Learning a new language is not easy, and as a consequence neither are its courses. Mathematics and the sciences are also languages, and language is something that one can never be fully fluent in, even for native speakers, who occasionally err orthographically and grammatically.
As a math major who speaks six languages and is fluent in four out of six, I may easily assert that with learning a language comes an expectation to put in a considerable and consistent amount of time and effort into gaining something fruitful out of it. Having taken the entire French sequence at the University of Michigan with only a year of studying the language before college, I used to perceive the grading for these French courses as stringent, and the workload only exacerbated my anguish.
However, upon taking Asian language and German courses I realized how erroneous I was. Language courses are difficult, though there are certain aspects of the language (such as pronunciation, three genders for nouns, or a completely different character system) that differentiates difficulty. Additionally, points are deducted for seemingly trivial faults, but with good intention and the end goal of facilitating a strong language foundation, which I now greatly appreciate.
The rigor of these and other courses make quotidian college life hard. However, we consent to the schedules that we construct and should be accountable and responsible to meet them. As already mentioned by language instructors at the beginning of the semester, course expectations should be taken with a grain of salt since the required time to finish an assignment and learn a new concept is relative for each student. The “A” grade that a student receives is thus not contingent upon whether the student is “better” at French but upon the amount of effort and determination put in to make as few errors as possible.
Mohamed Adam Mohamed Azlan is an LSA senior.