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Published by dlugoszmatthew, 2019-11-19 00:53:00

The Polish Journey

T H E P O L I S H









J O U R N E Y


















Matthew Dlugosz

Joy, exhilaration, and anticipation. All emotions which surged



through my body as I got closer to him. Seconds felt like hours, minutes



felt like years. There he was in all his glory, the president of Poland holding




our diplomas. Cheers echoed through the amphitheater. Eleven years of



failure, success, and dedication led to this one glorious moment. It was




during these eleven years when I discovered who I truly am and what I am



capable of. Mastering the Polish language, through a weekly Polish school,



opened many opportunities for me but it was definitely not the smoothest




ride.

Pollska Szkoła



















ć, ń, ó, ś, ź, Ł





































































































Coming from a family which immigrated from Poland, polish




was naturally my first language. From going to a polish daycare




all the way to going to a polish kindergarten, it became my




primary and only language. First grade came around and it was




a very withering experience. The English language came at me




without any warning or preparation. The language was firing at




me constantly with “Hey what's your name ” or “what's your





favorite animal”. All simple questions which I could not




understand or answer with words, but only a smile

The English Language






































































































A couple of days in the first grade I already had a parent-teacher




conference. My teacher snaps “Your son is very disrespectful, every





time I ask him a question he just looks at me and laughs.”




Immediately my mom responded with “remember when I told you




he does not speak any English. He is not disrespectful he just does




not understand you”. From that moment on I was put into an extra




speech class where I would develop my English literacy. I still




remember the dreadful odor in that room, a scent similar to a wet




dog. I wanted to get out of the program as fast as possible, so in all




the effort I had and then some. I eventually made it to the highest




reading groups, becoming one of the highest level readers in my




class. My ISAT scores were through the roof and only a couple of




classmates could match or surpass my scores. English was not my




problem anymore, but my relationship with Polish was struggling.

By the time I reached sixth grade my mother tongue was rarely




ever used. My mind would instantly pick English because it was a




more convenient option. I did not appreciate the opportunities





that knowing a second language gives a person. Losing touch with




my grandparents and uncles made me realize that I need to keep




up with my polish language. I couldn't communicate with my




grandparents or uncles anymore because their primary language




was polish with very little English. I also started getting this




feeling of not being a true “Polak”. My identity slowly started




fading away and my heritage seemed like something I could not




relate to anymore. Realizing this I ran to my mom and




pleaded“Mom I want to start polish school again. I want to be able




to speak read and write it”

Test




























































































My mother along with my father was more than happy to hear




that their son wanted to learn their native language. Shortly after




my request they took me to the polish school were I had to take a




placement test. I placed into a class a grade level below what I





should actually be in. To me this was devastating because all my




friends were in the higher gra de, I wanted to be with them. Polish




school had a very rocky start for me because after being placed in




the lower grade I did not want to proceed with my education. It




embarrassed me and discouraged me, but I stuck with it all the




way up to the high school level classes.

Freshman year of polish school came around and I wanted to be




able to graduate with all my friends. I always dreamed of jumping a




grade to join them, and for a while, it just stayed a dream.




Completing two years of school all in one screamed failure to me,




creating a mental barricade. I needed it to become a reality, I had to




eradicate the fear and pursue the challenges that stood before me. I





approached my teacher about the opportunity to skip a grade




ahead. At first, she refused and doubted that I would be able to




handle the workload. Slowly over time, she gave me a chance to




prove to her that I could handle it. That action of me pursuing my




challenges taught me a very important lesson that resembles the




motto of my life. Wisdom is what you get from experience and




experience is what you get from failure. “Try and fail, but do not fail




to try” is a quote I take dearly to my heart. It motivates me to strive




to do anything and all that I want in life without fear of failure. It




was motivated to create an identity for myself and make my




heritage a bigger part of my life, I wanted to belong to the polish




community.

I clenched my fear and threw it to the side declaring my fear of




failure was no more. The workload of Polish school merging with




the English school quickly taught me how to manage my time. The




two years of information quickly mixed in my mind giving me the




wrong understanding of concepts. Early tests showed signs of the




misunderstood concepts, but it was nothing I could not fix. In




order to skip the grade, I needed to pass all the finals with an A




average and excel in the presentation to the Board of Directors for





the Polish program. Countless nights were spent studying Polish




right after English school. Going out with friends was not an




option anymore. I was determined and focused, nothing could ram




me off my track. I needed to jump over the grade in order to be




recognized by the President of Poland, a once in a lifetime




opportunity.

Geography





History





Literature












































































































The final exams came around the corner quickly. Geography,




history, and literature all flowing through my mind like code.





Pencils scratching the papers surface agressivaly. I was anxious




for the test day, I needed it to go well. Months of stress went




away as I completed each test and presentation. I passed, scoring




the highest out of my class on all tests. The Board decided I was




more than eligible to jump a grade level giving me the one in the




lifetime opportunity to be recognized by the President of Poland.

Try and Fail, But don't fail






to try






















































































Now I am able to speak polish fluently along with writing and




reading. Now every time I am faced with a challenge I go right into




it without fear. I know that failure is a much better teacher than




success. Through failure I gain experience and through experience,




I gain knowledge. It is from the act of not trying that we gain no




experience and no knowledge. This motto of “Try and fail, but




don't fail to try” will stick with me through college and all of life




ensuring that no matter what the outcome is I will always learn




something.

THEEND


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