How my English academic writing skills are awful because of skipping to learn the basics. Currently, I’m in the ‘begin with writing your PhD‘ phase. This is not the ‘finish your thesis‘ phase but it does require a lot of writing. I know what I want to research and how I’m going to do it. However, one thing that has always been a struggle for me it writing it down concise, clear, and especially in a structured academic matter.
As a non-native English speaker, I was fortunate enough to start learning to speak English at the age of six. In the Netherlands we have a lot of TV shows and music that are in English (or ‘American’). As a result I have this typical mixture of an accent. However, my educational background consisted out of ‘upgrading’ every two years or so to a higher level. At the same time, I also skipped a lot of essential basic’s. For example, university students would have had already a year of statistics and I would be a completely beginner. Same goes for academic writing. Funny with having done a master degree and a research internship in Canada, I have never ever had an academic writing class. Hence my weird sentence structures and so on.
Now in London (what better city to learn to write English) I’m following an Academic Writing course specially designed for Non-Native English speakers. Only 3 classes in and I’m like:
I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS ALL WRONG FOR YEARS!
Some of these simple changes of starting a paragraph in a certain way has given me more structure and a clearer direction of where I am going. At the same time, it has made me aware of all my pitfalls and mistakes (Yes I’m really self-conscious of writing this blog now).
However, I need to learn this to publish and more importantly make my contributions to the world of dementia research! I just wished it didn’t take me such an amount of type because I could have spend it on other things. But I guess these are the kind of priority choices you have to make right? In conclusion, I’m improving the basics of my academic writing skills by starting with the basics.