Over the past few days I’ve taken huge leaps out of my comfort zone. I’ve started talking with a language exchange partner as well as a tutor from iTalki over Skype, and I had an interview for a job that I never would have considered applying for just a year ago.
It may not sound like much to some people, but being incredibly awkward and introverted with zero self esteem, talking with people is an excruciating experience for me, even more so when I’m trying to bring myself to utter words in a new language.
My language exchange partner, Magdy, is the first person I’ve ever tried to say a single word of any other language to. Though, I’m somewhat disappointed in myself, as here I had been following Fluent in 3 Months so diligently and prepared a bunch of phrases and relevant words to try to piece together my first conversation, and I could barely bring myself to say a single one. Every day I work up the courage to say a little more though, and Magdy is always very encouraging. My tutor, too, is lovely in that she is incredibly encouraging and helpful, and does a very good job of explaining things, I just wish I could afford more frequent lessons with her. Even though I haven’t been speaking much the conversations are exhausting, both from being so far out of my comfort zone and from being so intensely focused. That said, I look forward to them, and it’s really interesting and fun trying to explain things about my own language and culture that I take for granted.
The downside of all of this is that I am finding it extremely difficult to balance my art and Arabic studies. I really need to learn time management, but even so, if I am able to focus I tend to delve into one subject all day long to the exclusion of everything else, which makes it very difficult to divide my time, particularly on work days when I have so little of it.
When I was in college it was easier because my assignments were weekly, and I didn’t care whether I worked on them every day. But now, I have daily goals and want to work on both my Arabic and art every day.
I’ve been considering moving my Arabic to an every-other-day basis so I can focus more on drawing again, because often even if I make an effort to stop for now so I can work on something else I tell myself “I’ll stop when I finish this thing” but then that one thing will take another three hours.
Like everything else, I suppose it will just take practice to learn to balance my studies.