What A College Job Taught Me About Learning Spanish

college job learning spanish

Back in college I had several different jobs during the summer. One of them was working at a fast food restaurant, another was working at a summer camp in Arkansas, but the job that I learned the most at was installing rain gutters. Installing rain gutters? Yep. That was the job that really taught me the most about how the importance of repetition, getting taught by someone who knew what they were doing, having a system of work, and working through challenges.

When I worked in fast food, it was just basically here’s what you do, now make sure you do it. At summer camp, I taught sailing, which was pretty easy because there were only a few things the kids needed to learn. But installing rain gutters, well, that was a challenge, but I learned a great deal about customer service, bidding jobs, installing the gutters, and learning from someone who was a master at their job.

Installing Rain Gutters Looks Easy

When I first started installing rain gutters, I thought it was going to be easy. But I was wrong. There is quite a bit of math involved just to know how to get everything done correctly. Just about every install was different. The customer wanted different rain gutters, the house design was different, and drainage on the property differed.

So how does this apply to learning Spanish?

Well, first you need to have a plan. Have some goals on what you want to learn. Second, it’s important that you get with someone who actually knows Spanish and can help you, or have a software package that interacts with you. Third, you need to be repetitive. Practice each day on getting better. And lastly, you are going to have to work through challenges in learning Spanish.

So when I was working installing gutters the first week, I realized very quickly that I needed to know what the plan was. Then I had to follow the instructions of someone who actually knew what they were doing. Then I had to make sure I was being repetitive in the process. There was always a challenge when I wasn’t doing the first few things very well.

After a few weeks, I began to get the hang of it. I understood the process and what needed to be done to install the gutters. It’s the same with learning Spanish. You’ll be a bit frustrated initially, and probably feel like this is a no win battle. But you have to stick with it and hang in there and you will start seeing improvement. It will take a little time to rewire your brain to understand, but it will come. You just need to be patient.

It will REALLY help you a lot if you can practice at home and also have someone who already knows Spanish to speak to you and ask you questions to challenge your brain. This will really speed your learning of Spanish along.

So, here are the main things to remember from my college job installing rain gutters:

  1. Have a plan and set some goals
  2. Find someone who already knows what they are doing (knows Spanish)
  3. Be repetitive and practice your Spanish daily
  4. Work through the challenges, especially the first few weeks

If you stick to it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming fluent in Spanish and very thankful that you did.