• Michal Budryk


Do you sometimes wonder how other people see you? Of course you do, we all do. One of the things I received upon leaving my academic career behind – one of the most cherished ones, I might add – was a wordcloud composed of the three words that best described me according to my colleagues.

Among those words, there was a term I've heard one of my close friends use to describe me before: 'not a quitter'. Could that be true? So many times in my younger years I've heard I was impatient (which is not untrue); so many times I've heard I was 'smart but lazy' (also true, the second part in any case). 'Oh', I thought then, 'you'll see. You'll all see'.

So let's see. Here's a quick look back.

Once I started school, I continued until I reached the highest degree there was. Heavens know there were times I thought of quitting; Hells – how close to quitting I've actually come on more than one occasion. But in the end, each time I told myself: I didn't come this far to only come this far. I pushed through and only left when I was done.

When I started learning English, I thought reaching CAE (Certificate of Advanced English, C1 level) will be more than enough. I actually did it still in high school. I just barely received a passing grade, but I passed and I thought at least that was over. But there always was that one more step on the ladder.

CPE. The Certificate of Proficiency in English. Level C2. A level that, supposedly, remains beyond the reach of even some of the native speakers.

After my defence I was wondering what to do with this fresh void of time ahead of me and I set my sight on that final step of the ladder. Perhaps a few years of writing in English for a living elevated me to actually make a try at it?

I actually took the test in stride. I couldn't say any of the test tasks blindsided me. But I shared this little ambition of mine with very few people. After all, imagine the embarassment I would have been setting myself up for if the test was actually harder than I thought. If I were to boast and then fail.

I got the results today. I have passed. I've reached that final step on the ladder.

Well, maybe I'm not a quitter.

(Next up: DELF and/or DALF.)

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