Sunday, June 11, 2017

Being a Sponge: Realizing Your Breaking Point

How is it going? I have taken a little time off as the past month has been a little hectic with other things taking priority but we are back at it again!

When trying to learn anything knew, it is important to take it in steps. We can't assume to learn everything in one sitting. How much time can you dedicate to one thing before you need to stop? That depends on every session. I like to view my mind as a sponge; if I try to put way to much information in a small setting, it won't be able to absorb all that is presented to me. Instead, if I take small steps along the way, I can retain a lot more information so that it stays with me for the next time.
This is a pretty good representation of how I feel when I can't retain anything else.
A good example of this was when I learned the phrase, "I don't care" in Mandarin. Instead of brushing it aside and learning more things, I took it upon myself to use it multiple times in a conversation. This really helped me to remember how to say it and when to use it. I made sure to keep myself from getting overwhelmed with information.

This past month I started meeting with new students at the University of Maryland. This situation usually causes my sponge to overflow with information. I met two weeks in a row which caused two different reactions for me. The first week I was stressed out and had a lot on my mind. While I tried to talk as best I could, nothing really was "sticking" and I could hardly understand a sentence that was said to me. The second week I came at it with a different approach, was more structured, and even challenged myself by not falling back to English and had a more positive result.
Some notes from one of my previous meetings. No English was allowed.
I like the idea of not falling back. This causes you to learn what is being said with no direct translation. When discussing how I struggle to read handwritten characters, I learned the phrase for short hand characters without any English explanation. This means that my whole understanding of the phrase is directly in Mandarin. Now, I have no way of falling back to English because I never learned it that way.

Here is a quick video recapping what I've done the past few weeks. The time it takes to add the subtitles right now is more effort than it is worth.  Instead, here is a summary of what I talk about:
A few weeks ago I built a new computer, last week I volunteered, and today I want to ride my bike. It is too hot outside so I should drink a lot of water. I thought building a computer was very hard but now I think everyone can do it. Later, I have to buy food and wash my clothes. Yesterday I went running.
Until next time.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another Post, Another Talk About Dogs

So if you know me quite well, you are not surprised to know that I have a dog. He is wonderful. I make to let everybody know.

Why am I mentioning this? When I go about learning words, I learn the words that apply to me. I need to know phrases that I will likely use because......I plan to use them. Being as I don't have a cat, the need to talk about cats isn't as high on my priority. This is likely why you hear me mention "kelbi" nearly every video, because that is "my dog".
Look at how tired they are though! You may not know this, but I really like my dog.
I learned very quickly how to say "engineer" not because it is an easy word to say, but because I need to be able to say it. This means I learn it much sooner than would typically be taught, but I also will be using it more than the average learner would.
Hesitated in writing the translations in Arabic and instead just used the phonetic versions.
Anyways, I'll keep this short. I started writing out some sentences and seeing how well I could translate them before having to look up words and I was pleasantly surprised. I've gotten very good in the past few weeks at saying "to swim" (which coincidentally is how long I have been swimming again).

Until next time.