Why the heck did I put myself trough this? This is not usually something you’d hear from a first-year student on their first day of University. You’re probably thinking the reason why I’m saying this is because I was already overwhelmed with the amount of reading or assignments due in the next few days but that’s not my case.  Okay, back to the story, my head was spinning as I listened to this older man who oddly introduced himself as middle-aged, sorry sir but you’re not middle aged I thought to myself. Although this is generally the protocol for the first lecture, this did not seem normal to me. Not because he was old, not because he talked about himself for an hour but because of the language he was using.

The man was not speaking gibberish, although to me it was somewhat alien, he was speaking English!

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“DUHHHH THIS IS AN ENGLISH INSTITUTION…”

Yes of course it is, and I’m sure the other 100 students were expecting him to speak this language but the 14 years spent in French education forced my brain to question what was happening.

Hello my name is Danica and English is not my first language, in fact, the English language scares me a lot.

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Thousands of people applied to this top university, yet I was questioning if it was the right thing to do. Thousands of people would love to be in my shoes but I was wondering if I should quit while I was ahead.

Writing, reading, grammar and even speaking properly, in English that is, was never a priority during my school career. Instead, the school focused its energy on keeping its student’s francophone.  Grade school English consisted of about an hour a week of reading some form of literature and answering questions, and (big surprise) high school wasn’t much more of an upgrade than that. In grade 10, my “English teacher” (who had no previous experience teaching English, she had a B.A in French) taught us about the essay or the hamburger writing thingy. No word of a lie, her explanation was the stupidest thing I had ever heard, first she said we have the bun that’s an introduction, then we have the meat, this will be your development and then we have the other bun, the conclusion. Then she tried to convince me that she was going to show us how to write an essay. Sure thing madame (miss) English teacher.

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Looking back at the hamburger approach, I consider it to be very childish and not as descriptive as I think its intended to be, yet it was used through my years of high school. I was a 17-year-old following directions from a hamburger with googly eyes and clown feet. That sounds like it belongs in the class of 8-year old’s, not an almost adult. Excuse me miss, which part of the essay is the clown feet for?

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I never really enjoyed writing anything in school, partially because I didn’t really know how and partially because of my lack of interest for the classes I was in. I’ve always been more of a discussion type of person and I would avoid having to write anything like the plague.

Has high school prepared me for university? Nope, not in the slightest way. It is not only the aspect of learning in a non-native tongue but also the fact that the teachers held our hands, never gave us any sort of freedom or taught us how to be independent. The only thing that is comforting is hearing other say the exact same thing as me, that high school does not prepare us for post-secondary education.

Last but not least, I seriously want to thank Google translate and auto correct in advance for helping me through this crazy experience.

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