Difficulties of the English language

shelf with things on it
Made in Canva

A person who doesn’t have English as their first language there are words you always write wrong. Or when you speak certain words you can’t get them rightly pronounced. For me, the most difficult word to say is failure and photographer. It’s such a tease for me so I rather not say them out loud because they sound stupid when they come out of my mouth. It’s easier to write them. I know I shouldn’t mind how it sounds like. The main thing is to be understood. I’m not ashamed of having an accent. I don’t even know if I do because I haven’t listened to myself on tape. Finns usually are embarrassed about having an accent. I don’t why because other non-English speakers do have an accent too. I don’t think people even notice if I have an accent or not. People don’t pay attention to accents because you can’t sound totally native if you really aren’t. Other problem in what English to speak, American English or British. When I was younger I thought American sounded much cooler but now I find them both fascinating. I write this blog in British English so if you find a word that looks like it’s misspelt, it’s not. It’s only written differently.

I write fiction in English and sometimes I find it difficult to describe something. It’s not just English but in my own language as well. Not only fiction but also when I write about anything. You can’t really say when you try to describe someone or something as a thingamajig. Describing is the most difficult thing in the English language. It’s stressful so when I don’t know a certain word I use another one instead. Or don’t write it at all. Being bilingual has its disadvantages. You don’t always remember what word is what in the language you’re using. I usually search Google for the word or Google translater when I write. I also have a dictionary but it’s faster to use the Internet. I’ve used English so much so I sometimes don’t remember what something is in my language. I both speak Finnish and Swedish so even in those languages I can find difficulties. I always spoke in Finnish Swedish with my mother and I went to a Swedish speaking kindergarten and school so I’ve grown up with the language. My dad doesn’t speak any other language than Finnish.

There are words in English that I always misspell no matter how many times I’ve written them. Words like unfortunately, fortunately, relieved. It usually becomes unfortunally, releaved. Some words sound similar. Like relieved and revealed. They are easily misspelt. I love the English language because words look the same but can still mean different things. It’s a bit like Finnish. Probably not as they are written though. It also has words that mean different things. I’m always been bad at grammar so I can’t teach languages so don’t suggest I could teach Finnish to you. Then there are words in English that are said the same way but mean different things. Like idle and idol. Example: “He’s been an idol for 20 years but he’s been idle for 20 years” I saw that sentence somewhere once but I don’t remember where I saw it. The English language also has very funny puns and wordplays. Somehow it’s easier to use the language in metaphors than it is in Finnish, for example. Certain things even sound better in English. Sometimes learning a language has difficulties but that’s how you learn. I know more words in English than I did about 20 years ago. I wish I could learn another language like that but I just so much else to do and it doesn’t stick in my brain like English does. I thought I was good at learning languages but I guess I wasn’t after all. I’m really amazed if someone can speak more than 5 different languages. I can hardly manage 3 but that’s more than most can.

My own student story

The school I’ve studied graphic design at, Helsinki Design School has this feature called ‘Student Stories’ It’s about students who have studied there and what they’ve done after the education. All of them have these great successes. Mine is limp compared to those. I wouldn’t say my educations have given me anything special. They haven’t given me the ‘Wow’ effect. I went to those schools and that’s about it. When I read these great stories, I would say, well lucky you. Because that’s what it takes, luck. Maybe a little talent too. When I went to this school, the other students were really good. Even those who hadn’t studied graphic design before. I actually felt untalented compared to them. It seems things only happen to other people. But never mind about others. This is my student story. My limp student story.

My first education was in 1994-1995. Right after I left primary school. I was 17 and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My mother said I should start something so I went to study health care. It took a year. It was the first time I was on my own. I went home for the weekend though. I lived in a dorm with a roommate. We went to the same class. There was job learning as well so I went to a retirement home. I was there for one day only. I didn’t like being there at all. I never liked touching people. One thing I learned though was how to make the bed so the bed sheets sat in place. I still tie my bedsheets like that. That’s actually the only thing I still remember from the education. The rest are long forgotten.

My next full education was between 2002- 2003. Before that, I was at a business school in 1997 but that was one of the worst school experiences I’ve had. I was there only about 2 months or so. My first two educations were in Swedish. After that, it’s been in Finnish only. So in 2002, I studied media screenwriting. It included writing movie scripts, radio scripts, video editing etc. At the time I thought about becoming a scriptwriter. I really liked this education. We were a small group and we all got along. It was also fun to make movie scenes from scripts we wrote. I learned a lot about making movies and radio plays. I understand the concept of dramaturgy and how to make a story work. I look at movies in a different way than someone who hasn’t studied it. I still use that knowledge when I write fiction. I also understand how difficult it is to make movies. I really love watching how a movie is made on the extras on the DVD’s I buy. I’ve also used my editing skills on my own video projects. I probably got my current job because I can film and edit videos. At least my boss was really excited about it when I told her about it in the job interview.

Next school was in 2005-2006 I studied in the same school where I studied screenplay writing. This time it was journalism. I wanted to work as a journalist. It was also a year. I didn’t like my schoolmates that much. They reminded me of those in business school which was the reason why quit that one. At least I lasted a year. I learned I don’t like interviewing people. I just can’t listen and write at the same time. In the end, it was the teacher I interviewed who corrected the interview later on. I just missed a lot of the interview. We had a school newspaper where we put different stories in. I probably still have it somewhere. In the education, we had photo editing where we used Photoshop and also it was the first time I used InDesign. I already knew something about Photoshop so that wasn’t new to me. What I remember the most about what I learned in the school it was that one. The program has changed a lot since then but the basics are the same.

After some years thinking about what I really wanted to be, it was 2009. I was really into becoming a photographer again. I’ve studied it in 2001 but I quit for different reasons. One of them was developing film which I didn’t get. Too much Math. I got back to photography because now digital cameras were getting more common. I just didn’t want to study it for years. At the time I had a job search coach so we searched online about different educations. Then she came across an education but it wasn’t only photography and it would take two years. I thought that sounded too long so I declined at first. The main education was graphic design but it also had some photography. After thinking about it a bit longer, I decided to apply for the education. Before that, I was a week in the school to try how it was to study there. I found it interesting so I took a chance. Since I already was familiar with Photoshop and InDesign, it was easier to get into it. In the education, we also did a short movie so again my past learning came in handy. I got to know more about graphic design. We had e.g. poster design, logo design and editorial design (school magazine) I still wanted to become a photographer though.

Not until 2014 I found an education where photography was the main subject. This was the first time I went to Helsinki Design School. It suited me well because we met in school only twice a month. Even though the teachers were pro photographers, it didn’t mean things would positively happen to you. The education was new so things weren’t perfect. I’m sure they’ve got different now. I’ve heard students from the same year as me that this photography course was a joke to certain employers. Saying it’s not a real school and yadda yadda. Even though I didn’t get what I wanted for the future, it doesn’t mean the education isn’t real. When the teacher we had on our last (or second) asked how many of us would want to become I pro I didn’t raise my hand. It was nice to know how things work in the photography industry and so on. But I decided it wasn’t as interesting as I thought. I wanted to do something else too.

Waiting and doing other things. In 2016-2017 I found another education that I found interesting. It found it while I was one of my many job search courses. It was a one-year education about web design. I don’t really know where that idea came. Maybe because I had one in the 90s when we first got the internet at home. It was so simple then because no coding was needed. The education also had photography but I didn’t have to attend the classes. I still went because you never know what you’ll learn. We photographed different things so it was fun to be there. The main thing was web design. There is where I learned to code. It was difficult though. It’s like Math, confusing. I still can’t do it so maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t think I can do websites after all. I don’t like the technical stuff. After the education, you would think you’ll get a job somewhere but then it hits you there isn’t anything suitable. They’re all web developers. It feels like you’re been lied to. Web design isn’t the same as you studied. So I’m actually a bit disappointed the working world doesn’t want to offer you anything you studied. The education itself wasn’t disappointing, it’s what happens after it. At least I understand what some code means. At least I got some experience with working with clients. I actually started to think about entrepreneurship because it was so nice not having the need to go anywhere. I even went to a course about it.

Last but not least. The latest education I’ve had so far. I can’t believe it’s soon a year when that ended. It was graphic design in Helsinki Design School. I didn’t want to be in an education where they repeat things you’ve studied before. 2018-2019 it was. I began to think about graphic design again. I applied once before at the beginning of the year (the application period is twice a year) but I didn’t get in but then I tried the 2nd time. Since I went to this school before I thought the 2nd time lucky so to speak. We used Adobe programs so it was easier for me to follow the education. I also knew about other graphic design things from before but it didn’t feel like a repeat. Every teacher has different teaching methods so it’s nice to hear another approach on things. I thought about trying light entrepreneurship during the education but I never got around doing it. Time just went by and like always I never dare to start anything I plan. It’s easier to dream than making it true. So reading student stories about how someone has used their education in Helsinki Design School to good use, it just puts me down. They’re young and have time to do anything. I just feel old and lazy to do anything about my time. Maybe I just didn’t have what it takes when it comes to graphic design.

So there you have it. My that was my own student story. Limp or not, I think I’ve learned enough in school. Helsinki Design School is trying to sell its 2 year BA educations in graphic design. But I’ve already studied the same in 2009-2011 so I’m not their target market anyway. It’s more for those who don’t have any past educations in the same field. All I need right now is job experience and not another education.

Overtime you learn

I bought a Wacom Intuos Pro graphics tablet so I could draw better on the computer. With a mouse, it’s more difficult. So far I’m totally happy with it. It is easier to draw. I have now drawn every day since I bought it which was last week. Overtime (wordplay) you learn to get better at it. Of course, you still need a mouse with all the commands and all. Unless you become an expert and only need the pen. I have the smallest tablet. There are 2 bigger sizes but this small version is easier to hold. It also works wirelessly. I think you have to charge the battery but the pen doesn’t need any of that.

I thought about which one to buy. An Ipad or this one but I didn’t want to download the Adobe programs on the Ipad again so I decided to buy a graphics tablet instead. It would be easier to draw if there was a picture on the tablet. Now you have to look at the computer screen where the lines are. You also need to use the pen up in the air above the tablet when you search for things on the computer screen or you can draw something by mistake. It’s a bit difficult to explain but I hope you get my drift. There are different versions of graphics tablets. I don’t need anything fancy because I’m just an average user. They say the Intuos Pro Small is good for beginners so that was one of the reasons why I bought it. And it was on sale. I wish I had this when I studied graphic design last year. Maybe I could have got better grades when we had illustration on the agenda. So far I’ve only used it in Photoshop but it’s best when you want to draw something by hand.

Some things are easier to draw with a normal pencil though. Especially if the drawing is complex. Not that I ever draw complex things. I don’t know what’s better, to draw on paper first and then scan it on the computer or draw with the tablet straight to the computer. Either way, when you draw, sketching with a normal pencil first is helpful. Especially when you plan what to draw. I won’t become an illustrator though. I’m not that good anyway. I just draw for fun. At least for now. Having this graphics tablet is a good way to practice drawing and it saves paper too.