5 tips to Avoid Burnout When Learning Japanese by KCP Student Brody Stejskal

Language learning may be fulfilling but it can also be a rigorous experience, and the intensity can cause you to feel bouts of exhaustion and stress. KCP Winter and Spring 2019 student Brody Stejskal offers several valuable tips on avoiding burnout. Thanks, Brody!

Outside of your three-hour class, you are expected to study four to six hours every day. If you wake up at 7 am and go to bed at 11 pm you have 16 hours in your day (seven to nine of which are dedicated to Japanese).

Here are 5 tips to avoid burnout when learning Japanese:

My schedule.

1. Break up your hours into 45 minutes of work and 15 minutes for breaks. You are most alert at the beginning of starting a task, so as time goes on your productivity decreases. However, taking breaks refreshes your ability to be more productive. Next time you think about taking that five hours study session, try breaking it up.

2. The program is built on previous lessons, so you have to keep reviewing the lessons you know. The phrase “use it or lose it” really does apply for language. Remember how to use the に particle from chapter 5? Well, chapter 14 can only be learned if you know how and when to use に. Not only should you review, but looking ahead at the next chapter before class will help you stay ahead of the curve.

3. Active learning like workbooks, participating in class, and homework are really important, but sometimes you just want the information downloaded straight into your brain! Passive learning is a great way to destress and train your brain without all the effort. Watching anime or reading a kids books with furigana (the tiny hiragana above the kanji) can take you to the next level in your comprehension. Beware of using English subtitles and reading manga with irrelevant vocabulary. Using English subtitles will hinder your ability to listen to the Japanese words. Try to find a show or book that has a “slice of life” feel instead of learning “sci-fi alien samurai” words.

4. Ask for help: teachers, English support, and friends are amazing resources. The worst thing you can do is bottle it up to yourself and find out that the next day is the big test. Since all of the classes are done in Japanese, they offer an optional class for English speakers. Do not let the “optional“ trick you, the English Support Class is necessary for your success in learning Japanese. The teachers are very involved, as well. They love to help and watch you grow. Friends can be distracting, so finding the people who motivate you to work harder is key.

5. Explore Japan. After your homework is done, your questions are answered, and you’ve had enough, go out to the city or the countryside and use your knowledge in the real world. The worst thing you could do is shut out the world around you. Look at every sign, take out your headphones, and speak to the conbini store clerks. Applying your Japanese knowledge is exactly why you learned in the first place.