Friday, September 2, 2011

Second Chances

So, my dad always called America the land of second chances.  If you didn't like what happened the first go around, then try, try again.  In the States (especially in the good times) you can apply for another job quite easily, and often get it.  If you don't like your career as a construction worker, you can become a technical support analyst with the right skills and interview personality.  You can go from a cashier to Inside Sales for a professional basketball team. But mostly he called America the land of second chances because of college.  Americans can always go back.  In Czech, it's pretty much decided from an early age if you're going to be going to higher education, and then once you're finished with that window of opportunity, you're done - exit stage left.  And me, I would have been beyond redeemable.

For the past few years everyone in my life has been telling me I should get back in school.  Fact is, my husband's in school, about to finish.  He's so OCD about his grades it's rather intimidating sometimes.  Then again, he's graduating cum laude so who can blame him?  In fact, I rather admire him.  One of the reasons though, that I never went back was that, in addition to the terrified of school factor, I also had no clue what to study.  My passion for communications/public relations has since somewhat faded.  I love history, but what would I do with a history degree?  I love Slavic studies, but again, what would I do with that?  When I "quit" college, I didn't really quit so much as stop going back and I swore I wouldn't start again until I had a goal.

Being homesick, missing speaking Czech, all of this crawled under my skin for months until even a co-worker was sending me links to universities that taught Czech.  Too bad they were all out of state, and none of them had past second year Czech.  But the idea evolved...once upon a time, during my year at university, I had taken a class in Russian.  Now, the most I had gotten out of it was the ability to read/write Cyrillic, and understand the few words that were related to Czech.  It would be a new language - related to Czech though, maybe meet a few Slavic people and perhaps even sate this incessant homesickness of mine.  I consider the language měkký, or "soft" compared to Czech and I know I will struggle with that, but, to ease my homesickness, is it not worth it?

So I search the local community colleges in the area, only one has Russian 101 offered at a time I can attend.  I apply online without even mentioning it to my husband.  Maybe if I'm rejected, I won't even tell him.  A couple days go by and I'm wondering if this "land of second chances" has decided to not give me a second chance.  If, somehow, I failed a test.  It's been eight years since I've been in school, and this is a community college, I thought it was simply, if you're alive and can pay, you can attend.  No word stresses me out too much so I tell my husband my intentions.  He's excited for me and tells me I'm over-reacting.  Turns out I was.  A week letter I get a snail mail letter - snail mail? - that tells me I was accepted under my maiden name.  I register that night and immediately in panic want to drop the class.  My husband forbids me to do so.  

The way I got around when I swore I'd have a goal to go back to school was that this Russian class was getting my feet wet again.  Now, even before class has started, I think I at least want my Associates.  Then, we'll see from there.

In a little over three weeks my first Russian 101 class starts.  It's not even really my first second chance with school, I've had several of those, if you've read the Background you'll know.  But, this is my second chance "as an adult, not as a child" and maybe now things will be different.

So is this my second chance or my second...mistake?   
Já nevím, uvidíme se.  I don't know - we'll see.

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