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sevenfourteen's avatar

Should I continue to pursue my spanish minor despite the cons (story inside)?

Asked by sevenfourteen (2422points) October 27th, 2009

Last year I declared a spanish minor. Since then I’ve completed one class, and am currently taking my second. To graduate with a minor you must take 6 classes with a B- or better average.

I just recieved the course registration booklet from my school today, and for the next level of spanish (what I would take in the spring) I only have 1 option for teachers and she’s the teacher I have now… and I can’t stand her. She’s an ok teacher, and the class is basically memorization but she’s very rude to students and tends to spend the whole time talking down to us.

Now I have a decision because there are pros and cons of following through with this minor.. The pros are that obviously that I would graduate with a minor, that I have an A so it brings my GPA up, and it helps distract me from my major (it’s nice to study something than OT), and I would only spend one more semester with this horrible teacher.

The negatives to continue are that I pay extra to take more credits than allowed, it takes up my time (and breaks up every tues/thurs when I don’t have class), I’m really not learning anything because it’s spanish grammer when what I want to learn is spanish conversation, and this teacher is the raincloud over my entire day.

So I really don’t know where to go from here. I have a meeting with my advisor (about classes for next semester) on thursday, and I know she’ll say to drop it (she says “with your major no one will care about your minor” << not sure if she’s allowed to say that at all!! ). I really don’t know what to do!! Should I stick with it, pay the extra money and potentially boost my GPA OR say forget it, save a little (my school is 42k a year, plus another 2,100 for this class) and hope to learn spanish some other time along the way?

Can someone point out any more pros or cons that I haven’t seen that could potentially lead to a decision?

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14 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

The following does not answer your question regarding more pros and cons but may be beneficial to you anyhow:

Are there other options? Could you take the class a different term and possibly get another teacher?? Could you test out of the class and get a tutor to help you do so?? Could you take a class with similar standing at another school (if you are going to the Community College then at the University or visa versa)?? All of these options were present when I went to a University.
Don’t sell yourself short before looking into options :)

Could you tell us what your current major is?? (sorry if I missed that)

JLeslie's avatar

Hmmm. What is important when you go for a job is whether you are fluent or not. I don’t think a Spanish minor is important. I very much encourage you to pursue learning Spanish. My husband is bilingual, Spanish is his first language actually, and he has definitely benefited form it in his career both salary and position.

So, my advice is make an alternate plan to learn Spanish, but don’t worry about it being part of your degree. Maybe live in a Spanish speaking country for a semester, take private classes, or take the class you don’t want to take the following semester if it is offered with a different professor.

Darwin's avatar

Are there other courses that are easy A’s for you that would be more fun? If so, skip the minor and graze a bit. Once I got to the point of only being able to take Spanish from one particular teacher, who disliked non-Cubans, I tried taking several different languages, to fulfill my language credits requirement and for fun. I took Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, and French, and I always got A’s, plus I learned some interesting things about language.

If you really just want to learn Spanish then look for classes outside the university, hang out with clubs or groups of people that focus on speaking or learning Spanish, or see if you can find a study abroad opportunity. At the price you are paying for the class, you could easily afford Rosetta Stone, or a vacation in a Spanish-speaking country, or possibly both.

Haleth's avatar

If you have a prestigious major, your minor probably won’t get that much attention. On resumes people usually only list their degree major and where they received it. Knowing Spanish is very useful if you’re able to become fluent. Even the grammar is useful. It’s like the framework of the language, and in Spanish in particular it makes it easier to express complex ideas. Is there any way you can just take Spanish as an elective?

sevenfourteen's avatar

@RedPowerLady @Haleth – My major is occupational therapy, which I know would stand on it’s own but I’m one of those people that likes to complicate their life

@Darwin @JLeslie – I would love to study abroad but sadly with my major I’m only allowed to go to Ireland during the sophomore year (because of class requirements). I did go to Costa Rica for a few weeks with a different class but while I was there all the people I met were more interesting in trying their english with me (which I was happy to know they were learning but I ended up speaking more english than spanish)

@everyone- I never had a language requirement, and Spanish is not going to fill the 1 elective credit I have to fill but I have the biggest interest in Spanish language and am hoping one day to be bilingual because I know it will open up so many opportunities for me. I hope to go to other countries in the future (because I can’t now) but I’m afraid there’s no other way to learn the language.

Darwin's avatar

I must admit I have gotten several jobs because I was fluent in Spanish. While going to a country where they speak Spanish is one way to learn it, you can also do as I suggested and hang out with folks who routinely converse in Spanish. Also, listen to Spanish-language radio and television to train your ears to hear it better.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@sevenfourteen I think occupational therapy is a great job choice. It certainly seems that having a language under your belt would help you get jobs in that field.

avvooooooo's avatar

@sevenfourteen Just get through it. Think of it as a requirement rather than an elective and you’ll be happier while doing it. Its required for you to attain your goal, so you didn’t choose to put yourself through the torture, you were required to. But go for it.

As someone who has had some TERRIBLE Spanish teachers, I feel your pain. Then again, the fact that I had a new one every semester from a different place and speaking at least a marginally different language and could never get anywhere because I was starting over every time didn’t help.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

My thoughts are nearly opposite to @avvooooooo.‘s
If you dislike the professor and she doesn’t teach well, you’re wasting time and money, because you won’t learn as much as you would under favorable circumstances, and you’ll dread it besides. Your course of study should not torture you. If it does, then you’re going down the wrong path.

Your adviser is right in saying that no one will really care about the Spanish minor. It’s interesting, but not even necessarily an indication of fluency, which is more important. I would wait to take the next class with another instructor if you’re still interested in learning Spanish, and just take as many classes as you can before you graduate. Really learning the language is far more important than the little official recognition on your diploma will ever be.

Instead, maybe find some interesting elective to fill that requirement next semester.

sevenfourteen's avatar

@Darwin – I was attempting that when I worked at a restaraunt last year (the cooks all spoke fluent spanish) but they didn’t speak english very well and the things I learned definately represented the dirtier side of the language
@RedPowerLady thanks, that’s my reason for trying to stick with it.
@avvooooooo @Beta_Orionis you are the two sides of the argument… and I have an elective I have to take, but I have the option of an online class (much easier) during the summer. This is the two sides of the “what if”.. if only I could see into the future

JLeslie's avatar

@sevenfourteen yes, one of the problems in many Spanish speaking countries is many of the people know some or are fluent in English, and once they can tell you are a gringa they switch to English, especially in tourist areas. If you are living there this will happen less. Supermarkets, local restaurants, shopping malls will have fewer people who speak English, and you will have Spanish all around you.

I am not fully bilingual, but I speak Spanish fairly well. My Spanish became much better when I lived with my mother and father-in-law for three months who barely spoke English at the time. I certainly can speak retail Spanish, I worked in retail for years. Which brings me to another point, learning the vocabulary for your profession is very important, I would put some focus on that. I know the parts of a garment in Spanish better than my husband, and he grew up in Mexico. For that matter when we were dating he interveiwed with Pepsi International in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the interview was in Spanish, which surprised him. He did not know some of the business words in Spanish, because he went to college here in the US. Just another point of knwoing the vocabulary specific to your profession. He did get the job by the way.

JLeslie's avatar

One last thing, when it is difficult to make a decision it means both options are good, that is why it is difficult. So if you can, try not to get too stressed over it and just do what you want to do, and think less about which is the better choice. I hope that makes sense.

avvooooooo's avatar

Just write “Yes” on one piece of paper, “No” on another and eenie meenie it out. :D

Kayak8's avatar

I think two things may be getting scrambled together that are unrelated:

1) It sounds like you want to learn Spanish (and have tried a few alternative methods in addition to school to do so).

2) A career in OT will get you hired rather easily (even in the absence of being bi-lingual).

Learning OT and learning Spanish are interconnected only by your desire to learn these two things simultaneously. You may have an opportunity to combine both interests or it may be that you have to address each learning desire at different times in your life rather than at the same time.

You have mentioned that this is an expensive way to learn Spanish but maybe because it is expensive, you would feel guilty or something if you took a less stressful elective. It may also be that you are worried about the opportunity to learn Spanish outside a college environment (or that you will stick with your learning goal).

College minors can be really important to some majors but OT isn’t one of them and you have already indicated that you are not getting the conversational experience that you want in Spanish at this school and from this teacher . . .

Your GPA is important to your graduating—in the real world, it is rare that one’s GPA is taken into account when looking for a job if one is credentialed in something. So the minor and trying to raise your GPA is not critical unless you are in danger of not graduating.

Remind me again the benefit from taking this last Spanish elective?

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