Growing up, I was always reminded to be proficient in English no matter what I ended up doing, and I adhered to others’ advice, half agreeing half questioning: yes, it’s important to know English, but what happens after I am good at it and get certified?
My English is not excellent. As this is the most popular language in the world, I use my English skills as a means to fulfill my wants: listen to and converse with people of various backgrounds and ethnicities, read a whole lot, and write a bunch more. The amount of books and information delivered in English is humongous while times and again I read and listen to a great extent, never stop feeling grateful for how lucky I am to have the opportunity to learn and to achieve a high level of language proficiency to understand and to pick and choose knowledge to absorb.
Hence, I think people should stop giving so vague an advice as to be good in English, because being good in itself is never enough, even when one dreams to be an English tutor, a writer, or a journalist. Virtues don’t come from the certificate or GPA people proudly present at their parents’ homes or on their resumes, respectively, but from how they express themselves through the perceptive thoughts and the assertive actions.
Languages, despite their in-depth meanings and their reflections of cultures, eventually are just the bridge over the river of misunderstanding between humans. Learning in itself does bring joy, and I can testify for this because I am a the daily hunter of something new to learn and appreciate, but a pat on the back and the plain saying as, “as long as your English is good, you’re fine,” steer those already lost to a dead-end. Such saying carries nothing but shallowness and ignorance.
How about we all learn this language aiming for greater goals: of the day you are in awe when the song you once could only nod along the beats now become clear with its meaningful lyrics, of the time when you read an article/a book not dreading to look up new words every couple of lines but instead fully focusing on the message conveyed, or of the conversation in which you appreciate your least favorite dish more because it’s a foreign friend’s most favorite.
Learning a language is committing yourself to an unpredictable odyssey, so I can’t address it enough that you choose for yourself a goal suitable of your own personality. Then, I urge your to be as obstinate as you can ever be cramming in the beautiful words and trying them out in every chance conversations. One day, you will realize that your understanding of the world and of yourself is more than that of yesterday a little bit. And what is it but a joyful reward?
✅ ran 3.5 miles
✅ refused to finish a book I just didn’t like at all
✅ practiced driving at freeway speed
✅ went to an island and hung out on the beach for hours