Does this look like someone who was ready to be making important decisions?
Recently, I was speaking with a friend about her next career move. She was offered a job doing something she doesn’t like at all, and wanted to know if she should take it. This seemed like a trick question, but I took a gamble. “Uhhh… no, I don’t think you should,” I said.

“But, it’s really good experience to help prepare me for what I really want to do later on,” she explained.

“Do you absolutely need this experience to get to the next job?”

“No, but it will make it a lot easier when I do get there,” she insisted.

“So you’ll learn this job that you hate, and then you will go to your next job that you love, and will have to learn how to do that one?" It still seemed like a trick.

“Yes, but it will be easier to learn!”

“DON’T TAKE LATIN!!” I shouted. Which seemed like a pretty unhelpful response, but in my head, it made perfect sense.

In sixth grade I chose a foreign language to study in school. The choices were French, Spanish, and Latin. I desperately wanted to learn Spanish, so naturally, I signed up for Latin. Why did I do this? Honestly, because my friends were taking Latin and the school board shouldn’t let you make life-changing decisions when you’re 12. But also because so many people** told me how much Latin would help me learn Spanish later on. WELL! Let me explain what I learned by following that advice... learning Latin doesn’t help you learn Spanish. Learning Spanish helps you learn Spanish!!!

Of course I figured this out after spending seven years of my life learning a language that allowed me to do none of the things I love about language-- read it, speak it, or listen to it. I don’t even think it helped me with my SATs (the other scam people tell kids to convince them to take it). I didn't love Latin, so I didn’t learn it. And here I am, ten years later, talking to a friend about business jobs and STILL the first thing I think is "don’t take Latin." A simple three-word sentence I don’t even know how to say in Latin.

You know how I finally learned Spanish? I took Spanish One during the summer at a local community college with the other cool kids who just wanted to learn. I actually did this two summers in a row, because, naturally, I forgot everything I had learned by the time summer rolled around again. Then the following summer, I travelled to Spain and spoke to people exclusively in the present tense. Ex-- Polite Spaniard: “What did you do today, Kat?”  Latin Whiz: “I am at the beach!” when I was not. My knowledge was so limited that I didn't even know how to apologize when I woke up from a particularly deep train nap to discover I was laying across a perfect stranger. So I just sat up, turned away, and said nothing. You see.. learning Spanish isn't easy just because you took Latin! It's exhausting.

Latin was not the path to Spanish. It was a distraction from it. So, for my friend choosing her next job, and for all of you out there, choosing your next adventure-- just do what you love. Do it today and you will get there much faster than if you do it tomorrow.

Love Love Love,

**So many people = my friends who wanted me to take Latin with them. Always check your sources.

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