and get things done, which I can lack the motivation to do on my own. After all, my bed is very, very comfortable.
Another added bonus of the language department being housed in Washington Hall is its closeness to Marketplace, which, in my humble opinion, has the best breakfast on campus. Honestly, having an 8 a.m. and going to Marketplace afterwards with my friends is the only reason I eat breakfast, and that’s a healthy habit to celebrate. While I understand that taking both an 8 a.m. and a class that meets five days a week doesn’t work for everyone, I am very grateful for my 8 a.m. Arabic class every day.
Email Anna Boustany at [email protected]