Like most college students with schedules dominated by numerous courses and weekly meetings, I’m not immune to occasional bouts of burnout. In fact, after taking two winter session courses in January, academic fatigue arrived just in time for the beginning of my spring semester classes.
Dealing with academic burnout is difficult for a number of reasons, but there are some tricks from language learning that, in my experience, help train your brain to overcome the challenge and persevere.
Anyone who voluntarily studies foreign languages can tell you that it’s not all smooth sailing through new vocabulary and advancing grammar constructions. There’s an added motivation factor that comes with practicing your target language outside of class, in addition to your homework assignments, and over lengthy school breaks.
A lack of motivation to practice my languages was never a problem for me when the excitement of first learning was fresh or when I was in immersive environments where the language itself was inescapable. However, when the honeymoon phase is over and studying, reviewing, and memorization become daily requirements, that continuous linguistic curiosity starts to diminish.
I often experience this during school breaks when lacking the structure my classes provide each semester starts to take a toll on my ability to schedule a balance between three different languages each day. I’ll start with blocking off specific times for each, and then over the course of a few weeks, it is a rarity if I get to all of them in a day. Continue reading