I really let myself down today. (Day 21)

This isn’t my usual summary blog. I’ve been reflecting on a lot of my decisions in this past year and I have a lot of uncertainty as to how many of them were “correct.” I know how subjective that sounds, so in context I’m defining correct in the utilitarian sense that the results of my decisions have yielded the most enjoyment or were the most rewarding.

They haven’t, And they weren’t.

At some point last Fall I thought it would be a really fun, enjoyable educational experience to study abroad this Fall. I was only a month or two into Japanese, but I found myself enjoying it more than nearly any other class and I thought I’d continue to impress myself with my quick understanding of concepts and mechanics. I’d always wanted to go to Japan, not as a tourist but as a resident–immersed, engaged and interacting with the culture. This was the time. Commitments to school and personal life would restrict any other time frame. So whether I was ready or not, it had to be now. Fall of 2013. So I told myself I’d be ready.

I’m not. The first symptoms of unpreparedness occurred on Day 1 at NKK where I realized that the CJS program was not nearly as beginner-friendly as I had imagined it would be. I thought that it would have a large appeal for one-year learners like myself. That was the requirement, after all. But that’s not the case. Every. Single. Person. Here. is a thousand times better at this language than me. And it makes sense–they’ve got more experience. But if I had known that going in there would be very few beginners (and in turn, very little resources for beginners,) I might not have made my decision so recklessly.

I want to speak in Japanese with my peers. But I can’t. I can’t articulate myself well. I can say simple things, but nobody with 3-5 years (or much less a native speaker) of Japanese wants to sit and chat using the vocabulary of a four year old. That’s not productive for them. But I can’t keep up, and it shows.

It showed today, when I took my day 1 exam to see if I was prepared enough for NIJ400–level 2 Japanese. I wasn’t. I failed miserably, in nearly every way imaginable. I’m not even good enough for the level I’m supposed to be at. A year of this language, and I have nothing to show for it. I keep repeating in my head, “How could I pass with a 96% and suck this bad?” I still don’t have an answer.

I don’t know why, or how, or what I’m even doing here anymore. I want to get past this and enjoy the semester. But what if I’m wasting 8 credit hours on repeated lessons that won’t count toward my degree? What if I can’t keep up at the level I’m supposed to have reached when I go back home? Every scenario sucks. Everything I came here to do seems to have backfired.

This might actually be the first time in my life that I have tasted pure, authentic failure.

I want so badly to believe that there’s still some reason that I came here. That there’s still a way for me gain a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of purpose. But I can’t find it by myself.

About playbradlyplay

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One Response to I really let myself down today. (Day 21)

  1. Penney Barrett says:

    Sweetie pie, do not be so hard on yourself! All is not lost! This is an experience of a lifetime. So many new people have come into your life for a reason. I’m sure they are not judging you as harshly as you are judging yourself. Give it a chance. Deep down you knew it was going to be tough or you wouldn’t have worried so. Japan’s educational system is more advanced than ours. Plus, you said others have more years of experience. Is that so wrong? Does more experience make you less smarter? NO! It’s just more experience. This is a new challenge for you. It is what you need. You have always pushed yourself. Once you get over the initial shock, you will buckle down and forge ahead! I recall two times in your life where you felt below your potential. Once in Springfield for your ACT award in middle school, you said, so many people were smarter than you. Another time in High School, you came home so depressed and inconsolable, when I finally got you to tell me, you said you got a B+, your first one ever. And you know what? You overcame them both and was a better person. You will come back with so much more knowledge than when you left here. It is NOT wasted time being there! Give yourself time to grieve, then get back up and move forward! All of us back home are cheering for you! We have faith in you and no matter what, remember, this is what you always wanted, to travel to Japan!! You made it happen, all on your own! I’m so proud! I love you with all my heart and soul, Bradly.

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