Maria Joana Souza de Carvalho - Texas Intensive English Program

Maria Joana Souza de Carvalho

“How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?
Where to, where do I go?
If you never try, then you’ll never know.
How long do I have to climb,
Up on the side of this mountain of mine?”
Is there anybody here who knows these lyrics?…This is a part of a Coldplay song called “Speed of Sound.” I’m a big fan of Coldplay, some of you know it. I brought this for y’all because it translates exactly how I felt when I arrived here. For many times I found myself thinking: “How long before I get in?” Before I get into this culture “How long before it starts?” Before I start having self confidence “How long before I begin?” Before I begin talking to people. That wasn’t me… when I was with my boyfriend amongst his friends and they were talking while I was quiet and timid. That wasn’t me at all. At that time, I was wrapped up in frustration. Sometimes we get frustrated easily because we expect too much from ourselves. It is normal. It is part of the learning process. But, as the song even says: “If you never try, then you’ll never know.” We gotta start climbing our mountain. If on one hand we have our impairing weaknesses, on the other hand we have our strengths. You gotta take some advantage of these strengths. It is here where we find the space to make mistakes without being afraid of any judgment. When I was at the Brazilian airport leaving for Austin, my brother wisely said: “Don’t take too much but don’t be content with very little either. Take only what is sufficient for you.” This affected me and since then, it has been a tenet in my life. But why am I telling you all of these things about me? Because, as I did, I think you can learn something from those experiences as well. The poet Saadi once said: “Be patient. Everything is difficult before it is easy.” So, guys, patience is the secret. Be patient with your learning process and actually have fun with this, laugh at your mistakes. But, waving learning process issues aside a little bit, I’d like to say that, during our time here in TIEP, we’ve gotten the chance to put in practice the respect for others. I probably won’t see some of you ever again. So, I’d like to seize this opportunity to say thank you for my classmates, teachers and schoolmates for even unwittingly showing me how possible and nice it is to live together with differences and, over all, how beautiful this world is. Thank you!