Nil Desperandum

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.

Although “Latin Club” conjures up images of stodgy professors scrutinizing ancient texts, my own club consisted of nine teenagers enthusiastically translating Harry Potter spells.

I co-founded the club with visions of handouts and worksheets—essentially, independent learning. Yet members were unimpressed by the dreary, rote memorization of declensions. I needed to change strategies: I scrapped my detailed syllabus and incorporated pop culture into lessons. Instead of relying on textbooks, I brought in short stories. Together we puzzled out Golden Ants, later transitioning into a discussion of toga styles. Not only was it more fun, but we learned quicker, too.

Despite (or because of) the hard work involved, I was thrilled. It was gratifying to advance in Latin after striving so hard, and striving with material I already enjoyed. Moreover, adapting my teaching tactics allowed us to succeed as a group. This experience reinforced my appreciation for collaboration in all its aspects: sometimes, you have to banish a syllabus or two before you can really bond.

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