NOTE: FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT ADVANCED HIGHER FRENCH, CLICK HERE.
My relationship with French has been somewhat mixed. When I started secondary school, my only experience learning foreign languages was taking lessons in German the year before. At my new school, the only viable language was French, and so for the next 4 years I worked my way through it – always doing well, memorising passages to write or speak, and learning conjugations when needed, but I never really got interested in the subject.
When I was 16, it was time to pick which Highers I would study. I was certain about 4 of my 5 choices: Maths, English, Physics and Geography. For my 5th, I had to choose between Chemistry and French. I was top of the class in Chemistry – I had represented the school in the “Top of the Bench” interschool competition (which included a trip to London over my 14th birthday for the British finals – we came 8th!) and I went to a Chemistry Camp. What I saw on the Chemistry Camp really changed my view of chemistry. Up until that point, I had thought that chemistry was a cool thing – learning the names of elements and watching some cool fires. But beyond the basics in Chemistry, the subject just turns into a boredom-inducing study (as has been confirmed by my friends who chose to continue with Chemistry). At Chemistry Camp I had seen what real chemists turn into: people stuck in labs, repeating and repeating and repeating the same boring experiements to find a drug that is able to be patented for huge profits for a corporation, whilst on a low wage and at the mercy of your many bosses. I didn’t want that.
My choice was this: pick chemistry which would quickly bore me once all the fun stuff is out of the way, and which I would never pursue as a career, or, I could pick French, and actually come out of a skill which I could use in my spare time to read French, on holiday, or to work in a different country such as France. I realised that French would broaden my horizons so much more than chemistry, and that is why I chose it.
Now that it’s all over; I’m really pleased that I chose it. It was a load of hard work, but now I feel quite confident reading, writing, listening to and speaking French.
By the way, I currently have a post on my blog called “My French Speaking Exam“, which people are reaching after searching for help. However, it is simply a personal post which I use to let out my relief that my exam was finally in the past. People searching for “higher french speaking” aren’t interested in how well I thought mine went, they want to know how they can do their best in their own exams – and I can help them with that. That’s why I am going to share my advice at the page linked to above: to share my ‘wisdom’; to pass on what I learnt from 6 years of French. I hope it helps.