Citizen John

I have attended no less then three universities, accumulated over 150 credits, sat through over 4,000 hours of lectures, received an AA degree, and taken classes in more than 30 different subjects over the past 10 years. I've paid tens of thousands of dollars, taken out countless student loans, and drank over 450 gallons of coffee only to come up five credits short of my bachelor's degree, the Holy Grail of the student lifer. It's not like I'm taking one more class next quarter or waiting for a certain class to open up. I haven't gone to school in almost three years. I just finally gave up. Only five credits separate me from degrees in both political science and history, but I just couldn't do it. Some think it's because I'm scared to be done with school, scared to face the world outside of student life. But I've been in the "real world"— I like it plenty, except the higher-interest loans. The reason I can never graduate is that I am unable to learn a foreign language. To have a degree from a four-year institution conferred on you, you must have 15 credits of a foreign language. I have 10—actually I have more than 20 in many different languages. I've tried German, Spanish, and even Norwegian. I just can't finish. I can't get over the hump to actually learn enough to be able to talk to someone else in a language other than English. To accomplish that, you have to go to class every day, and there is no way I can go to class every day. I should have taken it when I was young and naﶥ. Now I'm 27, burned out, and working as a DJ, where you don't even have to know how to read to do your job. I've been playing the new Super Furry Animals album "Mwng" (Flydaddy) this week; the entire CD is sung in their native Welsh. The music is wonderful, but I have no idea what they are singing about, and I'm pretty sure the UW doesn't offer Welsh.

You can hear John struggle with English Monday through Friday from 6-10am on KCMU 90.3 FM or online at

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