Idioms & Expressions:
starstruck (an adjective that means you are impressed by the presence of someone, usually a celebrity)
I was a bit starstruck when I met President Obama and found it hard to talk.
brush with fame (noun that refers to a time when you encounter someone famous)
He had a brief brush with fame when he met President Obama last week.
has-been (noun that refers to a person who used to be famous or accomplished, but no longer is today)
The athlete won a championship in 1986, but now he’s a has-been.
last-minute (an adjective that refers to preparing for something or doing something right before it is due)
I wrote a last-minute essay and therefore didn’t get a very high mark on the exam.
cram (a verb that means to study for something at the last minute)
I was up until 2:00 cramming for my chemistry test this morning.
wing it (a verb that means to perform a task without preparing beforehand)
The politician decided to wing it during his debate and ended up getting embarrassed.
hope for the best and prepare for the worst (an expression that means you should be prepared for anything to happen)
a place for everything and everything in its place (an expression that refers to organizing the possessions you have)
dry run/test run (both nouns that refer to practicing or rehearsing something right before actually doing it)
We did a test run of the new software program the night before we needed to use it.
Part I: Group Discussion
Do you like any famous people?
I really enjoy listening to the podcast of Bill Burr. He’s a standup comedian who is from the same part of the country I’m from, and I really like his comedy and watch all of his stand-up specials.
Do you follow the news of those celebrities?
Not especially. I don’t have enough time to be Googling celebrities and what they’re up. I think doing that just makes you dissatisfied with your own life, and that’s not a healthy mindset to have
Have you seen a celebrity in person?
I was in Los Angeles on night and I saw Justin Timberlake, a famous pop singer who was in the boy band NSync, get out of a car right in front of me and walk into a restaurant. I’m a huge Justin Timberlake fan, so this was pretty exciting for me.
What is your favorite holiday?
I think New Year’s Eve is my favorite. As I get older, Christmas has less and less meaning. I’m older now, so I don’t get presents like I used to. I like New Year’s, though, because I can go out with my friends, and everyone who never goes out is usually out on that night, because it’s a big holiday.
Do you prefer staying at home or going out during holidays?
I’d much rather go out. My family is all in the US, so there’s no point to me staying home. Going out and socializing with other expats is the best way to spend these special days, I think.
Part II: Individual Presentations
Describe a time you were preparing for a happy event. You should say
- when it was
- who helped you
- how you made it
And explain why you remember it
When I lived in China, I was a member of a big group of teachers who were from the West. At the end of the year, we had a big party to celebrate that fact that we were going home soon. My preparation was pretty simple: I went for a run and then I got dressed and played some music. I really excited because I lived alone in my neighborhood, and I didn’t get to see the other teachers too often. No one helped me get ready, but I remember there was a special energy in the air that made the night really exciting. I put on some headphones and walked to the train station with music playing in my headphones. The sun was setting while I walked and it was a really pleasant evening. I think the peaceful time of preparation was almost as fun as the night out.
Part III: Class Discussion
Preparation and Organization
Do you think preparation is important?
Yes, I agree with this 100%. The best lessons, presentations and races that I’ve ever had were the ones that I prepared well for.
What kinds of things do people usually prepare for, besides exams and holidays?
I think people prepare for social events, actually. People spend a lot of time picking out their outfits and thinking about what they’re going to say in public. We also spend a lot of time preparing for our workdays, I think.
Are there any situations that we should not prepare for in advance?
I can’t think of anything right now. Passive tasks, like watching TV or relaxing, don’t require preparation. But I think almost anything else necessitates preparation.
Why are some people good at organizing things better than the others?
I think it’s just a trait that some people naturally have. Everyone’s brains work differently. I personally wish I were more organized, but unfortunately that’s now the way I am.
Do you think organizational skills are born or learnt?
Both. I was not born as a neat, organized person, but I’ve taught myself to put everything where it belongs in order to have a more uncluttered place to live in.