I know my focus is more on the student and no so much on the CAMP program or the place itself but I can’t help admitting how pleasant it is to spend my time there, at least for me.
Students come in and lounge around as they please and Spanish and English flies out of people’s mouths, sometimes simultaneously. It’s hard to explain the giddiness I get when I hear them, or at least the sense of comfort. For the last four years, every time I hear a word of Spanish in a hallway or in a table of the union I have to turn and look at who’s speaking because it seems so rare (considering I spend most of my time in Calaveras and Douglas). I can go weeks without that happening. To have a room where everybody speaks like that, it’s like heaven. They are so funny too, at least in the lounge area. I seems like a very nice place to de-stress. I sometimes feel sorry I never knew of that place before, I would have been here every day. I drew a diagram of the place, click on the picture to see it in more detail:
One thing to note is that CAMP students have their own computer lab. It’s only eight computers in a little room, really, but when I ask them how often they use it almost everybody says “oh, every day.”
So, about how my project is going. Well, I’m terribly shy, so taking up an interviewing process for my paper is a very significant challenge for me. It takes me a while before I can walk up to a group of students because I feel a little bit like a salesman and they eye me with an initial look of natural skepticism. I hate to imagine what they think when I walk up to them and begin talking: “Are you guys/girls CAMP students? Do you have like 15 or 20 minutes right now?” and they look back at me like, “ok, what does he want us to buy.”
It only takes a couple questions to feel at ease though. Most of those students are really friendly and they get really surprised and immediately feel more at ease when they notice that I speak Spanish. That’s something to think about. I wonder if they would give me the same answers if I was somebody different? Probably. It’s easy to get into more of a conversational tone with them because after a while it doesn’t seem like a survey. Sometimes I forget and I start asking questions in Spanish and they answer in either language. Some students are very serious though and they don’t forget it’s a survey.
Most of my interviewees also tend to ask me where I was born right from the beginning and when I tell them I think it’s even more of a surprise for them. “And you’re an English major? That’s funny.” I get that a lot. Everybody seems to get a laugh from that… when I think about it I have to laugh too.
It’s been barely this week when I’ve really had the time to seriously sit down and interview a good number of people. Some that I knew would not have the time then but really wanted to participate offered to fill out a questionnaire form for me.
The one question that I always love asking is the following: “What language do you speak the most?” the students look at me for a moment and think about it and then they ask: “does Spanglish count?” Ha ha ha. Seriously, most students have said that.
By the way, the movie by that name sucks...