Advice for Going Into College on Wanikani

Hey guys,
So I just graduated High School and am heading into college soon. I’ve been doing WK for a few months and (surprisingly) is basically the only thing I can consistently do (other than go to work) every single day. I will be taking a lot of credits (about 13) with part time work and a couple of extra curricular activities. Four of those credits are French. (I wanted Japanese but they didn’t have a course). Anyways, I was looking for advice from people who have done WK during college possibly while studying other languages. How did you avoid burnout? How did you balance all your activities and priorities?

Thanks much


just set aside some time everyday, and spread out your lessons. do a couple reviews in dead time: transit, eating, etc. I made it through in about a year this way, in college.


I feel with you!
I believe our situations are fairly similar and I’ve been stressed out lately, concerned I’ve taken on too much. But I try to remember that I really enjoy the entire journey of learning Japanese, including WK, and that I can’t see my daily reviews and lessons as a chore, but rather as a recreational treat. You could always slow down, do fewer lessons, or even neglecting lessons at all in really busy periods (I don’t recommend neglecting reviews) and instead immerse in language learning in other ways. Like anime or manga.

Good luck in college! :smiley:


I didn’t use WK yet when I was in uni, but I used memrise quite zealously to learn multiple languages while putting a lot of effort into my regular academic studies. I always made it the first thing I did when I woke up, one of the last things I did when I went to bed, and often after class too before resuming the rest of my activities. If you’ve already got a good consistent schedule for it now, you should be fine. Just make sure you don’t fall off the horse in the first week or two of class when everything is changing, so that it remains a part of your daily schedule as you adapt.


I don’t do WK if I don’t have the time. Simple as that. Sometimes that entails not doing WK for months and coming back to 2000 reviews, but I can handle that


kumirei-パイセン and I seem to be able to handle different thing AYAYA


Unless you are working while going to school, you will never have more free time in your life. Now is the perfect time for you to be going through WK.


I’ve been doing WK while in college and so long as I have a good schedule going, I just work around that. My schedule has it so that I do frequent sittings of small reviews, and if I don’t have time to do it that hour, then I just don’t, and by the time I’m able to do it, I’ll have a little bigger review stack that never. It’s pretty easy to handle. As well, when I was on a week pace, I leveled up on Sunday which gave me plenty of time to unlock all my kanji and radicals. My schedule’s shifting a bit due to the fast levels, but the principle is the same. Also, best of luck in uni!

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I don’t really feel qualified to give advice on this, because I haven’t really figured it out either, but this is just my experience.

Last year, I started going to college and started a part-time job at the same time, and ended up staying on level 20 for a year. I still did reviews when I could, but I didn’t do any lessons.

I stopped working because of Covid and I’m not going to school right now because it’s summer, so I’ve started working hard at Wanikani again, but I kind of regret not making more time for Japanese last year. Mainly because I’d probably be finished with WK by now instead of being at level 23…

Now that I’m going back to school soon, I’m kind of realizing (as others have pointed out) that there really is no point where I’m going to have as much free time as I wish I did (unless I want to be doing WK for 40 years), so this time, I’m going to try and make time for WK (and Japanese in general) somehow.

(Sorry, I know saying just make time doesn’t really help… but I’m still figuring it out as well. Good luck!)


Hi there, congratulations on graduating high school! :partying_face:

I’m currently in college too, however I’d like to put out a disclaimer first — my workload probably isn’t as heavy as yours. Although I’m taking 23 credit hours (two of which are French), most of them are elective courses which are quite easy. As of now, due to COVID-19, many extra-curricular activities are suspended so that’s freeing up a lot of my time. I don’t work part-time too however I’m still active in many competitions (both locally — in university — and nationally).

Every day (either in the morning or the night before), I’ll make a to-do list which includes completing course work/assignments and Japanese studies; I’ve been doing this through the 勉強しましょう thread, however you can make a list in your personal device. Class usually starts at around 8 am, so I’ll wake up at 6 am due to religious reasons, after which I do WaniKani + Torii SRS reviews & lessons.

During lunch & dinner, I’ll multitask by doing WK reviews, immersing in Japanese, or studying Genki. I don’t have many classes in the afternoon, so I’ll utilise that time to work on completing the assignments I have written out in the to-do list. I’m free during the night, so I’ll do my assignments then too.

I have a study group with a few of my classmates (we connect with each other on Telegram), so we’ll work on assignments together, giving support, etc. I think this is a bonus to have to keep you motivated! Another tip I have is to ensure your Japanese learning experience is fun. That way, you don’t really need much entertainment from other mediums as you’ll have fun just by learning the language.

Don’t forget to eat well, exercise — maybe you can set around 20–30 minutes per day with an activity you like such as jogging, dancing, etc — and have adequate sleep (or at least try to… gotta be honest, it’s kinda difficult; I usually catch up with my sleep during the weekends aha) :sweat_smile: Try building a routine in which you’re comfortable with. You can trial and error and do what you feel best. It’s necessary to be flexible too; when an important deadline is coming up, you may need to adjust your routine accordingly.

Oh, another thing… I don’t really focus too much on French as I think it kinda interferes with my Japanese learning. I only study the necessities to get an A and do a tad bit of shadowing. I find that focusing on completing the assignments (for a good carry mark) is usually enough. Sorry if this isn’t what you hoped for :man_bowing:t2:

Good luck with your studies!!! :muscle:t4:


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Your daily habits are going to go a long way to keeping you consistent.

  1. 15-20 lessons per day max
  2. Keep apprentice count around 100
  3. Set a routine that works for you
  4. Don’t be afraid to take longer on a level to catch up

Case in point, this week I didn’t do any lessons and missed one day of WK. After the missed day, I had about 230 items to catch up on but I managed to get them done over the course of the next day.

I had a 3 day event that took pretty much all my time but tomorrow I’m going back to my usual routine.

Think of it like brushing your teeth. Consistency is the key so you can miss a day if you really have to but getting back to the routine is crucial.


If your goal is to learn Japanese, then as others have already said, just do it. I share this as a person whose goal in high school was (and still is to this day) Japanese fluency. I mostly dropped Japanese in college to grind other topics. Had I kept it up consistently, I would have been fluent by now, but alas, the time away from Japanese reset me in a lot of ways. I’m still comparatively young and am on my way nowadays, but there isn’t a day I don’t kick myself for that decision in college. If it’s a hobby, I wouldn’t stress it much, but if it’s a goal, I encourage you to see it through!

With that said, a preemptive congrats on your college experience. It’s an exciting, awesome opportunity. Take care of yourself to be physically and emotionally present during such fun times (not sure if you get to physically go to campus this year, but soon, I do hope). :tada:


Fortunately I do. I hope it stays that way. COVID hasn’t been a huge issue where I’m going.


Word, I’m glad to hear that.

Also, I realize I didn’t give you any practical advice in my last post.

For me, the two most important things in college regarding Japanese would have been (1) making small, measurable progress and (2) consistency.

Small, measurable progress helps avoid burnout by reducing the general amount of work you might feel compelled to do in a day and by setting meaningful but practical goals you can achieve on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis to have something to look to to know you’re accomplishing something. (This is particularly important around the N3 skill level, in my opinion, where you’ve not yet mastered Japanese but where progress feels slower relative to earlier stages in learning where new concepts are often simpler and feel more novel.) Positive psychological reinforcement helps keep motivation up.

Consistency also helps avoid burnout because many humans are psychologically prone to binge to make up for gaps in studying, and binging is a negative reinforcement technique that trades perceived short-term catch-up progress for better long-term habits. So the obvious recommendation is don’t slack in making small, measurable progress. But as a fallback, on the inevitable occasion that you do miss a day or 7, don’t binge to catch up. Just pick back up and reinforce consistent progress.

Speaking even more practically, if you tackle 1 kanji per day, that’s ~365 kanji per year. In the typical 4-year college stint, that will bring you somewhere near learning half the kanji WaniKani has to offer. 1 kanji per day is not terribly realistic, though, especially since review batches are 3 items minimum. An average of 3 kanji per day will see you close to finishing all of the kanji on WaniKani in about 2 years. Looking at it as 1 level per every 2 weeks will see you finish WaniKani in a bit over 2 years.

Anyone can do the math, of course. My recommendation is to determine your learning goal and then calculate what pace you need to set to achieve it. Try to break the work down into something you can look at every evening or weekend and say, “yep, I’ve made progress,” don’t binge to avoid subsidizing bad habits and burnout, and if the going gets tough, remember that with consistency, 3 kanji per day is ~90 per month.



I am in Uni but I am not studying any other natural language beside japanese, but all of my courses are in a different language than my mother tongue.
Depending on the faculty and university you chose you might have a lot or little free time (in my case during the semester I have virtually no free time), therefore you will have to consider whether the advice you will receive in this thread are applicable or not considering your workload.
My approach for the semester is to do wanikani when I wake up, during the pauses between lectures and at night before going to sleep.
In my case this is the period of my life in which I have had the least amount of free time and I had to basically eliminate some of my hobbies (can’t play a lot of CS if you spend hours a day getting mad at intellij), luckily I am a no lifer so my social life didn’t change.
My top priority (and what should be yours as well) is to graduate so I will always prioritize studying for Uni rather than doing wanikani if I don’t have much time in a given day. Usually I can do both but during midterms week and finals I have no time for wanikani (or sleeping) so I will simply not do it until exams are over.
“how to avoid a burnout”, I have no idea, I get stressed quite a lot and some times I get pretty close to a burnout. There are days in which when I attempt to study japanese in the evening I am so braindead I can barely form a coherent thought.
Realistically you should expect periods in which it will be extremely hard, if not impossible, to do both wanikani and studying for Uni and more relaxed periods in which you can relatively easily do both.


I used to go max workload on WK, but eventually i barely had time to both study, do WK and live (gotta eat, relax, work out, sleep, see people every now and then and work)

My best advice is to make sure you space out lessons from the start since its a million times easier to adjust the workload down the road by adjusting how many lessons you do a day. You avoid the occasional review spikes that ruin your schedule.
I find that knowing exactly how long i need to spend on WK a day allows me to better plan out my days for everything else i need to do


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