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Into The Unknown

Ratna Juwita

Sunday, January 19, 2020

[Me Time] Aim For The Sky And You'll Reach The Ceiling

This is a Doodle Art I drew and sadly, it has nothing to do with the story. LOL

Hi, Guys! What are your hobbies? I have many hobbies, such as drawing, writing, and reading. I hope singing will be one of my hobbies too, but I think I should pass it this time. LMAO.

I like reading because I gain more knowledge while reading articles, essays, or books. Back then, I used to read novels and such romantic stories. You know, when puberty struck in my school days, I liked imagining my own love stories with seniors. LOL. But, hey I know you did it as well. When I was in junior high school, my favorite were novels by Ilana Tan (yes, her seasons' tetralogy are great), romantic comedy novels by Mia Arsjad, and other teen lit novels published by Gramedia Publisher.
It's not that I had much money to get those novels. I simply borrowed them all from my friends. LOL. I didn't have enough money to buy novels at that time. Looking back at it, I hope my friends didn't get angry with me because of that. You know like ... I have never lent them any single novel and yet, I kept borrowing their novels. But, now I have a bunch of books in my bedroom! Yay! Most of them are novels because I liked reading many novels until my fourth year at university. Now that I am in my fifth year, I am interested in reading motivation books, science, psychology, self-improvement, etc.
I have liked writing since I was in primary school. I write poems, novels, and short stories. Besides, I try to write essays and articles as well because I think it will help me a lot to improve my critical thinking. I need to train my critical thinking so I can write essays properly when I take an IELTS test and work on task 2. When do I want to take the IELTS test? I don't know. However, I think it'd be better if I prepare it from now on. When I tried to take an IELTS test online on an app named "British Councill EnglishScore" a few days ago, I was considered on the B2 (upper-intermediate) level.
Honestly, I hoped my level was higher than that, but I believe that the app showed my real current abilities. So there is a long way to go. I am aiming for the C2 level. It seems like I am too ambitious, doesn't it? Still, there is saying, "Aim for the sky and you'll reach the ceiling. Aim for the ceiling and you'll stay on the floor", right? Thus, I am aiming for the highest level! Of course, I will never reach it if I just stay back and do nothing. I must work and study hard to reach there.
In my humble opinion, the saying is absolutely true. It's not that we don't know or don't measure our limits accurately, then trying to force ourselves to aim for something we will never get. Otherwise, when we know our limits,  our weaknesses, and our strengths as well,  we can focus on improving our weaknesses to reach the peak. Even if we end up reaching lower than what we are always aiming for, it's still better than "staying on the floor" when we are aiming for something low.
By the way, this is my third writings here. I can't believe I can make it. I will keep practicing even if I can't write this diary every day. There are a lot of things to do in real life such as translating articles for my part-time job! I don't know whether this kind of practice can uplift me higher to the advanced English level. All I need to do is trying because we won't know where will be until we try to move forward.
I found a good quote from the internet:
"Someday, you will reach the peak. And from that immense height, you will look down and be amazed at how far you have reached"
Wow, it's kinda motivating me! Is it also motivating you, Guys?
It was hard to reach this level. There were days when I felt like I go nowhere and so tired of learning foreign languages. I wonder, why I am stuck at intermediate levels even if I studied hard. Then, I realized that I wasn't studying that hard. I must study harder to be advanced in both English and Japanese.
There were days when I felt like I wanted to give up, then I fell asleep with my tears were at the peak. I couldn't stop because I hold my hopes tightly in both my hands and heart. I keep in mind that I need all of these difficulties so I can move on to another level. This world was made for those who bounce back when life is hard even though giving up is way easier to do and for those who are striving to seek happiness every day.
Someday, I will open this account and smile when I read all of these words. I might be thinking about how lame my words are. Someday, I will burst into tears when I read all of these diaries in this story. I will be missing everyone I may mention here. Are they all alright? I will always pray for their health and happiness even though I haven't mentioned anyone yet in this diary. LOL. And, I will be missing the struggle I've made today in the boarding house.
I am all alone here when my friends are back in their hometown. I will tell you later the reasons why I am staying at the boarding house. I want to go home as hell! I want to meet my parents and my sisters. I miss them a lot. But, I will just let it be.
"With every difficulty, there is relief." (Al-Inshirah: 5)
For myself in the future, you should be grateful to me because I have gone through all of the difficulties to uplift you to where you are in the future!
Okay, I have already reached the minimum words to write a diary: 1000 words. So, I will end this here. For you all who read this, thank you! 
I wish you all the best, Guys! See you in my next diary!

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Thursday, January 09, 2020

[Me Time] Know Your Limits

I am always questioning myself about my limits.

What does limit mean?

I tried to look it up on the oxford dictionary and found that limit (noun) is defined as a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.

We all know that there is a phrase "know your limits". It means that we should know what we are good at and what we are not good at. It is important to know our limits to succeed. For example, if we want to get a high score in a TOEFL test, knowing which is our weakness and which is our strength will help us to prioritize which section we should improve so we can spare more time to prepare for it.

When I was in school, English was the subject I hated the most. I don't know why I couldn't get my head around it for about 15 years!

I have been learning English since I was in primary school, but I couldn't even form a correct sentence when I was in Junior high school. One day, I was tidying things up when I ran across my Junior high school book. I opened it and the first sentence I read was "I am is a student." LOL.

When my senior high school best friend came to my house, I told her about that, then she asked me, "Why didn't you write 'I am is are a student'". We laughed. I think it was the problem why I have never gotten even 7 in English subjects back then (and made me feel so frustrated).

I come from Indonesia. I am not surrounded by English-speakers nor have talked with foreigners. Every day, I speak Javanese (one of the local languages in Java Island) and of course, Indonesian. I can remember how hard I tried to understand English because I had no clue about it at that time. Still, it seemed like Mathematics more appealed to me than English. Solving mathematical problems was way easier than building a single correct sentence in English.

When I was in Senior high school, I did well with almost all of the subjects but I chose to learn the Japanese language instead of chemistry, physics, economics, and such. The reason why it appealed to me maybe because Japanese was the first language I could get my head around to. For the first time in my life, I could build a correct sentence in a foreign language!

Thus, I am majoring in Japanese literature now even though it is not as easy as I thought before. There are a lot of Kanji characters to remember and yet, the Japanese language also has a lot of grammar! I mean it. There are over 700 kinds of grammar in Japanese. Moreover, a form of grammar can have two or more different meanings.

I think I am not good at learning a foreign language before I realized that I HAVEN'T put so much effort yet to understand it.

Looking back at my past years, I didn't practice much to improve my skills, I didn't study hard to get a better understanding of the difference between one grammar and another. I didn't know my limits!

When I was in the 12th grade of Senior high school, I took a TOEFL test and got score 460 (I knew some of the theories but I couldn't form sentences correctly). Three and a half years later, I took another TOEFL test and got only 486! If you think it is a high score, no it's not because even if I got a quite (maybe) high score, I didn't know how to use grammar in sentences and my English was extremely terrible.

I thought I have improved my English for the past three and a half years. No, I mean, I wasn't into English, but seriously in three and a half years, I could only get a minor difference score? I was very frustrated.

After that, I tried to learn English deeply. I don't know why I gain more interest in English all of a sudden. I didn't study hard. I just downloaded several English game apps. I played it when I got bored with my daily activities.

About five months later, I tried to take another TOEFL test and I was really surprised because I got 567! Wow! I didn't expect it at all. Like, I wanted to get at least 530, but ... 567? I have never imagined it!

For three and a half years, my score rose by only 26, but in less than five months I got almost a-100-point-jump score. Even though I got a HIGH score, I didn't think I could form a better sentence at that time. Really. I kinda answered all of the questions with feelings. If they asked me why I chose the answer, I could only say that it was because my heart said so. LMAO.

Now, I understand what "know your limits" means. I can't form natural-sounds sentences in English, so I should try to find the best way to do it. I can write a diary(like what I am doing now), having a chat with foreigners on many apps (we are living in a technological age so talking with foreigners is no longer just a dream), reading English articles every day, etc. There are a lot of things we can do in this digital era.

I can't speak English fluently, so I try to record my speech or my grumble on my phone. I can also have a phone call with foreigners through many apps. So, I think finding my limits is the best way to improve myself.

"Know your limits" doesn't mean that you should limit yourself. No, it is a way to find what your weaknesses and strengths are, so you can put your focus to turn the weaknesses into strengths.  I couldn't even form sentences correctly until a month ago, now I am writing a 1000-word diary in English even though it still sounds unnatural.

I have ever watched an episode of "Naruto" (one of my favorites anime), he said something like this: "There was a technique I hated back in the day but now I have mastered instead."

I hope I can master this language someday. I will make sure to never give up and keep practicing.

So, Guys! Know your limits, then break them! Thank you for reading!

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Books' better half who's been taking small steps each day towards her dreams. She's very interested in reading literacy, education, language, culture, and philosophy. You can find her on Twitter @psybooklogy and Instagram @ra.juwita


日本語日本文学生のラトナ・ジュウィタです、どうぞよろしくお願いします! このブロクを気に入っていただけたら嬉しいです。

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