I have a fear of Wal-Mart self-checkouts.
They were one of the things I feared most about coming to the States the summer before my freshman year of college. In the months leading up to school, I imagined a Wal-Mart so developed that there were no longer any employee-run checkout stands, but only long lines of cold, heartless self-checkout machines.
I pictured myself—a credit card clutched in my hand and a perplexed look on my face—standing before the unfeeling, impersonal machine and attempting to figure out how to pay for my basket of groceries. In my fantasies, there were always a long line of upset and angry people behind me. Ugh.
Imagine my relief upon my first trip to Wal-Mart when I finally discovered that lo! Human-run checkout stands still live! And so, freshman year, I successfully avoided the dreaded self-checkout for an entire year.
It’s gotten better as the years have passed. Last semester, I as a sophomore faced my fears and paid for my groceries without the aid of another human being. The process wasn’t painful, and I came away unscathed.
All the same, I don’t think I’ll do it again. I’ve faced the fear and know I can conquer it if ever I need to. As it is, I don’t. So I think I won’t.
Junior, Opinions Editor
Introduction to card games
I didn’t know what a suit of cards was until coming to JBU two and a half years ago.
Growing up in Brazil, I was never allowed to play card games since the seminary my parents worked at identified cards as just another word for gambling.
Now, I can finally differentiate the queen of spades from the jack of clubs.
Senior, Graphic Design Major
Learning to spell
My early life was one of language confusion. I lived in a country that spoke British English, spelled words according to British dictionaries, and used British expressions or slang. At home, however, I learned to read using an American curriculum.
I remember one point in my young life that caused particular grief. My family was in the U.S. visiting extended family and supporters. Though I was absolutely convinced colour was spelled with a “u,” I continually bumped into an uncomfortably incomplete word spelled c-o-l-o-r. The authorities I consulted denied my colour, and insisted that the only spelling of the word contained no “u.” I thought I must be mad.
To add to my distress, the authorities, my cousins, continually pointed out my apparently strange pronunciation of familiar words. I quickly adapted to my age-mates speech pattern in order to save myself from the spotlight. With age comes wisdom, and I finally recognized that words belonging to the same language may have different spellings.
Though I can distinguish between the two varieties of English I speak, I still wonder whether I should add a “u” or only use singe quotation marks to set apart quotes.
Sometimes I forget to switch “languages,” and end up asking my American English friends to pop the “boot.”
Junior, English major
When people ask me if I plan on going back overseas after college, my first thought is to respond: “Well, I am overseas right now.”
When people ask me what Brazil is like, my first thought is to respond: “What a broad question, let me ask you one: ‘What is USA like?’”
I dream of a green, 100 degree Christmas . . . not a white 30 degree one.
Sophomore, Engineering major