Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No More Pencils, No More Books...

... you all know how this finishes, right?

School is done.

I took four tests last week:
1) French Cinema
2) France and Europe (politics)
3) Phoetics
4) Written exam (grammar, conjugation, essay, reading comprehension, listening comprehension)

and today I ACED my verbal French exam. It consisted of choosing from a hat one of 8 texts the teacher had decided upon, preparing in the back of the room (with a blank text--not my own, and no dictionary) while another student had their exam, and then sitting down with two professors, reading out loud to them, and then giving a summary of the text, my own thoughts, and answering any vocabulary questions they had for me.

The student before me struggled a little bit with knowing the vocabulary for his text, and they asked him a lot of questions, so that's what I expected for mine. But after I read a sample of the text, my professor said, "Okay, the time is yours."

That's it?? The student before me at least got a, "Okay, so what do you think of the relationship between these two characters?"

So, I just talked for a few minutes. Essentially, here is the idea of the text and a general idea of what I said:
My text was from the Lettres Philosophiques by Voltaire. This particular letter was about how the willingness of British subjects to be involved in commerce created additional liberties for them as indiviuals, helped the State at large to progress, and even helped the mighty British navy to become what it was at that time.
Voltaire compares this to the Germans, who he said were too obsessed with discovering and proving their noble ancestry to be involved in business affairs, and the French, who he said could buy a title for the right price, then spent the rest of their lives thinking the most important information they would need to know was what time the king arose and retired, all while looking down their noses at the merchants.

His point was that even though the merchants in France might be ashamed of themselves because they hear themselves spoken of so degradingly all the time, they were doing more to help the country progress than the "powdered" courtisans.

Interesting, no? I thought it was, anyway.

After I gave my schpiel, the two professors said, "Very good. Really, very good. Ummmm..." and then they looked for vocabulary to ask me about. But, sneaky like I am, I had purposefully used all of the difficult words in my summary, so they knew I understood them.

So, that was it. They thanked me and sent me on my way.

Yep, I'm awesome.

(Well, today I felt awesome. Ask me about my conjugation skills some other time.)


Erin said...

Wow. I am very impressed. I think I would have been like the guy before you: "Euh...."

Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...

One of the biggest problems that nations face is the accumulation and distribution of wealth. It's been the subject of some interesting philosophical discussions forever. Wealth generates influence, influence is used for power, and power corrupts. So wealth can lead to corruption. We have problems with that in almost every society. Back in the day, England was very good at accumulating wealth, but not at distributing it. The merchants were insanely wealthy, and while they couldn't buy the titles (like they could in France, Poland, or other countries) they could buy influence, which is just as valuable. Thus, you have the entire British army going to protect tea (and opium) production in Afghanistan and India, the British Navy protecting commerce, etc. Of course it's in the interest of a country to protect it's commerce. But the predatory and monopolistic approaches engaged in by the British made it too top heavy... Thus it diminished to the quaint little island country it is today. The United States is on much the same path with a lot of things - such that the President of China comes to visit Bill Gates at his house...

Anyway, congratulations on finishing up your school year. Wow. What am I going to find to comment on when you're back in Utah?!? I'm sure we'll think of something... :-)

Denise said...

You are indeed awesome. I hope you are there for a little longer to feed us tidbits about your adventures. I love them.

Sarah said...

Erin: I doubt it! Your French is obviously better than you give yourself credit for. But that's what I was afraid would happen to me, too. I was so glad I pulled the text I did from the pile.

Bill: I seriously wish we could do lunch and chat about all of these things... but I guess blog land and Facebook will have to do for now. :) Thanks for always sharing your thoughts.

Denise: Thank you! (And thank you--I am here for 4 more weeks, and I promise to keep sharing!) :)

amy said...

I miss you, smartie pants! Congrats on all your tests!