Getting Better

It is almost like I dread going to my Latin class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And it’s not that the topics are particularly boring, but it’s the fact that he picks people at random to scan and translate.

In school, this has always been my greatest fear: getting picked on by the teacher.

The last time I was in Latin class, I did not do so well. As I said in my last long blog post, I was picked on by the substitute teacher and couldn’t say a single thing. So this time around, in fear of the substitute teacher giving my name to the teacher, I made sure to scan and translate all the lines.

All the poems are actually very interesting. It’s just that if you mix this homework with Physics, Genetics, and Biochemistry, it is very easy for Latin to become a second thought.

So today, I just had the feeling that he would pick on me at some point. I actually thought I would be the first one picked because I thought that the substitute had talked about me. He didn’t mention anything about last class, so I guess not.

So we are scanning and translating lines, and everytime that we go to the next poem, he turns and looks at his paper of attendance. I am always praying in my seat hoping that he will not pick me.

So there came about 5 minutes before the end of class. He wanted to finish one more poem. I looked at it and felt like I knew most of what it was saying, but I had forgotten words (the sleep deprivation is actually real. My short-term memory is getting worse). He looks at the page, and… call it a gut feeling or God Himself, but I had the strong feeling that he was about to choose me.

And he did.

When he first said my name, I almost didn’t believe it, since he hadn’t called my name in about two weeks.

So I began.

I was trying to hit every elision in the poem because it always bothered me when I heard other people miss it. It came to the last line of the poem and there were 3 elisions one after the other. I promise you, I read over that line atleast 3 times because it was so hard. Once I was finally done, the class kind of chuckled, but I chuckled along with them and so did the professor. It was more on the laughter at how hard I had tried with that last elision. Atleast I got it in the end. The professor was smiling, so that was always good.

So I started to translate, and that’s kind of where I stumbled. I had translated the poem earlier, but I had forgotten some key words. So there were pauses and times where I had to ask him for help. I would say about two times to be exact. I am going to say that nerves probably got to me. Not only am I sleep-deprived and my short term memory is taking a toll, but nervousness definitely does not help. I was trying with all my might to remember what was being said in the poem, but it wasn’t working.

But I got the first and last lines of the poem correct (thank God), so I began and ended on a good note. I guess that’s all that matters?

Next week is the test, and I am a little nervous. I will probably  need to translate and scan all the poems that we have done over this weekend. No partying for me :/

I was planning on going to this Caribbean night thing tonight, but I have too much on my mind right now.

I have to finish applying to this job position that I am hoping to get next year, I am thinking about studying abroad, so I need to do that, I need to finish application for a summer program, Ih ave to finish financial aid documents, I have to help my sister out with hers, I have to to more counselor training practice rounds (3 more to be exact, but probably more), I have to study for my physics test which is in a week and a half (and Biochem is on the same day… yay), I have to study for this Latin test on Wednesday…

I know that I should probably go to my Latin teacher’s office hours next week just to ask him how many hours a day does he believe we should study for Latin. He has already said the best way to get better at Latin, but it kind of sounded like he wanted us to be experts. I’m going to have to ask him to about a more realistic approach because… I ain’t a Classics major.

Hardcore Science major premed over here, and my stress meter is on high all the time.

“Sooner or Later” – Aaron Carter & “Lights Down Low” – MAX

This song is just a great song. I don’t know what it is, but maybe because it keeps going back and forth between calm and slow to fast and upbeat. I like the keys and the sounds that they used. It’s a mix of electro, but also some soft sounds too like a guitar (or an electric one). I don’t know, I really like it. It’s not a very popular song, but it needs more recognition, because it was definitely well thought-through and well-crafted.

The other song, “Lights Down Low” is a good song too. I really like how it has the soft sound of a guitar. And then there would be parts of the song on the downbeat where the sound completely cuts out, and I really think that it goes well with it. I also like that on those parts where the music cuts out, there is a group of people yelling “Hey!”. It is just so unique and I feel like just that will capture people’s attention. It captured mine.

Gut Feelings

Something in my gut told me to miss my Latin class today. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the fact that it was 2am on the last day of break and I had not even touched my Latin stuff. I found out that I had to translate about 7 poems, but I had no idea how that was going to happen. I took little 90 minute-naps (because I read somewhere that it takes 90 minutes to finish a REM cycle), and somehow that kind of worked. I would wake up not feeling groggy and I felt like I could work. But then I would just go back to sleep after a little bit.

By 6:30am, I decided to wake up and finish the poems. It was around this time that I felt the need to just email my professor saying that I would be sick and miss class. I should’ve done it, I really should have.

But then I thought, “What if this was the one day that he choose a me and I would lose participation points?” Also, what if I needed to use that sick excuse for another day when I was really dying? So being the good student I am, I decided to go to class.

Well this will be very ironic coming from a student, but this was one of the few times in my college career that I absolutely regretted going to class.

So after Sociology, I walk over to my Latin class, which is technically in the same building. I sit and go over my notes once I reach the class room. I am a little nervous because there were so many poems to go over, but I knew that I had atleast looked over them.

So the rest of the class comes in, and we are all waiting for our teacher when suddenly some one tall old man comes in. He asked with an English accent, “Is this the Latin Catullus class?” We all nod, and he just comes in and sits down. He says that he is taking over the class for today. I thought to myself, “Wow, I really could have missed this class today.”

So he comes in, and he seems nice and everything. But he also seems very straight-forward. No wasting time and no beating around the bush.

So I was a little antsy, and I was hoping that he wouldn’t be like my professor and just choose people.

Of course he did.

And guess who he chose first…

Ugh.

So before he even chose me, he was already staring me down for whatever reason. Most likely it was because I was the only “melaninated” person in the room, which always received attention.

He was talking about the current poem that we were about to discuss, which we had talked about maybe a week ago. Unfortunately, I had not really focused on that poem because I thought we would move on, but instead that was the focus for half of the class.

My luck is just amazing.

While he was talking about it, he was talking about how controversial and sexual it was, and he used the word “Racy”. Right when he said that word, he stared at me. I stared right back at him with disbelief. Did that actually happen? I even smirked a little bit.

I’m sure the class took the word just the way it was intended to be taken: sexual, lively, entertaining…

As for me, I took it differently.

Just the way he said it and the way he looked at me when he said it, I knew what he was getting at. I believe he meant to say that word in a way to pertain to race, and I was not having it.

I already felt like me and this guy probably would not get along.

And maybe he felt that too, because he quickly pointed to me (like actually pointed to me), and said “You, what is this poem talking about”. I was taken aback, but at the same time, I felt like I was expecting it, since he never once moved his eyes away from me except to look down at the poem for a second.

I looked at the poem and my mind went blank. I knew what the poem was about. I knew it was about this guy having a sexual desire for a girl, but everything in the middle was a little confusing for me. In the poem, I didn’t really catch on to the fact that he was forcing her to stay home for him.

Anyways, the point is, once he pointed to me and asked me to answer, my mind drew a huge question mark and I didn’t say anything. All I said was that I knew the main character and that was it. I didn’t want to feel dumb by saying it was sexual, even though it really was. Maybe I really didn’t know this poem as well as I had hoped.

Anyways, there was a silence for maybe 10 seconds, and then he chose someone else to answer. The person answered perfectly.

I kind of felt bad at the time, but I didn’t want to show it because I knew that almost every eye in that room was on me. There was always this girl in there who constantly stared at me every day in class, so I knew her eyes were on me.

What I really hated was the fact that it was as though I had solidified his idea of me. He probably just wanted to test how smart I really was. He wanted to see how much I knew. Once I didn’t say anything, it probably justified his assumptions, which really pissed me off.

I wanted to blame it on the lack of sleep, I wanted to blame it on the fact that I was giving him an attitude for the “racy” incident, I wanted to blame it on the fact that my break was not as relaxed as I had wanted it to be (due to a mentally-unstable roommate, who by the way moved out this break as well :D), I wanted to blame it on the fact that I was caught off guard. But honestly, I couldn’t really blame it on anyone or anything except myself.

I should have said something.

And the worst part of it was that I felt that my failure allowed others to feel more comfortable when talking. They probably thought that they weren’t as bad as me. He called on people to translate, and he called out a couple people on how bad their readings were, but even that was better than my response (or the lack of one) …

Also, I know that he will probably say something to my professor because he will definitely remember me. I mean come on, he can just say, “The ‘black girl’ in your class did not say anything when she was called upon” and my professor would know exactly who he was talking about. If it were anyone else, he wouldn’t have a name and the professor wouldn’t be able to pinpoint who it was. Ughhhh.

I can just tell that my professor will call on me next class. Hell, he might even make me translate everything for that day. Now, I really have to be on my A-game on Friday.

I hate how I feel like these problems come down to race. If I weren’t the only black girl in the room, I highly doubt that this old man would have called on me.

The crazy thing is that, all problems aside, I really liked this guy. I liked how he taught the material. It was actually what I had expected to get out of my Latin class when I enrolled. I like how he broke everything down and made me see the poetry in a whole different way. We talked about this other poem about inviting this guy to dinner, but it was so cool how he made us see the invitation inside the poem. I also liked how he stressed that the poem at first glance is different from the hidden message. He MADE us see that hidden message and it was fun discovering it. I also enjoyed how he was open to most interpretations (I say most because there were some people who he said were just completely wrong), though he definitely showed that he had favorites.

There is this girl in my Latin class who just does the most all the time. She always has this super intricate evaluation of the situation int he poem that ends up being correct, but no one would have probably guessed unless they studied Catullus for atleast 10 years. She just seemed like such an expert. It was as if she lived and breathed this stuff.

And this probably has nothing to do with it, but I found it interesting that she was probably the least melaninated person in the room. As in, if there was a spectrum for the amount of melanin each person has in the room, I would be at on e extreme and she would be at the other. Her skin was so pale and her hair was so blonde. It was as if she had never been under the sun before.

But I am pretty sure it was the fact that she knew a crap-ton about Catullus.

So she always had something to say in class, and when she said something today, the guy just really liked it and said that she was spot-on. So he asked for her name, which he never did to anyone else in the class. And after asking for her name, he said that he probably should not have asked for names, and for whatever reason, he looked at me again when he said this. What was that suppose to mean? That was the second time during the entire class that he made a remark and looked at me while saying it. Even earlier in the class, after I had not answered him, he did not make eye contact with me during the rest of class (even though I was making very strong eye contact with him. I probably was making his nervous, because he definitely stumbled through his words at the beginning of class. Maybe he was just nervous in general), up until he made this remark.

I was so surprised, yet not surprised about this guy. This may not have been the first time that I had been in a class where I was the only black person in there, but I felt very out of place in this class specifically. I didn’t talk to anyone in there even on a regular day, even though I shared a class with a few of them the semester before (maybe it will dent their appearance and their “status” to all other people in the class), so I get to class, I don’t say anything, and I am one of the first to leave. I’m only there to pass the class and get my credit for graduation. I just want to become a doctor ;(

I really do enjoy Latin, but I don’t like the atmosphere in this class.

I really enjoyed the class today, but I am truly sorry to say that I feel like I would have enjoyed it better if I didn’t have melanin in my skin.

Just Plain Dumb

I already know that throughout my entire college experience, I’ve done some dumb stuff. REALLY dumb stuff. It’s part of the learning process, I get that.

But I know for a fact that if I were a decent, sound-minded, and normal human being, many of those mistakes could have been easily avoided. No questions asked.

Such as Exhibit A, which happened about 3 hours ago in my Genetics lab.

We were told to pick our lab partners. I had asked a friend the day before if we could be lab partners, and he said sure. So I was happy about that.

I was thinking about the lab all day throughout my classes because this would be the first day of Genetic lab, and I was kind of ready to get started (and kind of regretting my decision of wanting to become a Bio major).

So lab comes, and I decided that I would get to lab early so we could have a good place to work. I knew that the week before, the table I worked at was really cool. These two girls were really funny and easy-going, so I wanted to stay at that position.

So I get there early and I sit and wait for my partner. He finally comes in, and I’m waving at him and he waves back at me. Next, he walks away and sits somewhere else. I was confused, and a little dumbfounded. I had a seat right next to me that he could have taken. People were already sitting by their partners, so I was thinking that he would sit by me. Instead, he sits elsewhere.

At first, I am thinking, “Okay, maybe he forgot. It’s fine, maybe he’ll remember.” Then, I’m thinking that maybe he wanted to sit somewhere else and work with someone else. I wasn’t really hurt, I was just a little confused.

I accepted the fact, so when it came time for us to pick lab partners, I made eye contact with a guy who was sitting by himself. He gave me a nod like, “Do you wanna be partners?” I said “sure”. So he starts getting his stuff to sit by me.

AND THEN.

I see my friend start getting up from his chair,

And he starts walking towards where I was.

Shoot.

Shoot shoot, crap, wait, what, omg, no.

My mind started going in circles. I didn’t know what to do. I had messed up.

So then, he starts approaching and the other guy is approaching. And then I have a panicked look. That’s when they kind of look at each other and they’re like, “Wait, what?”

Everyone has the Mr. Krab’s face on at this moment.

People around are starting to look, and… it was just awkward all around, all because of me. People also started whispering to their partner.

I am still cringing at the memory. It was so embarrassing and I felt so bad.

I tried to explain saying, “I saw you sit somewhere else, so I thought you had changed your mind.” And it seemed like the more I tried to explain, the worse it got.

I could tell that my friend was trying to making the least awkward as possible by saying, “It’s alright. No problem! I’ll just go and work with someone else.”

And I stupidly said, “Yea, it’ll only be for today. I am so sorry.”

Me, not thinking about what I said and not even thinking about the lab that was about to happen, forgot that this lab would be going on for 8 weeks. The people we chose as our lab partners today were our partners basically for the rest of the semester.

It was at this moment that I felt sooooo bad. I just wanted to rewind the last 10 minutes. So many alternative scenarios started to run in my head:

  1. I should have came in later
  2. I should have waited a little bit and not made eye contact with anyone
  3. I should have said that I made a mistake and that I already told a friend that I would work with him
  4. I should have never asked my friend the day before, and I should have let things happen naturally
  5. I should have just stayed quiet and been on my phone or something
  6. I just should have never taken genetics lab.

So the partner I have now is really chill. He’s relaxed and clearly knows what he’s doing.

After class, I had to go to my friend. I just felt so rotten during the entire 2-hour lab. We made eye contact and he was just saying, “It’s okay. It really is.” I guess he saw my face before I could say anything. I just felt like I needed to explain the situation. I did, and he said, “Yea, I could see how from afar it would look like I chose somewhere else. I was just telling the person next to me that I already had a partner.” He also said how he sat closer to the board in order to see it better, but he was planning on sitting next to me later. I felt even worse after that.

But then he told me that he was gonna work with his mentee and another person, so it was all good. I felt a little better, but still really dumb. I’m sure everyone in that room felt the awkwardness. It was the worst-case scenario brought to life.

It would’ve been better for me to not have found a partner and have to find somewhere to be.

If anything, from this I learned just how quickly I jump to conclusions. I need to verify more. I know that I’ve made this kind of mistake plenty of times, but I need to speak up. I could have easily gone up to him and asked him if he still wanted to be partners, but I didn’t.

I have really learned my lesson today.