Lost in Translation

Time for another story from the misadventures of Lauren Michele Stewart! Just kidding. This tale is actually very thought-provoking. *GASP*

Back in my college days Spanish dramas were my escape from reality, Isabel, Los Hombres de Paco, & Un paso adelante being my personal favorites. On top of that, I listened to a lot of Spanish music in an attempt to perfect my ear for the beautiful language of España. Never in a million years did I think that music and TV shows in another language would affect me around English speakers, but it did indeed happen. One day while I was in class, my ears started to interpret English in a different way. At first I thought I was just extremely tired, which is normal for a student, but careful listening proved that I was indeed hearing what sounded like the only other language in my life: Spanish. At one point I silently prayed that the teacher and students wouldn’t talk to me because I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Even though I was hearing a familiar language, my brain wasn’t distinguishing the words. After a few minutes everything went back to normal, but I never forgot what happened.

The experience gave me a higher level of respect for both polyglots and immigrants learning a foreign language. I wasn’t necessarily scared or overwhelmed, but it was unexpected and left me feeling disoriented. I don’t necessarily have a moral or a mind-blowing message to share with you. I just thought the experience was unique, something I’d never heard of before. I wish my tongue had miraculously become bilingual in that moment and remained so. 😂 As a side note, I highly recommend utilizing television and music as immersion techniques for learning a language. I am by no means fluent, but I understand a decent chunk of Castilian Spanish. I refer to a specific type because that is what my ears are accustomed to; I have a very hard time understanding accents outside of Spain. 🇪🇸

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– Lauren Michele <3

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College Graduation – One Year Later

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One year ago today, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  I have struggled with doubt post-graduation.  My memories are vivid, but emotionally and physically I feel as though those three years never happened.  Sometimes a moment will suddenly come to mind and shock me; my response is “Oh my gosh!  That really happened!”  Feeling like the early mornings and sleepless nights never happened makes me doubt how hard I worked and if my achievement is really an impressive accomplishment.  I look at the people in my life continuing their education, and, in my brain, I look lazy in comparison.  Of course that is ridiculous, but I still struggle nonetheless.

On my first day of college,I spent my one hour break crying in a bathroom stall and telling my parents over the phone that I couldn’t finish.  They encouraged me to at least finish my first day and go from there.  I was focused on holding back tears the entire time, but I did make it through my second class.  The rest of the week was horrible, an experience I will never forget.  I slept on the couch and barely ate anything.  My fear was so intense, it made me physically ill.  It was a “Slower Than Molasses” process, but, week by week, I felt better.  I did not like my major.  There were photographers more experienced than me.  I had formal critiques every week.  Every step of the way, I felt like I was fighting against a wall.  I wanted to be anyplace but there, and yet I refused to let myself fail.  I survived!  I made it all the way through and walked a stage in front of a few hundred people to receive my degree.  It all happened so fast, but it did happen; I have the piece of paper to prove that.

Enough of the self-doubt and self-pity!!  I did not get myself through college.  God and the unwavering support of my family pushed and pulled me all the way to the finish line.

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Words will never be enough to express my gratitude. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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*** To those of you currently attending college, you are doing great.  Don’t give up!  You can make it through! ***

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*** To those of you who have graduated college, congratulations!  Please do not doubt yourself.  What you have accomplished took a lot of sacrifice, hard work, and dedication. ***

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Shout out to my fellow “Class of 2014” graduates!!  :D :D :D :D :D

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– Lauren Michele <3

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