Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that I am indeed still alive and safely back at school. The month of January here is pretty busy as I am enrolled in an intensive, three-week Hebrew study in which we spend 6 hours a day five days a week in Hebrew class. It's intended to get us through the entire second semester of Hebrew in three weeks so needless to say, it's super intense. Spending six hours a day in class is not the easiest, let me tell you. Fortunately, at least for me the language is proving to not be that big a challenge and I have found myself doing really well on everything so far and managing to keep up with the class assignments. The coolest part is that we have actually started reading passages out of the Hebrew Bible and translating them into English. It's really awesome that we are already able to do that. It's been really neat to read the Bible in its original language as we then spend time discussing why various versions translate certain words the way they do. It's also been interesting to see how the original Hebrew is not always the most precise or cleaned up. The original Hebrew can be very hard to follow and at times very frustrating to try and translate. It's been a good exercise though and the original reason why I wanted to take the language.
After spending six hours in class, you can imagine that I am not really doing much else. My brain is so dead by the time I get done that all I can do the rest of the day is just hang out in my bed and watch a movie or something. While I personally enjoy learning a language in an intensive setting like this, I also acknowledge that it can be very draining. I can only imagine what some of my classmates are feeling right about now. I tend to pick up languages pretty easily so I'm managing just fine but I really feel for those people in my class who have a more difficult time learning them. The intensive language setting is not the best setting for everyone so I really do understand their concerns there. I personally prefer it because of how my brain works but I can see how others would not enjoy it as much. Plus, I like the fact that it's my only class right now so I can focus all of my time on Hebrew unlike last semester where I had to devote time to my other classes as well so Hebrew sometimes got pushed aside. Being able to focus on one class is nice for a change. Personally, I think we are going a little bit slower than I would like but as I've said since the beginning, if going slow means I make an A, then I will gladly take going slow!!
As for everything else, it's been going well. Christmas was okay but I was so ready to get back to school and my friends here. One thing that being back in Texas made me realize was just how few friends I really have there anymore. I spent most of my time there being really bored as I have so few friends around anymore. I did manage to see some people but for the most part, I was at home by myself watching three or four movies a day!! Don't get me wrong, it was nice to have some lazy days on the couch but it would have been nice to have seen more people and have had more plans. Oh well, maybe the next time I come back (although I don't know when that will be as I don't have any trips scheduled anytime soon).
The main thing I've been struggling with since being back is trying to rein in my inner competitiveness/overachieving perfectionist tendencies. I made really good grades last semester (some of the best I've ever made in my entire academic career) yet I'm having trouble being proud of them because I know a) that I could have done better and b(that so many of my classmates did do better than me so I find myself in a real quandary here. How do I appreciate what I have (some outstanding grades and a really great GPA, especially for my first semester of graduate school) without being upset with myself for not doing as well as other people? This is something I've really been wrestling with and haven't really figured out yet. I guess I just need to pray for some guidance and some inner peace. I did achieve my goal of making at least a 3.0 GPA and I didn't flunk out so in that sense, I'm a success. Why, then, do I feel like the "village idiot"? Why can't I be happy for myself and be proud of myself for how I did? There are times when my competitiveness/perfectionism can be a huge asset but this is not one of those times. What is preventing me from being happy for myself? Something I think I'm really going to need to work on. I need to start accepting the fact that there will always be someone better than me at everything I do but that doesn't mean that I didn't do my best. There is absolutely no reason why I can't be appreciative for others along with myself.
Anyway, I will close this off. I don't have class tomorrow since it's a holiday but since I have a mid-term on Tuesday, I will be spending tomorrow studying as I am determined to make an A in Hebrew this term!! Our professor is great, at least, and keeps class interesting and fun. She's also a big Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings nerd so we get along just fine because of that. She constantly makes Potter or Rings references in class and I can't help but nod along and smile and then wonder about the people who aren't getting those references. Her best advice to us this entire semester in regards to Hebrew is "just take it one Orc at a time". I think that's pretty good advice for life actually so that's what I am going to leave you with today. "Take it one orc at a time."