Julie Lyles Carr: The French Major Speaks...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The French Major Speaks...

1 of 8 is wrapping up her second week at the Big University, backpack full of notes, head full of dreams, calendar full of test dates.  She's graciously let me borrow her camera memory card and a few minutes of her time to reflect on her path from homeschool to a dual-credit community college program to the Big Twelve.  Here's the last part of our 'interview' as she shared with me different thoughts about her experience...


What has been the biggest surprise in going into the traditional classroom after many years of 'dining room table' instruction?

Well, my first day of college when I started at the community college, I was really, really freaked out. I felt like I was going to throw up because I just didn't know what to expect. I had done well homeschooling but I didn't know how well I was going to transition.

What might have helped you feel more prepared for that first day at the community college? What could we have improved upon?

I don't think there was anything that you guys could have specifically done. I think that community college was a great way to bridge the gap between homeschooling and a four year university. Community college brought bigger classes than I was used to, but they were still around 25 to 30 people, whereas now one of my classes has about 350. I think I would have been nervous either way, but what I really needed to do and what I was able to do was to jump right in. I ended up spending that first class in something I have ended up being very passionate about. J'adore le français!

You've also decided to double major in neuro biology.  What precipitated that decision?

In going to the community college system, I was able to find out in what I was interested.  I had always been fascinated by the brain and had initially wanted to be a psychology major.  But through the course of taking classes in other sciences, I realized that the brain from a biological point of view interested me more.  My majors aren't necessarily related except for the fact they are two things I enjoy learning about.

I always loved the response you would get when people would ask you what you thought you might want to major in in college and you would say, "I just want to learn." Tell me about the typical reaction you would receive.

Generally my answer would be met with raised eyebrows, although I never met anyone who was thoroughly opposed to the idea.  As compared to other people my age, it's kind of an unconventional way of approaching college.  I heard a statistic that on average a person will change their career about eight times over the course of his or her life.  I've met many adults who've majored in one field and now work in a completely unrelated field.  So I figured I would take this opportunity to learn as much as possible and to learn what I enjoy and see what opportunities come along.

At this point, what aspects of your homeschool experience seem to be serving you well and which aspects are presenting challenges?

The emphasis that we always placed on learning how to learn has taken me so far in my college career.  My ability to be able to look up information for myself has been invaluable.  Challenges?  Not really any challenges, maybe just this observation.  I had considered doing a degree online, but after just two weeks on my new campus, it's been amazing to meet so many people.  I don't know that I would be in a sorority or whatever, but I do see the merit of the breadth of experiencing such a diverse population.  We always had a wide variety of friends; it's not that I wasn't 'socialized'.  It's just invigorating to meet so many new people.  I also have a far greater opportunity to speak French with people who are likewise passionate about the language, along with meeting French exchange students and spending time with them.  That is a unique aspect of being on campus.

I have some more thoughts and 'lessons learned' to share.  And some of you may have questions.  Ask away. And we'll keep updating you as we walk through this new chapter.  Viva le homeschool!

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