Monday, December 17, 2007

It has begun

I'm at home in Oshawa right now and I'm awaiting my marks.
Professor #2 sent a message to our class to let us know that the grades have been posted outside his office. Too bad I can't go to his office and check. Ugh. So I have to wait for the university to post them on the web. I guess I'll just be anxious until then. Better to get it over with though.

Unrelated to studying/school: being at home is good and bad in equal parts. I'll keep anything further to myself.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Latin time...not nearly as fun as Hammer Time

Today is Latin. Then I'm done. I'm going to stick with the plan and stay as long as necessary - the full three hours if that's what's required. I'll go slowly, think it all through and hope for the best.

When I'm done I'll come home, curl up on the couch and nap. And forget this week ever happened... ha ha.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can I has a do-over?

That was a pretty awful experience. My Greek exam was this morning and while I felt really strong and confident going in...and on the first page....I was crushed by the end. I took the entire three hours (as did nearly all of the class) and in the last minutes I was frantically scribbling down answers. I answered all the questions, but the completeness of my answers is questionable - I didn't have time to review, I didn't have time to really make sense of the last four translations. It was pretty awful.

I'm bummed about this, but I've got to forget about it because I have Latin tomorrow. Here's to the end of a hopefully successful semester (passing is good, failing is bad).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


My Greek exam is tomorrow. Aside from being nervous and anxious about this I'm ok. I'm still going to spend all night studying because I know that is the responsible thing to do, but so many things have been clarified for me in my studying that I know if I take my time and work things out during the exam I'll be ok.

Ideally I'd like to be better than ok, but given my state the last month, I'll settle for ok and come back in January looking for great.

My goal for tomorrow: take the full three hours and really give my answers consideration. With some extra thought and logic (which stem is that? what case are we in here?) I can be far more certain about my answers than just stabbing wildly hoping I understand the gist of the sentence. That is not translating, that is floundering. I do not want to flounder (those are ugly fish!).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Track down this murderer! He must be found!!

Studying at home is much better. I didn't believe it was at first and I felt like I wasn't getting all I could from my sessions, but after the coffee shop nightmare, I'm much happier at home. I've spent the entire weekend inside with books and music. When James isn't home I can listen to whatever I want on the main system and when he is home, I have my iPod set up at my desk.
My musical selections have been primarily musicals. They're songs that I know and could sing in my sleep, as well they have that orchestra behind them to give me a boost. I even put on Handel and Wagner after Kate's recommendation. Phantom of the Opera and Showboat are still my front-runners though. I wish I had more of my favourite musicals on CD. So many are still on cassette and I couldn't locate a cassette player in the house to save my soul.

One of the final songs from Phantom has been in my head all day...."Go, swear to me never to tell...the secret you know of the angel in hell!!"

I don't know what has happened, but things have come together in Greek. And in my understanding of grammar overall. I reread the textbook from the beginning, taking notes and going over points until they made sense and, thankfully, things are clicking that weren't before. I feel a lot more confident about my ability to grasp and deal with language study now, but I've got the feeling it's all a bit too late for this semester. My books are coming home with me over Christmas and I'm going to start the semester running in January. I can't give up and I can make it through this one year.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Studying is always hard to do.

I will never study in a coffee shop ever again. Pure hell.

I hit a slump in my motivation and studying drive and was pondering this when Kate called. Kate is, in my mind, the model of academic drive and success. I find her focus and determination so intimidating - I wish I had half the goal-oriented mentality that she possesses. I was actually considering calling her to ask how she maintains her motivation when she called here. I felt so silly asking her that I brushed it aside, but as soon as I heard she was in a library, it lit a fire under me. That was totally awesome and much needed.

Since I didn't feel up to a library trip I ventured to the Starbucks with my books and notes and took up at a bar stool. In retrospect, having my iPod would have made a difference. It would have helped me drown out the other patrons and their drivelling conversations. One guy was the embodiment of tactless. And then, of course, the requisite creepy guy managed to snag the seat beside me. G-reat.

Now, I'm not saying that these things aren't going to happen at the library (creepy guy, possible conversations), but at least I can have my own little cubicle and zone out. I should have stuck with the library idea, and will do so in the future.

I'm systematically taking the Greek vocabulary apart to make managing it a bit easier. Here's hoping this works out for me. I'm going to make conjugation posters for rooms in the house that I visit when not studying.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I haven't been doing very well. I think that much is clear...I'm generally only silent for two reasons: things are great and I'm too busy to update, or things are shit and I'm too hesitant to commit them to type. So things have been harder going than I expected. My depression (which I've not spoken about but will make mention of now) was making day-to-day functioning difficult earlier in the month, but my dosage has been changed and I feel more capable of handling things through a series of coping methods. All I have to say is thank goodness for Molly Dog. She makes sure I get up and out of bed at a reasonable time so that she can be walked. Sometimes it takes those little steps.

I'm gearing up for exams right now. They're on the 12th and 13th. So really, this is the homestretch and I'll use my Christmas break to get my groove back. It's only one year, I can do this.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Readership down

Hmm, direct correlation between frequency of blog entries and readership? Likely.

I spent all of last week catching up on Greek and getting ready for my Latin exam. I felt awful about my Greek quiz on Friday - it was right before my Latin midterm and I really didn't give it any study time given how frantic I was about Latin. I started using a totally awesome resource from UVIC to help me study: this website is wonderful. Aside from the minor flaws, it has really got me going on reviewing previous chapters, especially the crossword at the end of every unit. I love crossword puzzles!!

So how did my Latin midterm go? Well, I'm fairly comfortable with it actually. I was the last person to finish and when I handed it in I decided I either knew my stuff of was totally and blissfully ignorant of the material. We'll see tomorrow. Here's hoping I killed it in a good way. I know already there were several mistakes that I made, but I'm hoping that overall I put in a good enough effort to get a decent mark. I could use the confidence boost!

The oddest thing happened to me though when I came home from the midterm: I had my chill time and then I wanted to keep studying! I wanted to study for the sake of knowing the material. That has never happened to me with a language before. I've never viewed Latin as a reward in itself - this was a pleasant surprise and I'm hoping this new drive sticks around for a while!

In slightly less educational news, Guitar Hero III for the Wii came out. My fingers are raw from playing. I'm glad my drive showed up last week, I'm going to need it until the newfun-ness of this game wears off!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wow, that long eh?

I didn't mean to take such a long break between posts! Wow!
Well, if that's any indication of how school is going right now...

Since my last post I had a Thanksgiving break (much needed and enjoyed) and returned home to get my Greek midterm back. While I was so positive I nailed it, I was still very happy to see the proof: 88%
Not in the 90's as I'd hoped, but ever-so-close.

Latin has been difficult for me, as usual, but I spent about 8 hours last weekend on just Latin. I was dead tired by the end of it, but I hope it paid off! Professor #7 was kind enough to give me a little extension on the assignment due last week, so I feel better about the effort I put into it. The midterm is on the 26th, so I've still got some time, but we're heading into more topics that I've previously covered, so that's a relief.

As for class today, well, I didn't go. I emailed my assignment and am getting the notes from a classmate. I just keep going from hot to cold to hot to cold, but I don't have fever so it doesn't make sense. I also have a head full of stuffing and feel queasy a lot. I went to bed at 9:30 last's hoping this passes soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Slaying the Greek beast!

My Greek test is over and done with. I took nearly the entire time - I left with five minutes remaining. I must have looked over all my answers eight times at least. I feel really comfortable with the answers I gave, especially in the sentences. At one point I had a crisis with the accents - like I just didn't believe that I knew the answers. It was odd. I also found myself shaking uncontrollably from coffee intake at the very start. That wore off, thankfully. Using a piece of scrap I wrote out everything first, worked it out and then transferred the correct answers to the official test paper.

Here's hoping I did well, but I likely won't find out until next week - I can't imagine he'll have marked all the tests by tomorrow!

I'm proud of myself for nailing this. I feel very on top of my Greek game and that's a huge relief. I know it won't be a perfect test, but I hope it's not too far off!

Countdown time...

Less than 12 hours until my first Greek test. We're having three of these tests, but the catch is that our lowest scored test will be dropped and our top test score will count twice. Basically, this means I should rock this test, which covers only one chapter, so that it is, by far, my top mark. Although, it would be nice to have solid top marks on all three, but just in case, I want a stellar mark on this one.

I'm surprised by how comfortable I feel with the material. The accents are still getting me, but I know all the vocab, I'm feeling tremendously stronger on the cases than I did earlier this week (thank you flashcards!) and the article, the part I was having difficulty with, agrees so well with the cases, that as long as I observe a few deviations, I'm set!

Watch, having been so confident here, I'll go in tomorrow and get slaughtered. Here's hoping I don't!

Latin, as a side note, is going well...but I think I'm going to do all the sentences in each chapter as soon as we begin them. We do a few of them in class every week and my class mates are much faster than I at translating on the spot, so I never get to answer. I want to make it clear to the professor on a daily basis that I am picking up the material - not just with the hand in homework and the quiz (which, let's be fair, haven't been my "A's").

My game plan for tomorrow is to wake up early, eat a great breakfast and spend another two hours on review. I want to nail attributive position and take the time to write out the cases and article again - I'd like to see if all my endless writing and rewriting of the paradigms has taken hold. I believe it has. We have 1.5 hours for the test and I fully intend to take as much of that time as necessary. I don't care if I'm the only person there, I'm not leaving until I have gone over the test with a fine comb, dealing with accents, breathings, attributive position etc.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Whiteboard love

I really can't understand how I ever got by without a whiteboard! I love my whiteboard! This board has made language study so much better - I can write as big as I want, with as many details, I can erase and draw (then redraw) a zillion arrows and lines....seriously. These should be mandatory for all students studying languages....especially Greek with its crazy apposition! Indispensable!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A little bit of Latin

Our Latin professor was away for a conference, so Friday and today we're having a substitute - professor #4! It was nice to have her as a teacher again...I find I actually really enjoy her style. I do like professor #7, but there's a familiarity with professor #4 that I missed. As an added plus, we covered something in class that'd I'd done at Carleton, so I feel better about Latin this week.

My Greek midterm is this Thursday. After the quiz on Friday I'm feeling pretty anxious about this. Thankfully I took my vocab and paradigm cards on my crazy 3.5 hour bus trip this weekened. Enough said on that topic, but at least it was helpful.

I've decided I'd like to look into books on inscriptions and short forms for Latin and Greek - like the kinds you'd find on monuments and pottery etc. I think those would be invaluable resources to have and I think I'd find the languages a bit more interesting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yikes, five days!

I didn't meant to have such a gap! Mostly I was busy with school and life, to be honest. Also, I developed this schedule to ensure that both my subjects received the required amount of time but I didn't really build in a lot of "down time for internet rambling." I'm in the midst of amending the schedule. The day I had yesterday, while sticking to it, nearly killed me mentally. I was fried from all the work.

My Greek marks aren't coming up perfect this week, nearly, but not perfect. I'm a bit miffed at myself for the silly mistakes, but hopefully I can get it back on track - this weekend will involve a good chunk of studying (good thing too - the test is Thursday).

Latin, likewise, isn't doing so well this week as well. We are, however, coming up to a series of chapters that I've already covered while taking Latin II with professor #6. So at least I have a basis for what we're doing and don't have to stress about the new material as I catch up on the overlooked concepts.

Whiteout has changed since I last bought a bottle. It has a sponge applicator now. No doubt bristles cost too much on a per-bottle basis. I don't like the sponge, but I'm adapting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Big old Saturday night! Yeah!

Spending my Saturday night at home...likely doing Latin. Woo!! Ha ha...

The week ended out nicely - the new book was helpful to have, though I've not got any of my handy penciled-in notes in the new one. Maybe one day when I'm really bored I'll go about adding the more important ones in, but for now I'll just keep both books at hand.

So guess what happened to me on Friday? I woke up at 7:30, had my shower, ate my breakfast and started reviewing for my quizzes that day. Nothing unusual here (unless you count the wake-up time!). Then I'm doing the dishes while watching Martha, just after 10 AM when it finally dawns on me - my Greek class started at 10!! For whatever reason, I had it in my head that it was 11:30. That was a shock. So I grabbed all my books and ran out to the bus. I made it to class half an hour late, but there was no way I wasn't going to show up at all! Thankfully the class is a little slow-moving right now and I had only missed going over the rest of the vocabulary list in our text. It's also a good thing that the quiz is always given at the end of class. No harm done.

Doug and I got the chance to chat after Greek, which was pretty awesome. He's in my Greek class too and we seem to have a fair bit in common (aside from him being American and currently sick). He's also got pretty good taste in music, a clever blog and a similarily low tolerance for stupidity in the classroom.

Latin was better for some reason on Friday. I think what we're going over now might be something that professor #6 taught us at Carleton when I took Latin II over in 2006. Or I'm just finally "getting it." Whatever it is, I'm thankful! The quiz wasn't too awful either...mind you, I haven't gotten it back, so it could really go either way. We'll see on Monday.

In the mean time, I thought I'd post some stellar marks I've been getting in Greek - one is a quiz and the other is my homework assignment. I suppose I'd really like to know how other people are doing in the class too, but I guess all that really matters is how I'm doing. Still...the competitive side of me is dying to know how many of my fellow classmates I'm trouncing in the marks department.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

That explains a lot!


That's right....Wheelock cleverly avoided a 7th edition by releasing a REVISED 6th edition! So my meagre unrevised 6th edition doesn't hold up anymore. Tricksy Wheelock. It certainly helps to explain why so many of the sentences we're covering in class are different from what I have as answers!

Time to trot out another $30 for this ugly demon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A little of this, a little of that

What I can't quite understand about these classmates of mine, is why they spend so much time fighting with the professor over things they're not likely to have an impact upon...say, oh, the way the professor chooses to mark! If she is used to marking in that manner, live with it and stop looking for ways to improve your odds at a better mark through less work.

Appropriately enough, both my classes are plagued with senseless commenters. Was university always like this?

I feel quite bad for a girl who just picked up our Greek class today...that's a heap of information to have missed! Silently I was thankful that we didn't do a refresher for her though, nor was anyone asked to help bring her up to speed - it appears she knows someone in the class anyway. Man, what horrid course selection is that on her part. Poor thing.

I'm happy to report that I received a 5.5/5 on my Greek quiz. I'm on a little Greek roll....or should that be a dolmathakia...hee hee...

So to recap where I'm at...
Greek: feeling good about the alphabet, pronunciation, accents and getting started on the first declension. No feelings of dread, nothing I can't handle. Looking forward to the thinning of the class next semester and possibly building a new peer group, since, you know, everyone I did my BA with is gone!
Latin: feeling not-so-hot here, feels like some major concepts may have flown over my head in previous classes and I'm having trouble picking up the pieces. In all honesty, I would benefit from some more structure in my study...I might have to buy myself an egg timer and set out allotments each day of what I should cover.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's start again

I went back to the beginning of my Latin text book yesterday and just started over. I had done this over the summer at the cottage, but I was on a paradigm hunt at that time. This time I just sat and read. I made every effort to understand the concepts that were being presented and went to Dale Grote if I didn't know what was going on. I always forget that for as much as I hate Wheelock, there is a useful set of questions and answers for each chapter at the end of the text so that I can quiz myself. That's the plan once I've read all the chapters again. Quiz myself on each chapter until I come up against things that give me trouble. Then I'll rehash that chapter and nip these little problems early in the semester. Here's hoping I don't lose too much time to this and that things are clearer quite soon.

As for Greek, I really wish that pronunciation tapes were available. Ok, I haven't looked, maybe there are some out there. It would be helpful to hear the sounds over and over so that I get them. It's ok to say things out loud to myself, but if I'm saying it wrong in the first place, what does it help?

Also, apparently the British don't learn the accents for Greek when they're studying. Publication is apparently a different story, but basic, in class learning doesn't involve accents. I'm going to have to ask around about this.

In lighter, more entertaining news, someone on a Classics forum found these online. I will most certainly be making myself a pair!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Classroom observations

Ok, I get it. I was a much younger student once. I know how wonderful it can be to roll out of bed and walk to class. Now, however, I take total offense to this practice. Especially when this involves you sitting beside me, far too close thanks to university chair-placement standards, all greasy from the previous night and with the morning breath to match. Ugh. Total ugh. I took the time to have a shower, dress in fresh clothing and make myself not only presentable, but inoffensive to your olfactory glands. I appreciate the same.

While I'm discussing offensive habits, I might as well make two other observations.

You! Smartypants! No one, cares about your input on every topic discussed - this is not a class for discussion like your philosophy classes (yes, we've heard about them already!). We are here to learn and, truth be told, the professor would like to teach, but your interjections make this hard...and you are clearly becoming bothersome.

Same goes for you. I appreciate that you're asking questions and no one would deny you that. However, once you've gotten the answer you don't have to explain your incorrect thought trying to explain why you asked the question in the first place - that confuses all of us and is unnecessary word garbage when we're already trying ever so hard to sort through the words that are actually relevant to our learning.

I suppose that's all. Not directly involved in learning ancient languages, but if my environment is hard to ignore, certainly absorbing any of the knowledge given in class might be a problem.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Latin and the never-ending butt-kicking

While I was doing the dishes tonight it occurred to me that I've let myself fall right back into my habits with Latin. As in, I'm going in defeated, which is not going to help matters in any way. I didn't go back to school to take on a defeatist attitude and let this language walk all over me. As my dad would say, "Get your head outta your butt." Not exactly eloquent, but spot on in this matter. I'm giving up and I haven't even really tried. That's no good and it has to stop. Disappointingly enough, I feel this might not be the first pep talk I have to give myself on this topic.

Greek, on the other hand, is still going well. Accents were puzzling me but the information we covered today may actually help take care of that. This weekend will be key in making sure I'm on solid footing in both of these courses. I'm about to become Little Miss No Fun. Our Greek Facebook group, however, is not going very well. Less than half the class is signed up for it and no one is participating. Professor #2 and I are the only ones discussing things on the message board. I'm frustrated so I can only imagine how he's feeling. Although, he may not care...I mean, if they don't want to benefit from the added resource, what does it matter to him?

In personal news (that affects scholastic news), my headaches persist. I'm not a happy camper.

p.s. thank you to everyone who participated in my poll. If anything, it means that some people came by at one time to read this!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

dull pain

This week (ok, so I've only had two days) has been total hell from a personal perspective. I haven't had a break from these headaches, but I'm hoping with recent rain things might start to look up. As a result, however, I've had little energy to do much else than sit on the couch or lie on the bed. I don't even feel hungry. My senstivity to light is pretty high right now too, so all in all, not a great deal of progress around here.

I did, however, get my Greek homework done and had the drills completed (last week!) in advance of class today. I walked in to class while professor #2 was discussing me: our class has a Facebook group and he was mentioning that I'd posted a picture and had started the discussion board. Not exactly a great day to be even a tad late...oh well. He seemed happy I'd gotten things rolling online.

Latin is alright. I still think I'm making it harder for myself than it has to be. When I look at Wheelock, I become confused and muddled. But when I read a full piece of text, like from the 38 Latin Stories, I am able to do far better. Context is key for me it would seem. I feel bad for professor #7. I don't think the class is cutting her much slack and I really thought that as this is Latin III they would be far more interested. They're just not. I suppose I might not have been at their stage of the game either, but then, I didn't take Latin III. I kind of want to shake them and show them what bad things can happen if they don't make the effort now! (enter ghost of undergraduate past!!)

Now I think I'm going to grab a cupcake and resume moping around complaining inwardly about this headache (yes Dad, I did take something for it).

Friday, September 7, 2007

Latin III and the impossible silence

I have mixed feelings about Latin. It has become like a rotten child that I'm stuck babysitting. I can't stand it, but at the same time, I really want to love it and cherish it...even if it appears to be out to get me at times. Thankfully, a number of my fellow new classmates seem to feel the same way. There was an eerie silence when professor #7 asked how far they'd gotten in the text book. Everyone downplayed their knowledge (fine by me, I could use a refresher!) and we moved back three chapters. Professor #7 is brand new and I like her already. She seems to have a lot of patience as well, a plus!

The mark breakdown isn't as forgiving as Greek, but with my new part-time status (yes, that was in question - apparently they expected full time tuition paid for a part time course load....tricksy university!) should alleviate some stress where marks are concerned.

This weekend will be spent in relative solitude focusing on Latin. I have to get my vocab straight since class left me struggling with silly words that I've let escape.

So far I've avoided any feelings of doom or fear. I do, however, think I need to stock up on aromatherapy candles!

Fridays are the only day when I have two classes - both Greek and Latin. Remember how I did all that Greek homework to prep for class? Well, as expected, we didn't get anywhere near it in our 1.5 hours. So now I'm well ahead for Tuesday. Great, I guess. Ha ha. Totally my luck.
I have a nasty 1.5 hour break between my two classes on Fridays. I'm hoping I can use this time at the gym, not in doing Latin homework - I'd really rather have that done in advance. Doing homework in a rush has always been bad for me.

In all, first week down. Both courses attended and no real crises to report. Job well done!

Homework, episode 1

Alright, so after our first Greek class we were given homework that we'd be discussing in class. Knowing professor #2 and the law that stipulates you will always be asked to answer the question you don't have an answer to, I did hours of Greek last night. I'm talking hours. I was so paranoid that I'd make a bad showing in our first in-class drills that I did all of part 1. I began to fret that we'd do part 2 and 3 in class as well, but I was zonked, I had to sleep. More on this in the next entry.

I'm glad that I don't share an apartment or house with other people. Just James. James knows me well and ignores my quirks. This proved handy while doing my homework - I talked to myself the whole night. I'm trying to get to the point very early on where I can look at words and read out the Greek letters as quickly as I can our alphabet (I wish I could slip in a clever joke about alpha beta, but I've only had one week, give me a break). So all night it was omega, kappa, epsilon, alpha, etc. Isn't muttering to yourself a sign of genius? Anyway...

My study area needs some improvements. I'll work away on them this weekend. First of all, bad all purpose lighting has prompted me to use the overhead light, a stand up lamp and a spot lamp. Oh, and I was burning an aromatherapy candle in hopes of making positive connections between language study a pleasant mood. All this lightbulb burning, despite using compact fluorescent in the lamps, made the room hot. Options for the overhead light are being explored. The desk chair is a bad size. Now I'm carting my office desk chair into my study to work. Tedious, but I'm not dropping cash on another chair, that's just wasteful. The issue of time has also popped up - I have no idea what time it is when I'm in the study, away from the computer's clock. Granted, it might be nice not to know the time while studying. I suppose related, but not related to my study is my bag for going to and from school. I still don't have a clear front-runner in this area. I don't like backpacks, but I may have to break down - Fridays are heavy book days and if I add some gym gear too, well, that's just begging for sore muscles on my left side. Suggestions regarding uberhip and stylish yet practical bags welcome.

The one thing I've noticed is that I really, really enjoy doing homework on my new whiteboard. I'm so visual when I learn that it makes my life a helluva lot easier to be able to put everything up, deconstruct and make oodles of mistakes that wipe away. I think my love of the whiteboard is the reason I already adore Greek. Here's hoping I continue to adore Greek and that I feel as warmly toward Latin when I use the whiteboard.

Nothing further to report it would seem, unless you care about what I'm learning. So far just the alphabet, how to write the characters, accents, breathings, pronunciation etc.

Here's me and my beloved whiteboard:

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Day One, Greek

I had my first class today. This semester I will be taking both Latin and Greek. Greek is new to me.

Let's just say, I'm glad I had a grip on the alphabet before I showed up to class (thank you professor #5). That made me feel far more relaxed. While it was nice that I felt relaxed, it wasn't so nice that I felt old. It skipped my mind that in going back to school I'd also be in contact with the questionable-hygiene-far-too-young student body. That said, I'm sure my fellow classmates will have time to shower before the lunch-hour class. I hope.

As is the case with most Classics courses, our classroom was in a science building far from anything we know and love (the Arts buildings). This particular class will be held in the basement of a hallway that connects two buildings. No distracting windows with their natural sunlight here! No sir-ee. Poor professor #2 prepared a makeshift desk out of an overhead projector stand.

Classroom ambiance aside, the first class was as expected: intro, expectations, alphabet basics and so on. I must say, I'm pleasantly pleased by the marking breakdown - makes me feel like I have a fighting chance, you know, when I don't see a lot of 60%'s in any one category. Professor #2 and I had a quick chat after class. He remembers me - I told him not to remember too hard, I'd rather he not recall our first encounter. He was encouraging all the same, which was very sweet of him.

The text book was at my favourite book store - they had a fire this summer, I was worried they wouldn't be operating anymore. But they were. The smell was alarming (think beautiful musty book smell with notes of burnt wood and fresh paint). Thankfully this book is intended for three courses...what a monster in size!

That said, we have been assigned readings and drills to prepare for tomorrow on the alphabet and pronunciation. I also have my first Latin class tomorrow. Fridays, it turns out, will be my busiest day with not one, but two! two whole classes! Now I feel like having a fudgsicle....


Taking an idea from some very clever people around me I have started this blog to document my travels through ancient languages. I am, by no means, a brilliant linguist. Nor have I mastered what I've already been taught. What I am, however, is determined to make this work. I'm determined to learn and understand Latin and Greek. I am doing these courses for a qualifying year for the MA program I'm aiming to start in September of 2008. My goal, one which I feel is attainable, is an A in every course. This blog will help see me through to that goal and I'll gladly let you in on my struggle.

For background reference and the sake of transparency (and probably a giggle, for those of you who are significantly more adept at Latin than I), I'll share with your my previous experiences in this subject:

I took Latin I during Fall 2001 with a lovely professor and by mid-semester I'd dropped the course. My then-boyfriend and I were in a sorry state and hadn't put in the required time so, admitting defeat, we dropped the course and he gave me his textbook hoping to never see it's poorly laid-out type again. This explains, in advance, to all those who see my book shelves, why I have two copies of that awful book.

Latin was still required by my degree so I had to take another stab at it in 2002. Stab is quite accurate in this instance - I really just hacked away at anything, hoping to get myself through. Predictably, I didn't make it. Again. Only this time I received the deserved F from professor #2. I was more than embarrassed. I'm pretty sure on my final exam I included an apology letter written to professor #2 in a moment of extreme shame on my part.

Finally in 2004, knowing that this was my last year as an undergraduate and that not only Latin I but also Latin II would be required to graduate, I enrolled for a third time. Professor #3 bestowed the glittering and much sought-after C I required, after a heap of work on my end. I was in the clear! I had Latin I down! And I loved asking people if they had a cookie in Latin!

Remarkably, you'd think I'd have learned something in all of this. Latin II in the winter of 2005 with professor #4 was a whole new game and I didn't know the rules, nor did I show up for practice. D+, the lowest possible and still acceptable mark was attained after some very gracious extra work was supplied. By this time, professor #5 had become a most valued friend and cheerleader. Were it not for #5, things would certainly have gone awry and I'd have been left with a very sore image of myself.

Having graduated, I gave myself a break. Then it became clear that an MA was what I wanted....and my Latin marks weren't going to help me out in any way. I welcomed professor #6 in the summer of 2006 when I re-took Latin II to improve my mark and actually learn the material (sidenote: this Latin II was at a different university with a different text book - that was a shock! I had to learn their Latin I and their Latin II in order to have any hope of surviving!). With little else to fill my time during that summer (I eventually quit my job to study full time for the final exam) I gained the knowledge of basic Latin and a B+. And some much needed self-confidence.

In all, I have had 6 different professors and I can't say that any one of them was better than the other. They all knew how to teach, I lacked the ability and the understanding of how to learn. I didn't understand myself and I didn't know what my needs were. Now I feel I have a much better understanding of these things. I know how I learn. I know how to allocate my time. I know what I want and I've got the determination welling up inside me to see me through.

Translate or die is a bit extreme, I know, but given that this is a qualifying year for an MA I'd very much like to do and the history I've had with Latin, this mind-set is necessary (even if a bit tongue-in-cheek). So join me, won't you, in my day to day discovery of (hopefully) a new love of ancient languages!