Took a long break, feeling very discouraged

I was having financial problems and also depression issues so I let my subscription lapse and didn’t take up any other form of study to fill in the gaps. It has only been, like, three months, but I took a look at the site again thinking about restarting my sub and was hugely discouraged. I’m at level 25, and yet there are kanji at level 4 that I had burned previously that I don’t remember at all. I feel like I’d need to jump back to like level 5 or so at least to realistically regain everything I’ve forgotten.

I’m kind of depressed that I’ve forgotten so much so easily though. It kinda feels like I’m going to have to keep studying kanji every day for the rest of my life or everything’s going to fall out of my head. That said, maybe starting over will help me refresh the older stuff in my head and I’ll find I remember more than I think. I dunno, it’s just kind of a kick in the gut after how my last few months have gone, I guess.

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Do that if you feel it would help. Better to finish strong from the beginning than to not remember certain words at all. You will have an easier time anyways.

Wanikani has an expectation, that once you reach a certain level, you start to consume native material, thereby seeing the words you’ve learned and further cementing them with real life examples. So don’t worry about having to study for the rest of your life.

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i’d say forgetting stuff while learning a language is completely normal - especially when life and mental health intervenes. also know that you’re in very very good company with this kind of struggle! there are many strategies to deal with WK setbacks but i’m a fan of this one:

  1. use burn manager script to unburn all items
  2. use reorder script to do reviews sorted by level
  3. do reviews until you encounter items you could swear you have never seen before in your entire life (probably somewhere between level 20-25?) and consider resetting to this level.
  4. once you feel you brushed up enough on the burned items (maybe set the goal of guru’ing or master’ing them) retire those
  5. do lessons again

optionally, hop into the mental health thread if you feel like you need to vent.

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Recently I hit a wall - I just couldn’t remember kanji - and took a break from WaniKani. I’ve been considering resetting back some levels but I couldn’t work out where too.

After a week, I started using one of the Anki copies of WaniKani to start, well, a speed run, I guess, through the levels I’ve burned. It’s been good because (1) it turns out I do actually remember most of it, and (2) the things I don’t remember stick much faster the second time around. It’s taking about 4 days a level, deleting cards I know, or as soon as I’ve relearned them.

I don’t really like anki, and I wouldn’t use a copy deck without having payed for the real thing, but for revision it’s fine, and it is free which is easier to pay for.

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It’s normal to forget a language you’re not actively using. Even Japanese people forget Kanji if they don’t see them occasionally.

So find something you want to use Japanese for and incorporate it into your practice. It’s also much more satisfying to learn something if you use it for something you enjoy.

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Unpopular opinion:
I don’t think it is wise to renew your subscription when you have financial problems and depression. Dealing with them first might be the best solution. You can always use free resources like Anki. Maybe after that, you can return to WK and speedrun it if necessary without feeling pressured.

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with financial issues, yes, good point but i’d be careful postponing stuff because of depression. depends on the severity of course. speaking form my own experience it can be a big trap to put everything on hold “until you figure things out”, because that can take years and years. it’s still possible to have a life while being depressed. just adjust your expectations accordingly. sure, reaching fluency will probably take a good while longer but getting to WK level 25 is already quite the achievement and while the break undoes some of that and that sucks majorly, it doesn’t change that you got this far and is reason enough to be proud.

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Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, another way to parse through and figure out what you do vs. don’t remember would be with this userscript:

You can adjust the settings to review radicals/vocab/kanji from specific levels or specific stages. I took a one-month break at one point (when I was around level 13) and used this script to review everything from every level before tackling my lessons and reviews. I had the feeling I had forgotten most everything, but after reviewing I realized, with much relief, that I remembered pretty much everything, apart from kanji and vocabulary from the most recent levels I had covered, as well as some leeches. And when you compare that to SRS stages, it makes sense that the material I had reviewed earlier and committed to long-term memory would be the stuff I’d have an easier time recalling. After finishing that (it took me about a week), I began doing reviews again (I had turned vacation mode on so not that many to tackle), and made it a point to fail anything I didn’t immediately remember (since the SRS will take care of it down the road).

Don’t get down on yourself before you’ve properly assessed where you stand. Every time you come across something you don’t remember it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’ve forgotten everything, but what we don’t tend to consider is how much we really still do know and remember.

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I was in a similar situation and reset my level. I regret it. It is frustrating having to learn from scratch words and kanji that I already know, and it is frustrating having lost progress.

I wish I would’ve just stuck with review for a few weeks and let the algorithm sort out what I remember and what I’ve forgotten.

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Not renewing the subscription solves the financial issue and pressure; at least you still keep your money. You don’t have to worry about not progressing because of money investment which I believe would worsen the current situation. There is a lot of pressure using WK; I feel that too. Anyway, I am not talking about postponing; you can still use Anki, which is free.

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Thanks, everyone.

The financial issue is over or else I wouldn’t be considering resubbing. The depression is a thing that is going to follow me for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to let it win by giving up on things that matter to me.

I really appreciate the script suggestions. I think my plan is to start with the self-study quiz and see how quickly I can recall the things I’ve forgotten. I’ll use the burn manager for any burned items that just will not come back to me, and once I’ve gotten an idea of how much I’ve truly completely forgotten I’ll reset to that level. That seems like a good solution to me that hopefully won’t end with me going back further then I have to. I reset to level 1 once before (I’d only gotten to level 10 or so that time) and I regretted it; the first few levels felt so slow.

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Sounds like a good plan.
Momentum is key and a bit of a salve for depression. Sure you’re going to flail due to the break, but seriously just tell yourself that’s okay. It’s just WK afterall and in no time you’ll be back to where you are and then soon past that. I remind myself too that there’s cake at the end!

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