For most of my life, I’ve always been fascinated with other languages. The concept of there being so many different ways to communicate with others just blew my mind. So, one day, I decided to do something about it: I downloaded Duolingo, the popular language-learning app, and tried my hand at French. Duolingo is known for being a helpful tool for those wanting to learn a new language, but what I didn’t know was that using it could do so much more beyond simply teaching me a new tongue.
I downloaded Duolingo during a time of much stress in my life: my senior year of high school. Between balancing work, school, and social life, my decision to download this app served as something I was doing for myself. I was embarking on this epic journey of mastering a second language, a quest I chose on my own and would be a fun, enriching thing I could do.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the biggest fan of change, yet it is constantly happening. Throughout my senior year, and even as it came to an end, things were constantly changing, and I wasn’t exactly taking this new adjustment period very well. It felt as though my days would start and end in such different, unpredictable ways, and given my distaste for change, it felt very hard at times to have some consistency in my life. Plus, with my senior year coming to an end and my transition to college beginning, this notion of change became a recurring theme, only amplifying my need for something to remain constant.
However, soon enough, I began to realize there was something that didn’t change, something that wasn’t far away, but rather, in the palm of my hand. Every day, without fail, that little lime green bird was still pestering me about doing my French lessons. There was still this cute little goal I set for myself that I had the ability to continue. When I felt lost, like I missed home, or felt like I wasn’t doing enough in a day, Duolingo served as a remedy. Instead of feeling sad or scared of the change around me, I felt motivated and comforted by this one consistent thing that I could still do every day.
Not only had Duolingo become something that I could consider constant, but it also left me feeling more accomplished. The small, seemingly obsolete victories of completing a lesson or just simply learning something new in French have kept me together through all the change. No matter what happened one day, whether my day was good or bad, no matter where on Earth I was, Duo was there to keep me on track and do my cute little daily tasks. While people often make fun of or criticize Duolingo’s seemingly excessive notifications reminding users to do their lesson, I actually learned to love it. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do: it keeps me progressing and keeps me motivated, which were both helpful feelings when it came to going through an adjustment period.
As of now, I hold a 304-day streak, a streak I intend to nurture and continue growing. Will I ever become fluent in French? Who knows. Will this knowledge ever serve me any purpose in the future? See the first answer. Above all, downloading Duolingo taught me more about myself than anything in French. I learned that sometimes (and this may sound corny), it really is all about the little victories, the little things that don’t ever have to change, those tiny boosts in life that remind you that everything is going to be okay. After all, if I can learn how to tell others “Mon chat adore le pizza” (My cat loves pizza), what can’t I do?