20 Things I’ve Learned During Two Years of Late French Immersion

I didn’t know that two years ago, when I was a little bundle of nerves on the first day of Grade 7, I was in  for one of the sweetest treats of my life so far: Late French Immersion. Now looking back on these past years, I can’t believe that they’re finished and I came out alive and well.

The late French immersion program is meant to teach it’s students French in two years, and bring them up to the level of the continuing immersions, who’ve been in French since elementary. We (the lates) stay separate from the continuings for Grade 7 and 8 and then we join forces in Grade 9, so to speak.

To be honest, I was so tired by the end of June that I really didn’t want to give a thought to school for the next two months, I guess I needed some time to let it all sink in. But, without further ado, let’s jump right into it:

1. You can never have enough paper.

Always, always, always, always have an extra stash somewhere, because even if it’s incoherent doodling or the notes for your next open book social test, you’ll always be needing more.

2. Conjugation and grammar workbooks and drills will be your best friend and worst nightmare.

They can be the reason you master passé composé in two weeks, and also the reason why you have cramps and chicken-scratch writing for the rest of the day.

3. Google Translate will haunt you every time you’re procrastinating on that FLA project at midnight.

Need I say more?

4. The French keyboard will be the death of you.

Until you Google it up, good luck trying to find those quotation and question marks for that ELA essay.

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5. Trying to find the spelling of a word in the so-called ‘Petit’ Robert will be a ten-minute job.

And when you do find it, make sure you take note of the page because you’ll be coming back for the masculine and feminine of the word in two minutes.

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6. It will also be the end of the world when your teacher tries to be economic in paper and tells you not to write on the test.

But, what about those last-minute conjugations I was stuffing into my head? Where will I scribble them all out?

7. There will always be an exception in every type of conjugation that you try to learn.

Don’t get me started on the exceptions in the exceptions.

8. Until you learn the names of all the accents, it’s gonna be the ‘hat accent’ and the ‘left, oh wait, my left, your right accent’.

I think I’ve spent three days of my life trying to figure out which way the accent is pointing.

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9. There will always be that awkward moment when you see your teacher outside of class and you don’t know whether to say hi in French or English.

And when you DO choose, 99% of the time your teacher chose the other language so you have this awkward bilingual conversation where you say: Je vais go hiking cette weekend avec ma family.

10. Not being able to remember some words that will be beneficial to you in your educational career, but also never being able to write some words in English again.

Italian will always be Italien to me and I will never be taking danse classes.

11. You can never make everyone happy.

There will always be that one teacher, classmate, or random person who will always rub you the wrong way. You just have to keep your cool and show respect, easier said than done though.

12. But, you will meet some unforgettable people.

Sure, some people may hate your guts, but 95% of the population will make your school day a paradise.

13. Everything will pass.

Even if you have two projects due, three tests to write, and about a billion things to do this week, trust me, you’ll survive.

14. You can’t control what people say, but you can control how you react to it.

Even though this may be cliché, it still proves very true and I wish I had learned this earlier.

15. Anxiety and negative thoughts can either hold you back and push you forward.

In my early days of late French, I was so nervous that when I was called on, I would say something like: Je ne talk pas bon French. But soon, every ‘you can’t’ that came to torture me, I would turn it into, ‘you got this.’

16. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and relax, because you will look back, and look at all the great opportunities that you missed.

17. Failure is the foundation for success.

This may be super cliché, but still deems true. A failed quiz tells you what you should pay attention to in the final.

18. Nobody is watching you. 

So go ahead, laugh louder, smile wider, cry harder, and enjoy life.

19. The only competition you have is with yourself.

The only person you should compare yourself with is yesterday’s you.

20. Sometimes you need to let go of someone. Whether it’s an old friend, a teacher that’s leaving, whoever, if they’re trying to hold back your success and are constantly occupying your mind when they shouldn’t be, let go. It may sting at first, but your future self will look back on you and thank you.

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