Friday, April 30, 2010

"A Trip to the Farm"

Second year University French was mandatory in the premed class at Manitoba. I entered second year with one previous high school year of French background. It soon became apparent that I was way out of my depth and destined for disaster! Most of the class was from St. Boniface and were doing the course to refine their own working language, and to belong to the French Club which met regularly. I was sitting with a senior student in the cafeteria and must have had a doleful look as I ate my bag lunch. I shared my dilemma with him, as my cause seemed hopeless at that stage. I saw no way out. He listened to my tale of woe, my putative career gradually eroding away, failure looming large. "Hey listen", he said," If you get out the old final exams in French for the last ten years you will see that there is always 50% of the mark for an essay in French. They give you a choice of topics and if you write an essay on "a trip to the farm" it'll apply to most of the topic choices." I received a glimmer of hope from my rescuer, but I'm sure I looked dubious. However, what that sage said was true! The topic choices in the exam papers I reviewed included, An Exciting Experience (a trip to the farm), What You Did Last Summer (a trip to the farm), An Enjoyable Trip (a trip to the farm). This was a straw I was willing to grasp. Before the examinations I carefully crafted a French essay, letter perfect , accent perfect, on "a trip to the farm". Sure enough, the Angel I met at lunch over my bologna sandwich was right! My essay fit three out of the ten topic choices. I scraped through French with little to spare. I learned a lot though, that you don't always need talent to succeed if you have a will and a way out . P.P.D. (Persistence Pays Dividends).

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to assume that a similar story could be related for a Mandarin speaking second year medical student required to pass an exam in Cantonese wherein an essay on "a trip down the Yangtse" would also tick all the boxes.