Thursday, October 05, 2006

Written fluency in at least one foreign language highly preferred

My job interview is at 10:30 tomorrow morning. I'm spending today preparing. The company (which is so awesome that I really wish I was gutsy enough to tell all of you the details) has been awesome with letting me know how the interview is going to go (they came straight out and told me to expect to be there for three hours, which I appreciate) and what I should do to be ready for it.

Everything is so straightforward that it's made me a wreck.

I've researched and studied and memorized. When I am being reasonable and logical, I know that I'm as prepared as I can be. Most of the time, however, I am terrified that I am missing a huge and crucial piece of knowledge that will make the difference in me getting (or not getting) this job.

There's also something in the job description that really, really scares me. It's this sentence: "Written fluency in at least one foreign language highly preferred."

I took Spanish in high school. Not fluent. I studied Italian in college. Not fluent.

And my college transcripts definitely show it.

I took Italian 101 during the first semester of my freshman year. I passed it, largely due to a teacher who was straight from Italy (read: she had painfully low expectations) and a good deal of studying.

In Italian 102, which I took during my second semester, I struggled. I studied and studied, at the expense of my other classes, but I couldn't get ahead. I was horrified. I'd never failed a class and I was on the verge of it. At the suggestion of my professor and my academic advisor, I withdrew from the class.

That summer, I enrolled in Italian 101 at the college my mom teaches at. I thought it'd be a good refresher and, due to my mom's position, I took the class for free. It was a win-win situation. I passed the class but I wasn't the superstar. And I probably should've been. After all, I'd already taken the class.

In the fall, I reenrolled in Italian 102.

And I bombed again.

I studied my ass off. My nose was continually to the preverbal grindstone. Still, I had no luck. The professor, who happened to be the same one I had the first time I'd tried Italian 102, suggested I try to waive my language requirement. She saw how I was struggling. She knew I was trying. I was putting in the work but I wasn't getting the results.

For students like me, the University administers the ASVAB - Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Test - and, if you do shitty enough on it, will grant you a waiver of the four-semester language requirement.

I must've done pretty shitty. I got the waiver. Instead of language classes, I was required to take four courses rooted in the study of one culture instead.

The entire experience was very humbling. I'm a smart girl; I'm not accustomed to failure. Especially on such a grand scale. That waiver felt like an announcement, a fact: you are incapable of learning a foreign language. You have no hope.

And that, kids, is why I don't have written fluency in a foreign language.

Now here's the question: if I'm asked if I have written fluency in a foreign language do I:
a. just say no
b. say no and start crying and begging for forgiveness
c. say no and explain that my strong grasp on the English language makes up for it
d. say no and explain the circumstances around my foreign language retardation any my glorious failure of the ASVAB

They have a copy of my transcripts - they can certainly see the withdraw and the failure (which, unfortunately, I had to take because the University wouldn't consider granting a waiver without one).

I'm really not sure how to approach this. Provide details and let them see my weakness? Offer no explanation?

Help me.

I suck at having shortcomings.


Mrs. Architect said...

Be honest, and be yourself, but find a positive spin on it. No, I'm not fluent, but I have a background to build on for the future, if needed. yadda yadda positive yadda yadda positive yadda yadda

Plantation said...

Elle hit the nail on the head. Be honest and make a positive out of it. You've taken classes and you're a quick study and can pick up anything in a hurry, right? Good luck, deary.

Amy said...

They saw your transcripts and your resume and they asked YOU for an interview. They can see your abilities on paper, so simply be honest and positive. If they ask, I would ask them what percentage of the position relied upon this ability, or how it applied to the position and see if it's something you can work around. Good luck!! Prayers are with you!

scrapperjen said...

Be you! Your transcripts and resume and YOU speak volumes!!!!!!! Good luck and my fingers are crossed for you!

A said...

Dear Ali and PT and Amy and Jen and Anyone and Everyone,

I love you. I love your support. You're too nice to me. XOXOX

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