So I’ve been taking Spanish classes through the local community college for almost a year now. That happens to roughly coincide with the run of NBC’s Community, a program that is based around a misfit Spanish study group at a Colorado community college. Recently, I’ve started wondering how my own experiences relate to this television show.
Mostly I’ve been having an existential crisis about which character I’m most like. I’m not a disgraced lawyer like Jeff, though I am going through a kind of “starting over” period in my life. I’m certainly not an Adderall addict like Annie or a middle-aged divorcee like Shirley, but I do have some pop culture issues like Abed. I’ve had my humor fall flat like Pierce, but I don’t think I’m as socially awkward as him, nor am I a moist towelette tycoon or any other type of tycoon for that matter. I never played sports like Troy, and I don’t drink like Britta. But I have dropped out of society like her before, only to discover that I also was flat broke. Though all the characters are really only caricatures, I don’t think they are that far removed from reality. I do see a little bit of all of them in the students around me at school. There are certainly the retirees keeping themselves active, the middle-age-crisis folks, and the lost youth. Many of them make attending a community college fun and a lot more interesting than my experiences at traditional four-year colleges. I’ve gotten to know high-school teachers, exchange students, nonprofit managers, and fresh-faced idealists through just the few classes I’ve had already.
With that said though, I’m awfully glad that I don’t have Señor Chang as an instructor. He seems more interested in torturing his students than actually teaching them Spanish. However, I should say that I don’t think my instructor from last semester actually likes teaching Spanish. Often we got a lot of stories about UFOs and all-night dance parties more than practical things like learning how to conjugate irregular verbs in the present tense. Luckily, that’s not the case with my current instructor, who came to this country forty years ago to “get the education to become President of Colombia” (that would be the country) and has stuck around to teach us dilettantes his native language instead. I must say that community college instruction appears to take a lot of patience.