Sunday, October 18, 2015

All Hope Is Lost... until next time I hope

Recommended tool for surviving class
Sitting in a cold, moldy basement I started to question my existence, life choices, and the futility of hope.  I walked through all the choices in my life that had brought me to this point and I deemed them wrong.  At times I could hear my teacher talking, but mostly I focused on the six hour game of phone solitaire that I was playing in hopes that it might help me cling to some small part of sanity.  It those moments I realized that dreams aren't worth it.  The only thing that mattered was not losing my mind.

That was me yesterday. Trying to cope with my final 8 hour class taught be the worst teacher I have ever had. Today I actually do want to live again, but I'm still not sold that dreams are worth it.  I'm mentally drained and the sound of all languages makes me twitch.  The sight of my text book, straight up makes me want to cry.  Thankfully most of my English classes are cancelled and I can spend the day meditating on what's important. It might help me find a sliver of that inner peace I used to promote as, "The most important thing" before I stuffed it in a gutter for two years while I attempted to complete the KIIP program.

Two weeks from now I will take the final exam for the second time, and I will fail it for a second time. Despite intense effort, I simply haven't been able to reach the level they require in the time allotted. It's maddening. However, I also know it's not from lack of trying or lack of knowing. I'm just not a person who can memorize and regurgitate. I'm a slow methodical person who has to understand everything in great detail - so I can't make the deadline.  I'm still learning the language and they want me to be memorizing data.

Has the journey been worth it?  It's hard to say. Sitting in class for 6-8 hours nearly every Sunday for years, for me, can only be described as psychologically crushing. Especially since, for 1.5 years, I was studying at least 6-8 hours a day on top of that. In the intensity I lost all grasp on all languages I speak, along with sanity, and control of my emotions.  I felt mental and physical pain from learning.  I've never experienced anything like it. It was as if my brain was being ripped apart and rewired and, frankly, I couldn't handle it. Especially because it felt like I never improved. I'm still so far from where I need to be it's humiliating.

You might think, "Good lord, how stupid must she be? Who studies that much and still can't pass a test?"  A person with Dyslexia, that's who.  It was so hard to overcome this. No matter how many times I saw things I couldn't get it to stick right.  Each time it looked new or different. Thankfully I overcame this with colored film, but the time was still lost. As they say, those are years you can't get back.

There was also that whole 6 months of bed rest after an injury the day before KIIP started, along with a year of pain killers and rebuilding my left leg that made it a bit difficult to focus, but- honestly - that was nothing compared to the mental pain so I kind of forget about it these days.  Let's just say that there were many battles being fought and, for a long time, I felt like I was losing all of them.

So, after yesterdays little mental collapse, I'm staring down the barrel of this final test I'm just like, "Screw it. I'm done."  I'm not going to cram for this.  Yes, I'll have to take the class one more time, but at this point I don't even care because I NEED it.  I'm not the person who can pick up a new language in a minute.  I need it jammed into my thick skull by force until my brain is so miserable it just gives up and accepts the new reality.

So, for all of you out there trying to keep you head above the KIIP waters. Fighting!!! Our misery will end someday as long as we just keep showing up.  Some of us will be rewarded, not for our intelligence, but our sheer stubbornness and that's good enough for me.


VoiceOfReason said...

Hi Lanae.
Sorry to hear about your struggles. But your postings have helped me embark on the same journey as you have.
After living here for such a long time without any formal language lessons, I was grateful to find your blog and start the KIIP program.

Hopefully I can be finished with the entire thing by the end of 2016 ( I tested into level 3 and bought the book a month in advance and made all the translations and worked out all the problems). I reckon level 4 shouldn't be too hard since I can rely on your grammar notes.
Level 5 is another matter altogether, the material in the book is so advanced it makes my head hurt.
Still, I have a month of vacation so I should be able to get through it.

Thanks for everything

You Are Here said...

Knowing that all the documentation and posts help people really do help take away some of the pain. When I started the program years ago there was no help. The old text books were awful and I just wandered aimlessly for the first year trying to gather all the materials I needed to survive. However, that put me way behind the curve and prolonged the pain. During that time I just thought, "I don't want other people to have to go through this." The fact that what I have posted has saved people years of study and pain makes me incredibly happy and I feel like it was worth it.

In the end, I'm so happy for the struggle. Hopefully I can get through the program now. Level 5 is my nightmare.

My point being THANK YOU SO MUCH!! for letting me know it has helped. It's like getting an early Christmas present.

VoiceOfReason said...


It's that time of the year when the warmer weather nudges me in the ribs to get cut down on my regular naps and get things done.

I have one more month left on KIIP level 4, and I am feeling confident. It turns out that grammar is actually easier because I don't even have to know the meanings of every word ( just to suss out whether the 2 sentences are opposite or complement one another ). It's almost like solving a puzzle and choosing the most likey piece to fit. Luckily, there's only a 200 character essay at the end and I can fill that up with long nouns.

I finally looked at the Level 5 culture book; there's hardly any grammar. I couldn't get through all those 50 chapters and make translations for all the words I didn't know, so I just translated and answered the short questions at the end.
Now I can rest knowing that I have slightly less work to do when I eventually start the Level 5 course. ( I thought about tanking this upcoming level 4 test to get more speaking practice on the second go-round, but they changed the rules and one cannot fail twice).
Besides, I don't think I have it in me to sit for another 100 hour course when I could be taking my regular naps.

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the KIIP course will not adequately prepare me to be fluent in Korean. I can just as easily solve the grammar puzzles without learning how to speak properly.

I looked at TOPIK, and it's even worse in training for conversation.

My decision is made: I will no longer seek to attain fluency; instead I will greedily obtain cerfification. I just want the paper. People already assume that my Korean is amazing simply because I can order food at a restaurant, now I will get the paperwork to prove that.

TOPIK 2 starting in July, and I will see where I place.
Then the KIIP culture class (whenever that opens up) hopefully before the summer vacation.
Then I should root around the internet to get the so-called business TOPIK and see how that goes.

My apologies, this is quite a long and unnecessary update from a stranger.... but then again, you inspire me.
I tell people anout you all the time