You Should Take That Class You're Curious About

Take That Class You're Curious About, It's Worth It

I was sort of interested in something that had nothing to do with my major, my future plans, or anything I'd ever done before. I learned it anyway.

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In high school, the introduction of ABC Family's (now Freeform) TV show "Switched at Birth" sparked my interest in sign language and the Deaf community. The show tells the story of two teenagers who discover that they had been switched at the hospital. With this life-changing realization, two families merge together to deal with complicated feelings.

A major part of this show manifests itself in the context of Deaf culture and sign language. One of the teenagers became Deaf at age 3 and subsequently grew up signing and attending a Deaf school. When the families reunite with their biological daughters, the rich, well-meaning Kennish family has a lot to learn about their Deaf daughter. They see her deafness as a disability, something they have the money to fix with a cochlear implant.

But within a few episodes and the rest of the series, we learn that there's something really special about deafness. To the Deaf community, deafness is not a disability -- it's a culture, a language, and a history with a set of shared values and role models.

I was hooked.

This was a community that I had never been exposed to before, and it was really, really cool! There was an entire group of people with a rich culture, a beautiful language, and their own thoughts and ideas.

I had no opportunity to communicate with them. I'd seen Deaf people before. There were some in my gym class. They signed to each other and their interpreter, but I didn't know how to join that conversation. I didn't know how to include them.

"Switched at Birth" exposed this hidden community to me, and I've been interested in sign language and Deaf culture ever since.

I ended up at a college with a full Deaf Studies program. When I came to school, I saw a course titled "American Sign Language I," and thought about taking it.

But I had a hard time justifying WHY.

I'd already fulfilled the core requirement that class fell under, and I didn't need it to fulfill anything else. There was no productive purpose in taking that extra class. But I took it anyway, and I am so glad.

I took ASL I just to see if I liked it -- and I LOVED it. This new language was amazing. It was really hard because I was completely immersed in the language from my first day of class. Having a Deaf professor removes the option of switching to English when you don't understand something. Unlike my high school French classes, I had no choice but to find a way to communicate with my professor without speaking English.

At first, I wrote down things that I didn't know the signs for. But eventually, I was able to describe concepts to get the sign I was looking for.

Last night, I went to my first ASL club meeting. (Finally, after four semesters in the Deaf Studies program, it fits into my schedule!). We played cards and chatted, entirely in sign language. It was some of the most fun I've had in a long time, and I learned so much, too!

Here's the thing, everyone. I didn't have to take the ASL class. I wanted to. I was curious about it, I went for it, and now it's one of the best things I've ever done. ASL is the first class that challenges me while actually making me feel excited and happy. It's HARD and it's something I've had to work for, but I haven't regretted a second of it.

Now, as an ASL IV-level student, I'm stressed about doing my best, just as I would be in another class. But no other class on my schedule feels entirely fun. We're learning a whole new language with its own culture, history, and community, and being immersed in a new environment that you're starting to understand better is so refreshing. American Sign Language is a full language, with grammar, untranslatable idioms, and unique ways to express thoughts visually that cannot be replicated in English.

I loved it so much that I declared a minor in Deaf Studies, and I'm considering upgrading it to a major. Either way, one thing is for sure: I've never enjoyed a class so much.

If you're curious about something but have no reason to actually do it, take my advice -- go for it! Otherwise, you may never know if there's a hidden passion somewhere in that vague interest.

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Take Your Boots Off And Stay A While

The Hotel Weyanoke in Farmville, VA is beautiful and I wish I could live there, tbh.

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Last week, I spent the night in one of the most gorgeous places I think I've ever seen. My mom came up to visit me at college and this was the first time she was spending the night, so I knew I had to tell her to stay at the Weyanoke.

The Hotel Weyanoke, or Weyanoke as it's more frequently called, is a highly sophisticated hotel set in the heart of Farmville, Virginia. The university I go to, Longwood, is actually right across the street from the hotel, so it only made sense that I'd stay with her instead of my off-campus apartment.

*wink wink*

Prior to last week, I'd been to the Weyanoke a handful of times to eat at the restaurants, as you can go there without having to be an actual guest at the hotel. I've gotten coffee from their Sassafras Coffee Bar; the most amazing spaghetti and shrimp from Campagna on my birthday; and stuffed my face with honey-coated pizza at Effingham's.

Needless to say, the Weyanoke has become one of my favorite spots in Farmville, but this was my first time staying in a room...and I wish they had a deal with the university where Longwood students could live there!

I don't know if my parents would be willing to pay how much it'd definitely cost if the hotel allowed students to do that, but it would be totally worth it!

The rooms are absolutely GORGEOUS. The decor was my complete aesthetic, all I'd have to add are a couple of pictures of friends and family and I'd be set. I think the beds were memory foam or Tempurpedic, but I didn't actually check! Either way, my feet didn't go off the end of the bed as they do in my bed at my apartment.

The robes were honestly one of my favorite parts. I've never actually stayed at a hotel fancy enough to have complementary robes for all their guests. I sat in mine for the rest of the night and just did homework like that. I felt so luxurious, even though I'm literally a broke college student. And you can actually buy their bathrobes with their name stitched into it and everything! However, they are $75 a pop so I figured I'll go home for the summer and work to make the money, THEN I'll buy it when I come back in August for junior year!

Also, this is probably going to sound super strange, but the bathroom was BEAUTIFUL! The shower had the glass wall and shower head on one side, and then the other side is just open. The water pressure was great, which is usually hit or miss in hotels, and overall it was just so relaxing.

The only downside with those types of showers is if someone else needs to be in the bathroom and you're uncomfortable with being completely seen in the shower. That's a bit awkward, but eh...

Overall, I absolutely loved my stay and encourage everyone who comes through Farmville, VA to check out the hotel and really consider staying there! Hopefully, it won't be too long until I can stay there again!

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Spring Cleaning Is More Than Just A Quick Room Clean

Thank you spring cleaning for the thorough life cleaning.

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Spring brings more than just rain showers that water up and coming flowers. It brings a season of new opportunities and more days to grow.

Because of everything that spring has to offer, I think it is best to do some 'spring cleaning' in my life around this time every year. In some strange way, it is refreshing to just sit back and unpack and declutter everything. It feels good to just prepare myself for a season of sunshine and possibilities waiting to be created by me.

Every week leading up to spring, I mentally prepare for all the growing I am about to do. I try to plan out everything I want and claim everything that will be mine.

I guess the saying is really true: April showers definitely bring May flowers, and it also leaves you with a few things in between.

This spring, I told myself I am ready for all the flowers that are mine to bloom around me and be planted in nothing but success. I speak nothing but success over my life as I enter into a new season where I plan to be intentional with everything I do. Where I plan to get rid of or clean out everything that isn't for me or has nothing to contribute to everything I want to be.

While I still enjoy a fresh new design in my bedroom, I much rather prefer reading a new book or exploring a new place. The greatest thing to ever come out of my "spring cleaning" was recognizing that everything that is supposed to be mine will be. Reorganizing my priorities and what I want to accomplish in life really has eliminated a lot of stress out of my life and created space for everything coming my way.

Preparing for the next season is more than just a to-do list.

Spring cleaning is a dedication to a new season. In some ways, it's allowing the storms from last season to nurture and clear the paths of everything that still is coming my way.

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