After 30 days, how do I feel about this challenge? I feel both encouraged and discouraged. I figured that this would not be easy and I was right. Here are a list of things that I have found to be discouraging & encouraging over the last month:
- It's hard to stay motivated.
- Learning new vocabulary is a long process with not many immediate results.
- My ability to come up with sentences on my own is severely lacking. I'm not sure if this is because of my lack of a full vocabulary, or if I am just trying too hard to get it perfect, therefore causing nothing to flow out.
- I don't feel like I have really grown by leaps and bounds as I thought I would in this time.
- I was hoping that by this point I might be able to have a basic conversation with a native speaker with a reasonable level of confidence, but I don't think that I have reached that point yet either.
- I have learned quite a few new words.
- Pimsleur has been a consistently helpful tool. I don't think it will take me near as far as I would like to go, but it has been a good constant study friend to me.
- Memrise is probably one of the easiest ways to learn new vocabulary and the spaced repetition that it provides is wonderful. It's a fun way to learn, that's for sure.
- I am understanding more words when I hear them in movies or when I see them on everything from jars of food to Chinese literature. I still have a long way to go, but it is nice to recognize things here and there.
- My children have learned more Mandarin as a result of my 90 day challenge. It is fun to think that they could be so much further than I am if they keep it up in years to come. Ah, to have a mind like a child!
- People think it's very cool that I am learning Mandarin. That's a fun aspect of this whole thing as well.
So what now? Tomorrow I am going to start up Pimsleur's Mandarin II and do that for the next 30 days. I'm also making my way slowly through the HSK set on Memrise. I am in the HSK 3 vocabulary right now and so I am going a bit slower, given all the new words. I would like to add something else to my practicing, but I don't know what that could be considering my time constraints. Maybe I will try to utilize iTalki more. If anyone reads this and has ideas of how I can get over some of the hurdles I mentioned above, let me know.
If anything, I am happy that I have done what I set out to do and don't plan on stopping any time soon. Here is to the next 30 days!