I remember this like it was yesterday! It was the end of my freshmen year in college and I was waiting for test results from a certain German subject.
Most of you know by now that I’ve studied German language, but the important fact was that my knowledge of German language from high school was a little bit above ZERO! Actually, the only thing I knew how to say in correct German was: “Ich heisse Iva, ich bin 18.”
No joke, you guys…those were the only words I knew while at the same time being surrounded by students who spoke it almost, if not, fluently! Have I had known that certain level of knowledge was prerequisite to study German, I would probably though twice before applying!
During my first year at collage, I was buzzing like a dumb bee, not knowing which direction the flower was.
I felt defeated, not worthy, humiliated
So, like I wrote, I stood there in front of a professor’s office waiting it to be my turn to come in and see if I passed the exam and eventually he invited me in. His office was small and filled with books, but one thing stood out for me in particularly.
There was a picture of a Norwegian landscape above his writing desk. So, to open a conversation, while he was browsing through tests to find mine, I said: “What a beautiful picture of Norway, I always dreamed of going there one day.” He agreed with me, also saying that he speaks Norwegian, but never had a chance to visit the country either. And then he found my exam…
I don’t remember what percentage did I have, but I will NEVER forget his words!
Dear Colleague…you are a failure! There’s no other word to describe what you are, besides that. Not only you don’t know morphology, you DON’T KNOW WHAT GERMAN IS! I would suggest that you QUIT this instant and go study something else, because you will never in this world speak German!
I was devastated…on the brink of crying I left his office, struggling not to lose it in front of the other students. I felt defeated, not worthy, humiliated…the list continues. After I got it together, I knew he was right about one thing, I needed to learn the language and fast, but I wasn’t going to allow him to bully me into quitting!
So I sat down in front of my laptop and got myself a 10 month job in Cologne in West Germany, “froze” a study year and informed my parents. Thank God for my understanding and supportive parents! Wouldn’t be here where I am without them!
In that year, not only did I learn to speak German fluently, but I also grew stronger as a person. I came back and earned my degree in German studies in spite of he had said to me!
Never give up, be fearless
So I encourage you all never to give up, be fearless!! No matter what they say, anything is possible if you set your mind towards it! Now in life, I choose to be a photographer and I’m sure that I will stumble on a discouraging person like that again! And when that time comes, I will prove them wrong again!
About my professor…he still sits in his little office looking at the picture of Norway on his wall! And me…I’m going there this summer! 😉