TJCL Torch 2018 Fall Torch - Page 15

Pen to Paper As I put pen to paper, and wrote down ‘Latin I’ on my high school course registration sheet in the spring of the eighth grade, I had high hopes for myself. I had dreams of becoming a doctor - a surgeon, specifically - and was excited to receive a head start on medical terminology. After all, everyone told me that half of the medical jargon was derived from Latin roots. This goal of entering the medical field fueled my initial interest in the classical language; I quickly made plans to take Latin all the way up to the Advanced Placement level. I thought my plan was impeccable, and the thought of acing all my future vocabulary tests in medical school inspired me to excel in my Latin class. However, come the end of freshman year, my interest in the medical field waned significantly. Suddenly, the thought of working in a dimly-lit, sterile hospital for the better half of my adult life gave me chills. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I wasn’t sure what my next career plan was going to be, but I was certain it would not involve an M.D.. As I continued with Latin II that year, my fading interest in becoming a doctor was concurrent with a fading interest in the Latin language. I lost my enthusiasm for the class, and I couldn’t help but regret not taking Spanish, French, or another, you know, spoken language as my foreign language requirement. I was regretful, I didn’t understand why anybody who wasn’t on the path of becoming a doctor would take such a vested interest in the course. After all, there were four hundred million people on Earth who spoke Spanish, and how many who spoke Latin? My apathetic attitude stuck around for the remainder of my sophomore year. When it came time for class registrations in February, I decided to sign up for another year of Latin.  I recall thinking that it wouldn’t be the best idea, but it would be much better than, say, another science class. So, I put pen to paper again and wrote down ‘Latin III’ in the elective section of my course registration sheet. Fast forward six months, and I am so glad I stuck with this incredible language. At the age of sixteen, I have discovered that I have a passion for politics and international affairs and wish to build a career in them in the future, but that doesn’t discount from the priceless lessons my Latin class teaches me on a weekly basis. The skill of dissecting sentences into their separate parts has helped me tremendously in English and writing class. The extensive study of derivatives and roots has blessed me with the capability of discovering a word’s meaning before I ever resort to a dictionary to find it. The unique and diverse makeup of my Latin class has provided me with countless friendships that I treasure. The driven and determined members of my school’s JCL chapter inspire and challenge me to be my very best. I’m not sure you can find these in other, more common and homogeneous languages. But I know firsthand that they are found in the rigorous yet exciting environment of my 5th period: Latin III. Latin is spoken primarily in Vatican City, and while I don’t imagine myself as a Pope or Catholic priest anytime in the future, I do imagine myself as someone benefitting from the critical thinking skills this language and class have taught me, which are transferable among every career, culture, and country. Needless to say, this upcoming February, when it is time again to fill out my annual course registration form, I will be putting pen to paper again when I fill in ‘AP Latin’ as my senior elective class. And I encourage every current Latin student reading this to do the same. Ashley Song Rossview High School