Hello! My name is Ockie and I’m super excited to start this blog, where I’ll be sharing my English study notes and some of my personal stories.
First, I want to share my English journey. I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea until I turned 17. In Korea, English is a mandatory subject in school, but many Koreans, including me, still faced some challenges with it for their whole life. Some people believe it’s because our education system is more focused on passing exams than on teaching practical English for real-life situations. My mom believed in more opportunities beyond Korea’s borders, so she took a huge faith and decided for my older sister and me to move to the United States. She had a vision of the American dream.
When I was 17, I had my first-ever visit to a foreign country, the United States. I still vividly recall how the smell at LAX airport felt so unfamiliar to me, and I even give the smell the nickname “the giant smell.” (Later, I found out that it was simply the scent of a cleaning solution). Just a few months after that, my mom enrolled me in a high school, even though I didn’t understand any English! I started with ESL classes but I still had to take regular subjects like biology, algebra, and history, all in English. Back then, smartphones didn’t exist, so I had to rely on a dictionary to translate all the textbook content and guess the meaning of sentences. It would take me hours just to read and understand one paragraph.
Unfortunately, even after high school graduation, my English skills were still not great. To be honest, I didn’t put as much effort into studying English. It was challenging for me to focus and give my best attention to studying English. I had to deal with getting used to so many new cultural aspects and was busy trying to adapt to this new world around me.
The other challenge I faced after high school graduation was deciding on my major. I had no clear direction for my future. Since I was young, I always had a passion for art, loving drawing, painting, and creating. However, I felt lost because my future seemed vague and uncertain like it was hiding inside a cloud. I questioned whether I was truly skilled in art or if I was simply following my sister’s path, as she was already in art school. I started to wonder if I should explore other areas beyond art and broaden my horizons. As I considered studying something else, I found myself afraid that I might not be smart enough for subjects like math, science, and any other field besides art. But here I am working as an RN in a hospital now!
Going to nursing school was a huge challenge for me. People around me, including my mother, boyfriend (who is now my amazing husband!), and even a random person I met at a bank suggested that nursing would suit my personality and I kinda saw it too. The only reason why I hesitated to become a nurse was because I questioned my own intelligence and was scared of failing.
After two years of feeling lost and unsure about my path, I finally made a decision to become a nurse and enrolled in an LVN school in 2014. I studied incredibly hard like never before in my life. This hard work paid off, and I experienced success for the first time, which boosted my confidence to take on new and challenging opportunities. After obtaining my LVN license I worked at a nursing home facility for nearly four years. Then, in the last year, 2022, I obtained my RN license. Currently, I’m working in the progressive care unit in an acute care hospital. And I’m close to completing my Bachelor’s degree program expecting to graduate in October 2023.
When I’m at work, my English is not a big problem because I know most of the medical vocabulary related to medications, diseases, and procedures that I studied in nursing school. My main concern and challenges arise when it comes to using English in my daily life expressing my opinions, sharing stories, and conveying my thoughts in English still pose a struggle for me.
That is why I decided to start this blog as a new challenge to become fluent in English! There are numerous resources that I can use for studying English, such as Medium, Kindle books, Netflix, and so many English learning apps. I’ll be sharing my English study notes here, and you’re welcome to join me if you want to study together. Thank you for reading this lengthy post. Let’s dive in and embark on this language-learning journey together!