Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Working Smart and Working Hard

There are many different ways a person can work. Some people tend to not do their best when it comes to working, but others do. Some people work a lot, and others barely work at all. Despite this, no matter how much or how little someone works, there's different ways to approaching the act of working. 

If you haven't been keeping of with me, I've been having a little trouble with Japanese lately. I started Japanese III this semester, and while it hasn't been crazy hard, I don't feel like I'm really progressing in terms of fluency. So while Japanese I and II seemed like a great learning experience for me, everything has turned stagnant. 

I began to examine my study habits and my work with Japanese. I was doing everything great in class, passing with flying colors, and enjoying my learning. Still, it didn't seem satisfactory in a way. 

During the Summer semester, our school did not offer part three of Japanese. For that time being I had to do self study and review to make sure I didn't lose a lot of my knowledge. Since I had already purchased the new textbooks and had the old one in my possession, I studied using these. I was working hard on keeping my Japanese fresh, but was I really learning and progressing? No, not at all.

While I cannot say I haven't learned anything, I haven't learned enough to show noticeable results. I realized that while I was working hard, I wasn't working smart. I needed to get help. No, not necessarily the use of a tutor or other speakers, but I need to find boosts to help me learn faster and more efficiently.

If you browse Youtube, I'm sure many of you have seen the different videos stating that you can be fluent in languages in a short amount of time, but  many of them feel like a hoax. I started to ignore anything like this that seemed like a "shortcut" because it didn't feel like a real way to learn a language. However, I've come to a realization that there is no real way to learn a language, or anything for that matter.

Yes, school is necessary, but many of the things I learned were outside of school. My blogging, computer skills, mathematics, speed reading, writing; all of these I learned on my own or with a private helper or tutor. So I realized I can't rely only on the formal learning we get in school. Yes it's a good foundation, but I need to take it further. There's nothing wrong with using shortcuts or assists along the way to make things easier. That's called working smart.

So the lesson to take away from this post is, it's okay to take a few shortcuts and get the help of others along the way. Everything doesn't need to be learned formally or strictly, but that doesn't mean you should completely skip out on these things either. 

With that, I hope to progress greatly in Japanese, and educate you all along the way. So please, stick with me!


  1. Great article! I think that while teachers can be helpful for me, I've always learned best from books or websites.

    Oh, and good luck with Japanese! If you know some kanji, one thing that helped me was to set my computer and gadgets to Japanese to help create an immersion environment. I passed the hardest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test last year, and I think making sure I was exposed to as much Japanese as possible through immersion really helped.

    1. Thank you for commenting, and thank you for reading! Same here, I can't believe it took me this long to realize that though.

      Thank you! I do know a bit at this point, it's my weak point but reading/writing isn't as hard for me as speaking.

      Congratulations! I literally just found out about the JLPT and don't really know where to start or anything. I would like to pass the hardest level too, but I'm having trouble finding the route to connect the dots from now to my goal. It literally feels like I've started Japanese all over again. I will try that though!

    2. Thanks! I think probably the best way to start with the JLPT is to try the practice questions on the JLPT site: http://www.jlpt.jp/e/samples/forlearners.html

      They give you a good feel for the test content. N2 & N1 are the only levels high enough to go on a resume, so N2 was the first level I took. If you have any questions about the test, feel free to ask!^^

    3. You're welcome! Hmm alright, I'll take a look into those tomorrow.

      Yes, I've learned that much. I feel that it's going to be pretty hard, but with a little smart work, I can accomplish it! Thank you, I'll make sure to if I think of any questions!


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