For all of you concerned about the French requirement, let this post reassure you that if I can do it, so can you. I know it sounds like a cliché (haha) but in all seriousness, it’s the truth. I was admitted to Glendon without even knowing that it existed. Through a glitch in the online application system, I was admitted to the Glendon campus instead of Keele. I had dropped French after grade nine, supposedly knowing at the age of 14 that French was not for me. Needless to say, when my acceptance letter included the words French and Bilingual in the program title, I was a little bit confused… and concerned. I mean, my only experience with French since the ninth grade was reading the other side of juice and cereal boxes, so it was safe to say that French wasn’t something that I was especially keen about. Plus I was planning on majoring in English, so the thought of studying another language seemed ridiculous at the time. What was the point?
After I explained to the Glendon admissions department about my situation and how it must be a mistake, I asked if they could contact someone at the Keele campus to fix my admission status. The woman on the other line could sense the anxiousness in my voice and asked what I was so concerned about. I explained to her that I had dropped French as soon as I could in high school and would be lost in a university French class at Glendon. She said that she had heard all of this before and told me about how at Glendon, for the English program, I would find myself in classes that were roughly thirty to fifty people for the most part. To my knowledge, a class that small in university was almost unheard of. I had always thought that university classes would be in massive lecture halls with 700 people in them, but the thought of a more relaxed atmosphere definitely settled my nerves a bit.
I asked her if I had to take French every year and she explained how the French requirement at Glendon worked and how I could start off at a level I felt most comfortable in and work my way up from there. She told me that my French would be assessed and I would be placed accordingly along with other students of the same level, and if I didn’t like the program, I could transfer to the main campus along with all of my other credits. I thought what the heck and decided to accept, seeing French as a means to an ends, a necessary evil. This would change.
During the French placement test, one of the questions asked me to write a paragraph describing what I did over my summer vacation, and since I hadn’t written anything in French for almost four years I wrote the only French phrase that would come to mind: “Où est la bibliothèque?” I felt that this was an adequate response to the question, given my situation. I was originally placed in FSL 1100, and when I asked them if this was the lowest level and they said no, I asked them to place me in the lowest one because I had absolutely zero confidence in my ability to grasp French. And so, on my very first day at Glendon, Monday at 9 am, I had FSL 1000.
Since that fateful glitch in the system had me wind up at this bilingual university in the middle of Toronto, I am in the process of finishing the bilingual requirement in my third year (currently taking the final course now) and have completed a five week immersion program in Chicoutimi, Québec. From my experiences I look forward to graduating with a bilingual distinction and feel more Canadian in doing so, although I still won’t ever cheer for the Habs. Ever. So for all of you who think that taking French at Glendon isn’t for them, I urge you to take a chance. Challenge yourself.
P.S, this is how I felt after that first class.