April 23rd, 2010

kanji diagram

New Semester, Same Stuff

...I suppose it's good to know that (thanks to passable kanji skillz and a guaranteed 20% for just showing up -- and, well, doing the homework, where the corrections are free) I can flunk every single grammar test (and the midterm and the final) and still get a C in this class. Judging by results so far, I will likely be putting this to the test. The real question is... Do I want to?

[According to my grade spreadsheet, more or less copied from last semester with new numbers, given the results I've gotten so far, I'm already on almost exactly a 75% pace.]

It's clear I'm the bottom of the class in terms of grammar and especially communication skills. I'm just not at the level of the other students (case in point -- on the first grammar test, everyone around me got at least 80's and mostly 90's. I worked pretty hard -- obviously not effectively, but hard -- for 55. First quiz? 4 points out of 10 possible, although those have gotten better. Not good, but better). The failure isn't the real pain -- at this point, the grade barely matters, although it's discouraging in and of itself. The real pain is being the obvious class idiot, and by a wide margin. I'm picking up almost exactly right where I left off last semester -- behind everyone else and slowly falling further behind, with grades to match. I don't know if it's because I started behind, or if I'm just too old to keep up, or if I just plain suck at language learning, either by nature or because I started so late to be serious about learning a second language for the first time, or both.

I'm not really sure I can stand an entire semester of this, no matter how much I tell myself I'm there to learn, and the grades don't matter.

...I guess I'm learning something, although I'm not sure I'm not actually learning terribly effectively. But I'm kind of stuck -- I can't easily switch classes (for one, uh, I think it's already too late to do anything but drop classes at Sophia now), and there aren't any good classes to switch into -- regular would just be the same stuff at a slightly slower pace (good, I guess, but I'm already behind, plus, well, it's not enough class hours for a student visa), and dropping back one level in intensive would just be too far -- if they'd even let me to it, which is doubtful, judging by the reaction I got when I asked. Plus, well, switching classes would be painful. One of the biggest barriers to language learning is being embarrassed about poor communication skills, and I'm already comfortable with my classmates so it's less of an issue. New classmates would be painful -- although, on the other hand, if I was at the right level it would be easier -- but I have friends in this class, too.

Augh. I don't feel like I have any good options.

The other -- bigger -- issue is that I really feel like I'm just going nowhere with this. I'm not sure I still even have any good reasons to study Japanese (did I ever, though? Was it ever anything more than a mid-life crisis?) I've started to actively hate the language, at least the spoken version (I still like my kanji). And now I've realized that it will take me years and years to even marginally master it. Years and years I don't really have, doing something I don't seem to have any actual talent for. I still sound like an idiot. I still don't understand the vast majority of what people are saying.

Maybe it's more than just impatience, maybe it's a sense of having no direction.
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