Yesterday was the first meeting of my super-scary grad class.  Originally, I thought I was all slick, sweet-talking my way into the class, but as the day of our first meeting approached, I worried that I may have gotten in over my head.  True, I should push myself; I do think that I will be getting a lot of that already, without competing with grad students (who can and will kick my ass in writing and speaking French).

I am not the only undergrad in the class.  I do feel it is worth mentioning that there are as many dissertors as there are undergrads.  I also feel that it is worth mentioning that there are actual native French speakers in the class.  Oy, does that make me self-conscious; especially after I discovered that a goodly portion of the grade is based on an oral presentation in class.

On a positive note, I feel confident that I understand the material covered in the class, and I have noticed that however much I have been panicking in class about public speaking, when the time comes to say something, it is pretty automatic, provided I haven’t spent too much time fretting.  My mental processes have shifted – in France, I never thought that much about what I was going to say; back home, I have been overthinking.  As long as I don’t overworry, it doesn’t affect my spoken French – I just talk – even if I don’t say exactly what I had constructed in my head, I say what I mean to say.  Still, surrounded by grad students who have passed their prelims, I am more acutely aware of my lesser French language skills.  Fortunately, I would pit my literary analysis skills against even the most seasoned grad student, since I had enough of it before this class (mostly in English, to be sure).  Cross your fingers and hope that I can keep my head above water; I know I’ll be doing the same.

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