Many of my students are taking exams these days. They are preparing for final exams of the year, because the school year ends in February. One of my students is also preparing for entrance exams, as she is preparing for medical school (God and test results willing!). One of my students is a dance major, and is preparing for her final dance recital (it is technically next school year, but in reality only a few months away). Next year's seniors have also started interviewing for jobs.
English class, at least the one I teach, is a low priority. There are no exams and no grades given. It helps their confidence, and could possibly be used as resume filler. But what are the consequences if they do not come to class? That they do not study English for that hour. It seems such a little thing.
But, for them, that seems to be enough. Week after week, they come. In spite of tests, school activities and part-time jobs and the hunt for a full-time job; in spite of experiments and laboratory projects (a physics major and a pharmacy student also attend my classes. Yesterday the physics student was recounting the day's experiment: how to make a superconductor!)... in spite of all this, they come.
I think of my own "extra-curricular" activities: my Korean lessons or my calligraphy lessons. (I won't count Japanese, which is my full-time class; in essence testing my knowledge every time I leave the house!) How much effort have I put into things I am not tested on; things I learn for the sake of learning. How much do I study? Would I continue to go if I had other interviews, exams, etc.?
To be fair, English class at the dormitory is a lower priority. When job interviews are scheduled over top of my English classes, there is no question of whether to attend class or the job interview. But if the interview is finished with enough time to get back to the dorm, there is also no question ... they come in, loaded with coat and bags and sometimes out of breath from trying to make it on time.
There is no question: I admire these students.