In February, I will be resuming my formal education, taking a course to obtain a CELTA degree, teaching English to adults, though I know for a fact that it's also valid for teaching in academies, regardless of age. It's been a while since I went to school. Because of circumstances outside of my control, I was not able to continue my higher education, dropping out of college after I got my Associate in Arts Degree (which is basically just the first two years of American college, just taking general classes).
I was a pretty good student, and I truly enjoyed learning new knowledge, studying, and even doing homework. Yeah, I was a nerd, and I was good at it. My grades were crazy good, and in the first school I ever went to, I was something of a small legend (more of a big fish in a small pond, to be honest) because I got the highest math score in the FCAT (the state standarized state) of the whole school, and because I finished my first year with a 4.0 grade point average (that means I got straight A's in ALL my classes, during ALL semesters). I remember meeting a new classmate once and he said "Oh, so you are the famous Matias?".
As I moved to more challenging subjects and schools (for my last two years of high school, I went to one of the most demanding schools of the whole country), my grades obviously dropped and I knew I wasn't the smartest person in the school, but I still enjoyed school.
Flash forward to early 2010, when I was taking a short business course. I struggled quite a lot, more than probably anything else in my entire school life. It had been a couple of years since I had dropped out, and the question running through my head was "How did it get so rusty? How did I get so dumb?". Back in high school, I would have learned all that was taught in that class with incredibly ease, but here I was struggling with simple memorization. It was worrisome, to say the least.
Flash forward again, now to the present day. This time, I am preparing for this course, and I am finding it so much easier. And today, the reason dawned on me: the book I am reading now, and the class I am going to be taking, are in English. The course I had taken in 2010 was completely in Spanish.
I'm fluent in both languages, to the point that when people ask me which one is my native language, I always struggle to explain that I'm equally fluent in both. However, my thought process, after years of living in the United States, and being in a relationship with my now-wife who also speaks English, is completely in English. I had never realized how much more difficult the thought process becomes when you have to translate everything in your mind, even if it's done automatically. It makes studying that much more of a struggle.