Boosting motivation?

Japanese, general discussion on the language
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Boosting motivation?

Post by pubju » Tue 01.22.2008 9:06 am

I must admit, lately I've started losing motivation for learning Japanese. I'm doing a degree in Japanese at uni, but the class is so relentless and fast paced that is very difficult to keep up unless you are 100% motivated and study every day.

In the first term (of Year 1), I was very motivated and studied regularly, but over the christmas break I kind of 'forgot' about Japanese and just went out and enjoyed myself instead, and now we are back at uni for Term 2, I find myself de-motivated because I've fallen behind in class...

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions, maybe some kind of study system I can use, to try and catch up to the class? and boost my motivation?

After only 2 months of the course, 5 people have already dropped out. I don't want to be the next, no way in hell.

I want to learn Japanese, but the fact that I've fallen behind so much is incredibly de-motivating :(

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by pubju on Tue 01.22.2008 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by EvanT » Tue 01.22.2008 9:45 am

So... you slacked during Christmas, which was your best opportunity to review the material covered in your fast-paced class... and now you wanna catch up. Umm... sorry dude, but other than studying even harder to catch up... *shrugs*

First of all... Damage Control. You don't mention what "part" you've fallen behind. Vocabulary? Grammar? Syntax? Speaking? Regardless, the best bet would be to team up with another student who's taking the class and study together. As for methods, try to find some audio material (perhaps songs or tuning in on Japanese TV) to keep in touch with Japanese even when not actively studying. Beyond that... STUDY, STUDY and study some more.

BUT... (there's always a but)... I don't want to demoralize you even further, but are you SURE you want to learn Japanese or you just don't want to admit to failure? Losing interest in the language during a mere 2 week break and falling behind after...4 months of lessons(?) isn't a very promising sign.

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by two_heads_talking » Tue 01.22.2008 10:17 am

Motivation is always from within oneself. There is no magic "study" form that will make you motivated.

Falling behind can certainly demoralize a person and make them unmotivated. The only suggestion I have is to recommit yourself at the same level you did at the begginning of first term. Determine that come hell or high water, that you will catch up and do well and you will. on the other hand, if you sit in your stew of self doubt and unmotivated ways, you will not do well and will surely not pass.

it comes from within. so, you have to motivate yourself. find something about it that intrigues you to respark the fire.

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Tue 01.22.2008 10:30 am

Unfortunately just wanting to learn Japanese isn't enough -- as you are discovering, you have to have the motivation to study too, and in some sense you have to like studying. What book are you using? I pretty much agree with what two_heads says; I don't think there's any magic way to rekindle motivation, nor is there really anything we can tell you to do.

Why did you want to learn Japanese in the first place? Reexamining that may help you; even if it's just video games or whatever, sometimes just having some goal to work towards helps. I had some manga when I was still learning Japanese and I would pull them out so often and see what words I could recognize.

EDIT: One thing you do have to accept is that sometimes learning Japanese is tedious and boring, and sometimes you just have to slog through the low points of your motivation. I can only speak for myself, but I definitely have not thoroughly enjoyed every single part of learning Japanese from start to now. So don't necessarily take the idea that because you're not enjoying it now, you're not cut out to learn Japanese.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Tue 01.22.2008 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by keatonatron » Tue 01.22.2008 12:05 pm

My thoughts are similar to Chris'. The way I see it, if you aren't motivated to study Japanese, then you most likely don't have a need to study it (or even enjoy it all that much). To make it short and blunt, if you don't have the motivation to study Japanese, maybe you simply shouldn't be studying Japanese. :|

The ONLY way I was able to get where I am was to be in Japan, surrounded by Japanese people who were laughing and joking in Japanese, and every day wanting so badly to know they they were saying and to be able to join in.

Unfortunately, you've made a not-easily-broken commitment to learn Japanese by choosing it as a major. I'm curious as to why you made that choice. If you don't have enough interest in it to want to study every day without any outside incentives, what made you think you'd want to major in it?

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by chchan45 » Tue 01.22.2008 12:49 pm

Sometimes taking a break is a good move. I was off Japanese completely for about 1 month after taking the JLPT as I was fed up with months of intense studying. When I came back to it, I found that I have not really forgotten much and my listening skills are still intact. You have probably forgotten less than you think so don't feel guilty about it.

It is difficult at the moment but things will only get easier. As you understand more and more Japanese, you will be using your language skills to access authentic material (e.g. watch TV programs which Japanese people watch). This in itself is a good motivation.
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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by jenl » Tue 01.22.2008 1:22 pm

I would suggest:

Speak to the lecturer(s) if you are really, really struggling. Sooner rather than later. They might have advice on which areas you need to focus on. Or they might tell you that you're not as badly off as you think you are.

You also might find it helpful to set some achievable short-term goals. Lots of little ones, so you can tick things off regularly.

Don't abandon this term's new work in order to focus solely on revision. You might find yourself feeling left behind because other students seem to be speaking more fluently in class or picking up new structures more easily. These are probably the students who are preparing themselves for class by reading ahead in the textbook and making sure they know a few bits of vocab that are likely to come up.

Personally, learning new gitaigo/giongo always cheers me up. :D

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by yukamina » Tue 01.22.2008 2:26 pm

Everyone loses motivation now and then, don't worry ;) You know best of all how serious you are about learning Japanese.
Think of something you want to enjoy in Japanese, maybe that will help you keep studying hard.

Try to tie together the stuff you need to review and the stuff you're falling behind on(write a skit and practice it, maybe).

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by kevinnwhat » Tue 01.22.2008 3:20 pm

just think of all the other non-native speakers who have learned and some even mastered Japanese. You can do it! You cant give up! :o thats the best i got lol :\ sry

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by furrykef » Tue 01.22.2008 4:22 pm

Well, I had Spanish for three years in high school, and then I didn't touch it for five years. I came back to it mostly because I realized I remembered more than I thought I would. And, in fact, I did remember most of what I originally learned. Now, back then I was a really lazy Spanish student, so I didn't learn much of the stuff that I should have. But I did remember most of the stuff that I did learn, and by now, a year and a half after resuming my studies, my level of Spanish is probably way beyond what it would have been after a fourth year in high school if I had taken one. This despite the fact that I don't study particularly hard, and I study Japanese (and now a bit of Latin) at the same time.

I'm sure my memory's not any better than yours, so you're probably not doing as badly as you think you are. Yes, there is a bit of a "use it or lose it" aspect of language learning, but you can always get back in the swing of things.

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by Orcrist » Tue 01.22.2008 6:13 pm

My advice to catch up is basically the one and obvious; work harder. Just suck it up, if you want to learn Japanese that is. Ofcourse it will suck, you will have to work really hard. But it's only for a few weeks and then you caught up (or well, I don't know how much you've fallen behind. But if it's just over christmas break you're only 2 weeks behind I assume). Don't expect fast and easy results. It will take a little while, and will cost alot of energy. Eventually when you catch up, keep running in the same pace for a while untill you are ahead of things. About that time you will start feeling really comfortable. You still work the same hours a day as you did when you were catching up, but now you're actually ahead of the class and this will lower your stress level drastically. All you need to do is maintain that discipline and keep running faster than everyone around you.

Also you might want to reconsider the way you spend your average day. Do you study all day long already? Or do you play games/go out with friends/watch tv aswell? Do you idle and stare at the wall working yourself up over how much you lagged behind?

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by skrhgh3b » Tue 01.22.2008 7:13 pm

Nothing will boost your motivation like a trip to Japan. I decided to major in Japanese at my university after my first trip to Japan, and then during the course of two years of study in the United States, I began to slowly but surely lose that original motivation - not that I ever came too close to quitting, mind you. But I reconnected with that original motivation once again when I made my second trip to Japan. I understand how impractical that can be in the short term, so my second best advice is to try to make Japanese friends at your university.

If studying becomes too much of drag, you might want to take a more passive approach from time to time by listening to Japanese music and watching Japanese TV.
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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by kayuu » Tue 01.22.2008 8:36 pm

I often feel unmotivated in everything I do after I start to fall behind because I will scold myself for not being where I ought to be, and worry too much about not being able to catch up. I spend more time worrying and wondering what I should be doing and no time trying to fix it. If you think you're suffering from the same thing as me, I find it helps to get a few new notebooks with cool designs and a new pen and a few reading materials and try to get back into it.

Maybe I'm just weird, but material things seem to help me a lot ;)

Where in the UK do you study? If in London, take a trip to Japan Centre bookstore on Regent Street and see what you can find :D (they have an online store, too, if not).

Other than that, try not to spend all day every day studying - do short study periods and other bits in between like just watch a no-brainer reality show on TV or something similar. They are crap, yes, but they give you a rest because they require no effort whatsoever, and there's usually something idiotic you can laugh at.

Maybe watch the quiz panel shows they're playing on Dave past 7pm at the moment, they're a bit more interesting and funny. It'll cheer you up, trust me. :D

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by pubju » Tue 01.22.2008 10:02 pm

Thanks for the replies. I think the only way to get through this is to just dig in and work my arse off to catch up, and then stay infront. Theres not *too* much work to catch up on really, its about 100 kanji and a few lessons in the Genki book. Gonna get started tomorrow :P

And about visiting Japan; aint gonna happen. Not as an un-employed student living off an overdraft :P Not unless I can get a flight for £100 and live in run-down hotel for $10 per night :P

Oh and speaking of Dave, 'whose line is it anyway?' is a bloody amazing show :P

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RE: Boosting motivation?

Post by burstandbloom » Wed 01.23.2008 4:13 am

I was going to say something real deep, but I'm being yelled at to go to bed by my girlfriend. ( I feel like I'm 12) Anyway, stick to it like everyone else says. Even if you lost motivation so fast or whatever, it doesn't mean it is not for you. That can happen, especially if at college you have a lot of other courses. And the Christmas Break thing, I do the same. It sucks, I wish I studied more over break, but I like to see my friends back home during break. It's normal, you're only human. The important thing is that you bounce back after every little discouragement. It happens to me all the time. It's going to have ups and downs along the way. You may fall behind, or think you're not getting anywhere, and then the next day it all seems to make sense and you're remembering all these kanji readings. That's just how it goes for me I guess. So keep at it for a little while longer, you'll know it is not for you when you quit. Just truck a long and do it. Good luck.
By the way you're really lucky you can choose it as a major at your school.

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