So recently I made a huge mistake while studying Danish as a second language at the Copenhagen Adult Education Centre (or ‘KVUC’ as they write it in Danish). There was a whole string of events which went wrong, beginning with a rushed late enrollment to their online self study course, and then when I went to go in and collect my textbook my bicycle got a flat tyre and I had to wait several days while I found another opening in between my two part time jobs that I am working.
I logged onto their website, read the assignment, and then went on to read the required pages of the textbook in small bursts when I had time on public transport and during work breaks. Then I slowly worked through the exercises and submitted something that in the end I was quite proud of. It felt great to be studying again – all in Danish!
And then I got a confused e-mail from my tutor explaining that I had submitted the entirely wrong assignment!Suddenly the pressure was on to do 15 – 20 hours worth of studying in just a few days, before the meeting with my tutor which required the additional tasks of finding, reading and analysing Danish newspapers. This was also while I had my day job to do, and the responsibility of visiting and looking after my daughter.
After a while I found myself cutting corners and I started eating ready meals to save time, and going to bed really late and waking up really early. I didn’t get much sleep. Soon I began drinking energy drinks to try to maintain focus, and I also completely dropped my exercise regime. Recently I have been investing a lot of time and energy into generally being healthier and looking after myself, and I really felt a huge difference from drastically changing my diet.
In the end I made the decision to just postpone my studies until January. I felt terrible from putting myself under so much stress and eating junk food and losing sleep. I decided that my health is more important.
In regards to the Danish studies, I reminded myself that the most important thing is that I am practising Danish. I may have misunderstood the task at hand, but I was still able to communicate with my tutor and understand what was in the textbook – even if it may have been from the wrong section of the book!
At the end of the day, I’m here to learn languages. I tried my absolute best, and I also reminded myself of all the many other instructions in Danish that I have successfully followed. There are many tasks that I do in my evening job which are all in Danish, and generally I am gaining more confidence with this language and being able to do more things here by myself.
This has not been my proudest moment of learning Danish, but at least I am able to cultivate a kinder way of looking at what happened (in the past I would have definitely not been able to let things go or even to publicly admit such a mistake like this).
Following on from my recent post about Thai wisdom, I am accepting what has happened and this now allows me to examine things and approach things from a different angle.
I’ve learned that it is really, really important to eat well, exercise and sleep properly. Going without these things for a few days really had a huge impact on my ability to concentrate and to keep my emotions in check. This whole experience has also made me more motivated to integrate Danish language into my daily routine, as I had difficulty reading newspapers in Danish for the actual assignment.
Have you ever got a task or assignment hopelessly wrong? I guess it happens sometimes! Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I’ll see you all next week 🙂