Now that I’ve had a week of classes, it’s possible for me to comment on the academic aspect of the trip.
I’m talented at French. I absorb new concepts easily, and the language flows easily through my mind when I communicate and when I read. I need to mention this at the outset because I have an amazing capacity to underestimate my talent and denigrate myself for no good reason. After a week of class, my own mortality, so to speak, has been made apparent. I might be talented, but I’m not perfect. The trouble is, I hold myself to such an unrealistic standard that every mistake feels like a personal failure. When I make a mistake in class, it feels like the other folks think I’m an idiot. The rational side of me knows that this isn’t at all true. Quite the contrary, the others often remark on how talented I am, being that I only started French two years ago. The teacher looks genuinely concerned when I remark on one mistake or another being stupid on my part, because she’s repeatedly remarked on how much I impress her.
My friends at home have often talked to me about how much I put myself down or stress myself out for no reason. The difference between home and here is that here I have an isolated environment to try to control this attitude. My friend Vanessa remarked to me yesterday on how much school seemed to be stressing me out, but told me not to apologize for it. She merely said that I’m very talented, and should recognize it.
Part of the negative feelings lately has been due, honestly, to a bit of homesickness. There are still three weeks of the trip left to go. It will probably go fast, but I still feel every bit of the distance between here and home, particularly when I look at the ocean. I’m sure everything will be better in a few days. It’s just that for now, I have to work on some of these insecurities that I have with my performance in the class. I’m one of the best students and speakers in there. There is no need for me to feel stressed out at all.