Keeping motivated while in college

I started as a basic member of Lingq about a few days before my college semester started up, and I’ve noticed that since I’ve started class I have barely logged in on here to review over material. Sure, I’m taking German class anyway, but it’s an elementary class which I’ve already taken before (in HS and College) but go to for review and to help motivate others into language learning. Sadly the class revolves around grammar, which is to be expected, so rather than focus on lingq I find myself trying to recall grammar rules for tests rather than learn vocab.

I was wondering how many other students are here, and I was wondering what you all did to stay motivated with languages? I could use some suggestions! Not only am I burdened with classwork, but I’ve got quite the case of ADD. :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course this topic can apply to anybody who is burdened with work, school, family, business, etc etc etc. How do you find motivation to pick up on more grammar after a long hard day?

edit: “How do you find motivation to pick up on more vocab after a long hard day?”

I try to do what Steve recomends to do: to listen and study contents that is interesting to me, it doesn´t feel like study, I am enjoying the language. If somebody asks me what am I listen, I will say: “I am listening people talking about something” or " I am listening some podcast" instead of say: “I am studying English”.
I will put some effort to improve my knowledge but not so much, I will become better gradually.

Hi, der wanderer,

Since French is a vital part of my life and studies, I just make the time. Here’s how: I no longer separate the study of French in terms of School-Work vs. Independent Study. In other words, the aforementioned cease to be mutually exclusive, when it comes to learning this language. I combine the two in my approach because all I’m doing is Studying French, if you will. French like any other language is huge. If I just did the assigned homework, I would not get very far, so I do a lot more work at home.

Now, since I think that most learning takes place outside of the classroom, whatever additional and supplemental materials I use to maintain a daily routine of studying French, and in making progress, makes my experience in the classroom much more enjoyable because in the classroom I have to perform in ways that I do not have to perform outside of the classroom. And yet my performance in the classroom is directly in tune with the language rather than in tune with homework assignments.

Because I engage my time in a tremendous amount of “extra” reading and “extra” listening, I find that I don’t have to struggle and switch gears (from English to French). For some of my classmates, French ends when the lecture ends–it is back to English. For me, when the French lecture ends the French continues all day. I even take notes in French in my other classes.

Ultimately, I think that we are all responsible for our education, for our learning, and the most successful learner is one who seeks and seizes every opportunity to learn more each day.

As you know, school provides a structure for the study of various subjects; but your life is your own to build and structure. I build my life in such a way that school is an intricate part of it. Yet I place freedom and choice in learning first, which means in this case that the decision to study “extra” French is my own. Frankly, I have not met the “unknown” in class; for example, the introduction of new authors, new vocabulary, new texts. This is because of the work I do outside of the classroom, here at LingQ and elsewhere i.e. my bibliotheque, podcasts, etc. If I waited to be “taught,” I would be in a sorry, sad, and unenlightened place.

If you make LingQ a part of your daily routine (or 5 or 6 days out of 7), you will note a significant growth in your knowledge and study of German. You will! And please don’t fret about the grammar in the classroom. You may want to think of it as one of the limbs on the body of German which you inhabit at this moment in your life. When you have all your limbs in working order, you can move around in the language that much easier. And you will feel awesome in the process.

Reading the texts here will reinforce grammar usage in a way that just studying the rules will not. I have to study rules (I try to read them thoroughly, I do not memorize), but in reading different texts where the rules of grammar are in action consolidates my understanding. I think grammar is important, because it helps us to see how the language appears to be functioning on a mechanical and micro level. For me, it is like looking at pieces of garments before they are sewn into place. What is most appealing and useful, of course, is the finished product that adorns the body.

Yes, we are made to study grammar in school, but this enforcement is out of our control. Whatever is in our control, however, we can embrace with our strength and ability and creativeness.

About new vocabulary: Certainly I encounter new vocabulary all the time. In the above statement, I am mostly referring to words that I already know or recognized that appear in the textbook for “memorization” for instance.

I am in university as well right now, and I have found that I have to set a particular time of day for my language(s) otherwise I will not do them at all. I usually do my main German learning in the morning (around 0700ish) and do some other learning throughout the day with it as well. Since I am living on an international floor I am able to practice my German a lot. With Spanish, which is my major, I have to sit down, shut up, and do the work sadly enough. It just can’t be avoided. But! I do a lot of work outside of class where much of it does not pertain to the class at all! Also, there are native Spanish Speakers on the floor so I am able to take what I have learned and use it. What I mainly learn is actually outside of my Spanish classes either on my own or with one of the natives.

For you, I would suggest doing your own thing with German all the time everyday. Set a few learning/study periods per day and stick to those times! Yes, you do have to do the grammar work from class for that grade, but try and do something with it actually. I like what Moses McCormick does for practicing the language when natives are not available. Make up some practice sentences (try and make them meaningful where you know you may just use it in a conversation) with the new grammar points and use as much of the vocabulary that you are learning right now on lingq and try and go to chat rooms if possible. Also, I would highly suggest looking for a German Club at your university in order to get some practice.

Thank you everyone for the input thus far!

I certainly study content that is interesting to me, and the wonderful thing about language learning is if you love the language the content almost never matters. :stuck_out_tongue: For instance I’ve found myself intrigued even with Business lingo in German despite the fact that my focus is on German literature and philosophy. I can even enjoy songs in styles of music that I generally don’t care for, with lyrics I generally don’t care for, if it’s in German. :slight_smile: The hard part is putting in more input where my day has already burdened me with it. But I’m learning to expand my daily capabilities.

I feel that once I have a better understanding and ability in German it will be easier to learn. I’m somewhat understanding of the grammar rules, just not good at applying them yet as I’m much more interested in reading German texts than speaking in German (so far). Once I can develop a level to do both comfortably though I feel things will take off much better from there. Of course it all requires tons of work, and I’ll gladly be willing to do it.

In regards to German Clubs, I actually started a German Club at my college the first year I attended, sadly it didn’t receive much support or interest from the Administrators who continually delayed it’s development, and thus by the time it was “official” as a club there was little spark left to keep it going. Thankfully though I will be attending University this Fall, and there I am confident they have many German clubs, including either a Stammtisch or Kaffeestunde in which I can go to listen and talk to German with fellow students. Once I’m in University I will also be away from home, which means away from frequent family stresses and burdens, thus I can focus strictly on my studies with few interruptions.

I need to learn how to organize times, but how does one do that? My biggest problem has always been that I am not one for planning. Some days I like studying German in the morning, other days I prefer sitting down and going over German audio files at night, and at other times I my German studies consist of relaxing to German music. Again though, this is also due to having a chaotic lifestyle in which nothing is set in stone, and it’s hard to keep study appointments if I don’t know what will come up. Hopefully University life will change that, and I’m confident it will.

Does anyone else find themselves using the language they’re learning to people who have no understanding of the language? I personally tend to ask my parents general German questions, or when I’m out and about picking up groceries or at the bookstore I almost always mentally visualize the German words rather than the English, and many times even speak it out loud. I think this tiny bit of daily output has helped keep my German from atrophying over the years, not to mention it helps me learn how to think in German and gives me time to use it when I’m unable to sit down and study it properly.

My biggest qualms with grammar and how language is taught in school is the awful vocab lists… Reading over basic vocab in my Elementary German class’ textbook only confuses me, and this is SIMPLE vocab. Of course I always find other ways to learn it: constructing sentences with the vocabulary I need to learn and reviewing what I’ve written, or finding examples of it on lingq, but I fear for the students new to a language, who look at vocab lists with no guidance and even after hours and hours of study still have trouble recalling words or noun genders. That is perhaps another discussion though. :wink:

Obviously, if you can meet any german exchange students then befriending them is a must. LingQ + class + conversation with a native = success

Also, am I am rapidly finding that the quickest way to success with learning languages is to never take a day off. Practice every day!

If you can sneak in little listening sessions throughout the day, you may find yourself more motivated to do just that little bit of extra study (e.g. on LingQ) at night / on weekends.

I love listening when I’m walking, on the tram, while I’m doing work (depending on the work). It doesn’t require great time-management skills, just a habit of turning your MP3 player on whenever you have 10, 15, 30 mins etc (and if you’re like me, keeping track of how long you have been listening!)

If you keep it up every day, it quickly adds up and then that little bit of extra study here and there will only reinforce it :slight_smile:

I think the majority of Exchange Students at my future University are from India, Japan, and the Middle East, but I’m bound to find at least one German I think (or one German speaker! At least I know the Faculty is mostly native. :wink: ) Learning every day will take some getting used to, but again since it’s so fun it’s not like it’s overly hard to do.

I’ve been listening more often now than I have in the past. Mostly I was working with free audio files of well known German works, but sometimes these recordings were so bad that I couldn’t tolerate it (one of which you can hear the sounds of a heater and things continuously clicking in the background…) Thanks to lingq files and the WONDERFUL people who take the time to record these readings I’ve been able to download the same books I love but with fantastic delivery. Now I listen to at least some German every day during my long breaks in between classes.

The only problem is I need to find shorter audio files that are still interesting. Lately working with literary works the shortest audio file is generally twenty-some odd minutes long, and sometimes I only have the time for a quick 15 minute refresher while waiting for classes to start. Perhaps I’ll have to settle for shorter lessons, or manage to break up chapters in sections.

I can relate der wander. I find myself unmotivated to study my German as well at times, but I have a passion for the language and I just try to find things that are interesting so when I’m studying it doesn’t feel like work. It requires a lot of persistence and time which is hard to do when you have everything else in life that you gotta do aswell. But as they say, no pain no gain :wink: Good luck in your studies

Studying certainly never feels like work, ok, except when reviewing over Grammar rules for class, although retaking Elementary German for the 3rd time for fun hasn’t been too challenging (thankfully). The hardest part is not getting to hear German frequently in a natural setting, although as of late my professor has been speaking in German practically the whole class period, which is good for me, but bad for the one or two who are just starting the language.

Thank you, and good luck in yours as well!

Sorry to link drop but you may want to read this article I wtote about motivation maintenece.

(I hope this is allowed here)

Of course this is allowed. Thanks for contributing.