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#college struggles

word or sentence requirements. like if I use a big word or long detailed sentences then those should count as more. I feel like those minimums hinder my writing. so often through my education we are taught to write succinctly, which is beneficial during standardized testing, and yet now im just trying to fill word counts (*insert eye roll emoji*). art history is kinda bad about that I feel. they want this long winded and drawn out over analysis of an image but the reality is sometimes they were just horny and those were the only colors they had with them to paint with, like it doesn’t always have to be this big thing. 

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I forgot to take my exam yesterday, and I panicked today when I realized I was supposed to take an exam yesterday. I sent my prof an email explaining how I forgot there was an exam and how he would understand because he too has ADHD. I wasn’t actually expecting him to do something about it but he reopened the exam today and I took it. He is my hero.

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I’m 19 years old young and more of an adult than last year. And advice to the younger ones, adulting lowkey sucks so enjoy the chill days. And ik it’s so stereotypical to be like oh bills and stuff but bro I hate how my actions and mistakes have real consequences now. I no longer can do dumb stuff and just get away with it. I hate doing fafsa and all the scholarships. Because if I mess up, I wont get money and I cant go to college. College is tough as is already. Your whole life depends on the professor you get and going to public college you’ll probably get the crappy professors. Gosh I’m so scared about what’s to come. I feel like a mess, so not ready to be an adult. I dont have a job. I dont have experience. I dont have volunteering experience. I dont have a 4.0 gpa. It’s so stressful. I dont have a decked out resume. What am I supposed to so.

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Dad: Shouldn’t you be writing your final papers or something?

Me, lying facedown in the middle of the living room: I am an academic and a scholar of fine literature and this part of my very academic and well thought out critical writing process.

Dad: Okay then sweetie I’ll be in the yard if you need me.

Me: Mmmmph.

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Man, I am SO close to finishing my assignments for the semester and my next one is due on Saturday but I just CANNOT find the energy to do it. I sit down with my coffee and my essay plan layout, set a timer to work for 30 mins straight before I break, and the next thing I know I have written a poorly phrased sentence before I’ve made my way to YouTube to look for some random video I saw once 6 years ago

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Hello! I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog! I am open to a fault lol. Let me recount my meandering journey through uni, illustrating my feelings through gifs of Noel Fielding because he is my celebrity crush.

Uni is such a difficult time for so many people, trying to figure out who you are now and who you want to be later. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized what I wanted to do. I started writing out my university experience and it got super long, so allow me to just summarize my “Lessons Learned” here and you can read the rest if you want to know all the dirty deets lol. I double-majored in Japanese and English, so I think that my experience can perhaps be useful to people who are majoring in things other than Japanese as well. 

Hard-Learned Lessons from Uni

  • Do not choose a course of study because it is “practical.” Choose it because it is something you love. Seriously. Nothing is more important than this point. Do not choose a major because “I’ll make a lot of money” or “My parents are telling me this is good for me.” 
  • If you are learning multiple languages at once, you must give your brain time to organize what you learned from one language lesson before moving on to the next. You can do this by waiting a couple hours between lessons, getting up and walking around, studying one language in different space from the other, etc. Otherwise, it all becomes a terrible mess in your head.
  • It’s okay not to know what you want your career to be. It’s okay not to have a specific plan. Life works out one way or the other.
  • I know how expensive uni can be. (It’s been six years since I graduated and I’m still making hefty loan payments.) But don’t feel like you have to take a full courseload every single semester and graduated asap, particularly if the classes are hard and/or you are working. I took the maximum credit hours allowed every semester on top of working RIDICULOUS hours and it nearly killed me at one point. I’m not kidding. 
  • It is not unusual to have an identity crisis and/or mental breakdown. Take care of yourself. Know when you are nearing breaking point. Seek out the help of professionals. Most universities have psychiatrists and therapists that will see you very cheaply. 
  • Surround yourself with good people and look out for each other. 
  • Do not rely on substances to ease your suffering because sometimes the remedy becomes the malady. Not saying you should avoid all parties or anything square like that, but just don’t be one of those people that parties every night and gets in over their head. 

Let me preface this by stating that I’m an American, and our universities are stupid because they force us to take a ton of “general education” courses that are irrelevant to our majors, and many students spend their first couple years taking only a couple courses related to their majors and minors, and try to focus on getting those stupid gen eds out of the way. 

Year 1: Oh Shit, This Is Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

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I come from a town of less than 2600 people. Our high school prepared its students for the following career paths:

  • joining the military (boys only)
  • becoming a farmer (boys only)
  • welding, carpentry, or other practical jobs (boys only)
  • becoming a housewife (girls only)

So basically I coasted through high school never having to study anything because it was one great big joke, only I thought I was like super duper smart because I was in the top five of my graduating class of 48. LOLLLLLLLLL

I entered university as a German major, Japanese minor. (Japanese was not offered as a major at my uni). I had never studied German previously, but I studied Spanish and French in high school and I just had this feeling that German and Japanese were the languages for me. 

The first semester, I had Japanese 101 and German 101 back to back, in the EXACT SAME CLASSROOM. I can’t stress enough how much of a mindfuck it was to go from thinking about Japanese for 50 minutes, having a 10 minute break, and then trying to switch your brain to German. IN THE SAME ROOM. It actually gave me headaches to try and make that mental jump. Managed to pull through the year with A’s in both, but German was much more of a challenge to me than Japanese. Which was really unexpected. 

I also flunked several gen eds because I didn’t give a shit about them and skipped them and got placed on academic probation and was nearly kicked out of uni because of my poor grades

Basically, I was such a weeb that I had watched enough anime with subtitles and sung along to enough anime songs that I had absorbed about 90% of the first year’s worth of Japanese vocab and grammar through osmosis. I really did have the power of God and anime on my side.

Year 2: The Year of the Mid-Midlife Crisis and Mental Breakdown

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There really is no gif that will encapsulate the level of turmoil I went through that year. I looked really hard for one, trust me.

It became apparent very quickly that I could not keep up with German. I ended up dropping it early in the first semester, which meant I had to choose a new major. Thinking of what would be practical to pair with a Japanese minor, I went for International Business for a semester, took Accounting, and realized that I HATE The Man, corporate bullshit, and also numbers as a concept.

All I knew at this point was that I liked Japanese but couldn’t make it a major. I also knew I didn’t want to transfer universities. So I kept taking gen eds, just barely passing them because to this day I cannot bring myself to put effort into something I do not care about, and also taking more classes related to my Japanese minor. It was the Japanese classes that saved my GPA and kept me from getting kicked out of uni.

At the same time, I took a creative writing course because that’s been a hobby of mine since elementary school, and I kinda thought about an English major, but then was like, “Eww I don’t wanna be forced to read books I don’t give a shit about. And also, what will I do with that degree?”

Also, at the same time, I was working full time, and often getting stuck working from 2 pm to 7 am (Yes, 15-hour shifts, because the overnight dude would call in sick last minute and I’d be begged to cover his shift), and then dragging myself to classes and drooling on the desks because I’d fall asleep.

Also also, I started to have possible hallucinations? To this day I don’t know what was going on, but either I was legitimately going crazy, or there was a demon following me around and being quite rude to me, making light fixtures fall and shatter inches from my head, throwing papers around my room, opening and closing doors, turning lights off and on, coming to me in dreams and doing some really, really traumatic things to me in them, and just standing in corners staring at me at all hours of the night. Had me so scared that towards the end of the school year I was waiting to sleep until sunrise, when it would go away. And no, I was not using any mind-altering substances of any sort. Not even going out and getting drunk. 

So, yeah. Year Two was a hard one that I can’t believe I pushed through. Probably the darkest year of my life, I’d say. What got me through it? An unhealthy amount of energy drinks, friends, and my love of Japanese. Also Aerosmith.

Do I still see that demon? No. He vanished when the school year ended and I moved out of the dorms. Do I believe in the supernatural? Yes, to an extent. Do I think that what I was seeing was actually a demon? I honestly don’t know. I have had actual supernatural experiences verified by multiple witnesses, and a few years before Year 2, several friends and myself had seen an entity similar to what was following me around. But this one in Year 2 only did things when I was alone. So it could have all been in my head, and I will never know. 

Since then, I have been diagnosed with general anxiety and also a form of insomnia that keeps me from sleeping through the night, and I know that my anxiety manifests itself in psychosomatic ways. In other words, my mind will take my anxiety and turn it into a physical symptom that feels real in every way, but is actually not occurring. So far it’s manifested as: sensitivity to sunlight, the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, half of my face going numb, and headaches in my left eye. Once I realize that the symptom is just my anxiety, I can force myself to ignore and overcome it. But then my anxiety finds a new form to manifest, and the cycle repeats a few months later. It could be that my stress caused me to see this demon for a while.

Should I have consulted a psychiatrist and gotten help? YEP. If you find yourself struggling like that, seek help please. 💕

Year 3: Adrift But Afloat

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I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment with my best friend, a Japanese girl I met in the dorms freshman year. I will call her Setsuko. Setsuko is basically the reason I graduated uni. She memorized my class schedules and took copies of exam dates, woke me up, forced me to go classes instead of skipping, forced me to go to the library and study with her, and cooked me dinner most days since she didn’t have to work like I did. I can’t express enough how much she did to improve my life outside of school and work, and how much that improved my mental health. She also acclimated me to lots of subtle things about Japanese culture just by living with her, and this helped me later when I moved to Japan. Thank you, Setsuko. 一生の恩人。

I was still doing those bullshit 15-hour overnight shifts way more than I should have, and also had the maximum courseload.

The Japanese classes got a lot more difficult in Year 3. But I loved them. They were the only classes I never skipped. I took more classes towards the minor like Buddhist Philosophy and Japanese History, which I really enjoyed. While polishing off more gen eds, I thought over what to do with my major. 

My family and friends all told me that I should become an English teacher. I had always been good at words and at explaining things. But I didn’t really like the idea of being a high school teacher. I became an English major, though, because I knew that I didn’t hate English. Took grammar classes and HOLY SHIT did I hit my stride.

I realized that I didn’t like English lit. I liked linguistics. So I focused heavily on all grammar and linguistics courses, taking the bare minimum of literature courses required for the major. My GPA improved substantially. 

Yet I still was consumed with this nagging fear. It was Year 3 and I still had no fucking idea what I wanted to do when I graduated.

Year 4: Clarity At The 11th Hour

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Urged on by my “Don’t you dare get one of those stupid arts degrees that won’t get you a paycheck” parents, I decided that the most “practical” degree would not be “English,” but “English Education.” I began taking the English Ed classes with linguistics, grammar, and second language acquisition classes. The goal was to become a qualified English high school teacher who could also do ESL (since I had Spanish and Japanese under my belt more or less). 

At the same time, I entered into Independent Study for Japanese with two other students. We were tasked with reading Izu no Odoriko, a classic short story. Independent study was its own beast. It required a lot more concentration and work on my part, obviously. But because Japanese was my first and foremost passion, I centered my efforts on those courses, and then on the others.

The process of getting certified to be an English teacher was lengthy and expensive in my state. This meant my graduation would be further prolonged, and I was worried about money, because I was already about $50,000 in debt at the time, despite working those fucking overnight shifts all the time that were eating me alive.

Then, during the summer vacation when my 4th year ended, I got a scholarship and went to Japan to study abroad. Education majors had the option to study abroad in several countries, and as luck would have it, one of them was Japan, and it was Setsuko’s HOMETOWN! The study abroad program itself was the first month of summer vacation, and Setsuko said, “Okay, just come stay at my house for the rest of summer vacation!”

Never have I said “yes” quicker in my entire life.

On the train headed from Sapporo to the town where I would be actually staying during my studies, I looked at the lush rice paddies and mountains in the distance and my entire heart just hummed with this “This is where you’re meant to be.” I knew then and there that I would move to Japan upon graduation.

What would I do there? Well, teach English, obviously.

My three months in Japan effectively aligned my entire life. My path had materialized before me. It was a roughly hacked, hard-to-see path through thick underbrush, but I could see it nonetheless. 

Year 5: Let’s Hurry It Up, I’m Ready To Live

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Originally posted by pantherpause

Come Year 5, all of my Japanese classmates that had been with me since freshman year were gone and I was alone. My professor taught me Classical Japanese through independent study, and it was the must grueling course I took my entire five years there. But I found it invaluable and am eternally grateful to him for teaching me, because you see Classical Japanese a lot more than you’d think you would in everyday life. Particularly in formal settings. 

I still wanted to get certified to teach English in American high schools, because while I knew I wanted to go to Japan for now, I didn’t know if I wanted to spend my entire life there and I wanted a solid job opportunity when I came back to the states at some point.

However, the more education courses I took, the more I saw that the American education system was just as full of red-tape and The Man’s bullshit as corporate America, something else I rebuke with every fiber of my being. I also realized I’d need to take a 6th year of university, and that just wasn’t financially feasible for me. So I switched to a plain old English major with a heavy focus on linguistics and second language acquisition, and continued classical Japanese. 

I took the remaining 3 gen eds online in the summer, graduated, popped up to Chicago to do a month-long intensive course to get the CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages issued by Cambridge.) It’s the most widely accepted and revered certification for teaching English as a foreign language.

So in the span of five years, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a focus in linguistics and SLA, and what is technically a major in Japanese Studies. 40 credit hours were required for a major, and I completed 42 credit hours tied to my minor, so while it isn’t listed on my diploma as a major, I did the coursework. I also got a CELTA Pass B, which only 20% of applicants achieve and never expires. The grand total for all of this was roughly $100,000 USD in loans.

Post-Graduation

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Originally posted by c0rnflakess

The week I came back to my hometown from Chicago with my CELTA in hand, I packed my suitcases, threw a going-away party, and then flew to Sapporo, where I began my first job after uni, teaching English to children aged 0-18 at a private English conversation school. I did that for three years before changing careers and becoming a Japanese-English translator/interpreter for a global company. 

So how useful have my choices during university proven to be?

  • I’m sure I don’t have to explain that studying Japanese helps me tons with translating Japanese to English or living in Japan lol
  • Studying English grammar, linguistics, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition has allowed me to recognize minute nuances that can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business negotiation when interpretation is necessary.
  • My background in education also means that I know how to present information clearly, concisely, and in a way that engages the audience. I am known as “The PowerPoint Pro” at work lol. 
  • I also have a keen eye for performance evaluation, behavior analysis, and improvement action plans. 
  • I offered English conversation lessons to coworkers for over a year, and now that is being done in other branches across the company! (Well, they were before COVID haha.) 
  • I DO NOT RECOMMEND WORKING THE HOURS I WORKED WHILE IN SCHOOL. My grades suffered and I wish I had worked less and focused more on classes. However, by working 15-hour shifts and doing full days of classes, I developed a very good tolerance for overtime, which comes in handy in the Japanese workplace. Just last month I had three 15 hour days in the same week. Sweet, sweet overtime pay. 

All of these facets have culminated in me earning a pretty nice promotion to 正社員 seishain back in February, which means I get nice benefits and basically my job is guaranteed until I die or the company goes under.

Should I decide to return to America someday, I will probably not go into the education field. Too much red tape. I will likely continue translation/interpretation for companies, because it isn’t too difficult and pays well. Though ideally I’d love to just make a living sharing cool information about Japanese and stuff, and maybe writing those stories that are bouncing around in my head when I should be working haha.

Do I think the debt is worth it?

  • Well, I don’t think I had any other option than to take out those loans. I didn’t have the means to learn the things I wanted to learn unless I went to university. 
  • Unless Japanese work visa requirements have changed, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree in order to obtain my sub-type of work-visa, so I needed a degree of some kind no matter what. 
  • Frankly, if I hadn’t gone to that university and met my best friend Setsuko, I don’t think I’d be where I am right now, living the life I am now. So just having met her is worth any price to me. 
  • Paying off all the loans is daunting, especially when yen is weak to the dollar. There were months I had to ask my parents for help, especially early on. But now I’ve got multiple loans paid off, my salary has increased, and the “omg i have money and no supervision so I can buy whatever I want” idiocy has mostly gone away. But I did get a super sweet pair of blindingly silver Converses a couple days ago that I definitely didn’t need

Do I have any regrets regarding my time at university?

  • I still regret dropping Old English for a stupid English Ed class. Seriously, how cool would that have been? But I still have the textbook, workbook, and I contacted the professor last week and she was kind enough to send me a syllabus. God bless her. So now I’m working on that bit by bit, which is fun.
  • I wish I hadn’t been such a cocky, naive idiot my first year. Thinking I could just “show up for tests” was the stupidest thing. It messed up my GPA, and my parents forbade me from retaking classes so I couldn’t go back and fix my mistakes. I think I graduated with a 3.4 overall GPA out of 4, but my English major GPA was 3.9 and my Japanese GPA was 4.0. So it’s pretty frustrating to have those gen eds and my dumbfuckery mar my transcript like that.
  • I really didn’t party at all. Most all of my friends were straight-laced Japanese exchange students, and I was also working ridiculous hours so I just didn’t really have the time. A part of me feels like I missed out on that part of the college experience.
  • Recently I’ve been putting more effort into improving my creative writing by reading a lot of books on the subject. Not a small part of me wishes that I had gone with a Creative Writing major instead of English major, because I still would have studied all the grammar and linguistics. Then again, I do believe that creative writing can be self-taught.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked as much as I did. There were a lot of times I couldn’t complete assignments or I missed lectures because I was just so drained. It wasn’t even good money.

Well…I did not intend for this post to become as long as it has. I’ve been cooped up in my apartment with nothing but two goldfish for company for over a month now and I think I’m a bit stir-crazy. Thank you to anyone and everyone who bothered to read all of this and become my therapist for a bit haha. Love you all. Stay safe and well. 💖

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Originally posted by gacktova

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Currently recovering from major surgery so I have been doing all of my work for the rest of the semester in bed, which also gives me the perfect excuse to rewatch Gilmore Girls on Netflix for the millionth time. I never regret watching that show over again and because I’ve seen it so many times I don’t consider it a distraction from my work. 

studywithlillian
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Why Do I Have To Have A Panic Attack Over Passing Fucking Basic Mathematics!!


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Originally posted by darkgreenmeadow

Okay, context. I am studying Bookkeeping and Accounting Practices at Algonquin. One of the courses I must take, which is also a prequisite lucky me, is Basic Business Mathematics!

It’s a stupid course. Absolutely idiotic and unnecessary.

I will also preface this was by saying that I am not good at math, I did enough in high school to get by. And it has contributed nothing to my life other than helping me calculate how much a phone plan would be over the span of two years, for work. Even that knowledge did not matter too much in the grand scheme of things.

It was worthless in life.

Worthless in college.

Worthless at work.

Sorry mathematics majors. But the subject makes me want to shove a bullet in my frontal lobe and hope I do the most damage possible.

Now let me explain.

I would have been fine, if this course had not been unneccesarilly difficult for not only me but for other student in the class(who were international students or who had language barriers in general as well), then I wouldn’t be complaining.

We covered BEDMAS, Variables, Logorithms, Calculating Interest, Calculating Future Value and Present Value, ect…

Some of these are relevant to the program overall, others were not. And to top it all off, our teach blasted through a single chapter every class, spoke far too fast, would never actually answer our questions in and outside of class, wouldn’t let us keep track of the answers to questions when it came to corrects, and the grading was ridiculously scrutinizing and unneccesary.

I did my best, believe me I did(I did not go see a tutor cuz my anxiety kept flaring, but I had a close friend who was a mathematical genius). But I only have so much time in the day, and so many braincells to sacrifice to this pile of horseshit.

I have failed this course twice, by a single percent.

The worst part of having to go back to college has not been the long commute, or the homwork, not even the school lying through their teeth saying they care about your and your education.

It’s when they hire incompetent teachers and do nothing when the issue is presented, and they also ignore the issue. While the students watch their money burn in a boat set to drift off in the middle of a muddy lake.

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