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I’m going to do it.

I think.

I may never push the PUBLISH button, however.

In my family, we have a very difficult time telling others when we have accomplished something we are proud of.  It is, admittedly, a weird family thing: we don’t give importance to those significant moments that highlight our accomplishments.

Example: I did not invite my parents to my dissertation defense.  In the world of academics, that’s a big day.  I told myself, “It’s all in Spanish, so they won’t understand anything.”  But the pomp and ceremony attached to a dissertation defense… well, I should have invited them, and they would have loved it.  And the truth is, it marks the achievement of a significant amount of work, and a tremendous investment of time, energy, focus and discipline.

I have had conversations with my siblings about this family oddity, and there seems to be consensus that we all tend to treat things in a similar way.

Perhaps this behavioral trait harkens back to our childhoods.  We Cichellos were weirdly successful in academics, the whole lot of us seven kids.  I learned to dislike (intensely so, if I must confess) families like us, when I had kids who were not weirdly successful in academics.  The end-of-the-year awards ceremonies were SUCH a drag!  “Winning the award for science, Ashley Duggan!”  “Winning the award for citizenship, Ashley Duggan!”  Duggan Duggan Duggan!  How about an award for my kid who worked heroically in Biology to pass the Regents exam?  How about that?

Maybe we learned to shut up about what we were achieving.  Certainly, I believe we all think talking too much about our accomplishments is boorish and downright bragging.


So here I am, prepared to tell about an accomplishment.  Or brag.  The jury is still out for me on which one it is.

In late October, I sat for the American Translators Association Spanish > English certification exam.  The pass rate for the Spanish-English language pair hovers around 12%.  I took the practice exam over the summer and failed it.  I prepared better for the actual exam, spending at least 1/2 hour per day translating texts from Spanish to English.  I heard in early December that I passed.  I told my family, and a few friends.  I did not post it on Facebook, although I really really wanted to.  I didn’t even tell my students, many of whom have studied Translation with me.

So this may be a breakthrough for me, or this post may sit in my drafts for forever and ever.

Is it so bad to tell people what you have accomplished?

I don’t mean to brag, but I am proud of the fact that I worked hard, I made time to prepare over the course of many months, and I was able to achieve a goal I had set out for myself.

[Save draft.]  [Finger hovering over PUBLISH.]  [Aaaaargggghhhh!]

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. Congrats Claire!! That’s awesome.

  2. Yes – worthy of note!!! – congrats!

  3. Claire — I am/we are all very proud of you –although your success does not surprise me/us. And I am sure the thing that makes this so satisfying is that you had to work for it. Excellent. I am very proud of you. Good job.


  4. Congratulations Claire! Take a lesson from Cathy, she’ll post every little achievement on her social media page. You should do the same with your great achievements….

    • Claire Ziamandanis

      After intense negotiations, we came to a compromise deal. (“We” being me, myself and I.) I published to blog entry, but did not post the link on Facebook.

  5. You SHOULD be proud! Congratulations!

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