I’m probably one of the best examples of what a self-studying person should not be. After progressing a little, I take a long, long break from studying and enter this…hibernating phase where I don’t give a care about my head slowly losing the vocabulary and grammar points I’ve studied in the past. This happened when I finished Beginning 1 and lasted about a year and a half (or so) before I went and picked up Beginning 2. After finishing Beginning 2, the same thing happens.
Language learning will never be easy for me, that I am sure of. To progress in any language, you have to devote huge amounts of your time. I remember when I started reading Beginning 1, I maintained a strict schedule, allotting three to four 1-hour blocks of Korean study in between studying for my exams. I didn’t do much of anything else–no computer, no reading novels, although maybe a teeny, tiny bit of Korean drama watching (heh). Looking back, I can’t believe I managed to keep up with the schedule, because I’m really not a stickler for schedules of any sort.
…But maybe I diligently kept with it back then because learning Korean at that time, compared to studying for my exams, was just so fun. Not that it isn’t anymore (it still is), but really, the best days of learning anything are right in the beginning, when you fawn at every new word and every new grammar point and delight at forming the most basic of sentences. Those are the fun times. And then you reach a certain point when you start to think, I should know something else by now. I should be able to write more complicated stuff right now. Why am I not learning anything new? Why am I not progressing at all? That’s when it gets less fun and more of a chore. I hate thinking of language learning as a chore because it definitely isn’t and by all means it shouldn’t be, but sometimes it becomes exactly that. It becomes nothing but a set of hurdles to jump through and really, what else can take away the fun out of language learning other than that?
Right now if there’s one thing I wish while studying Korean, it would probably be for me to go back to the mindset I used to have in the earliest stages of learning Korean: that language learning is fun. That every new word is 신기해. That I don’t have to rush it all because every moment I soak up the language I’m learning something new–and that in itself is wonderful.