My Struggle and How I Mastered English with Online Crosswords

by Carol Lee
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In my journey of 5 years at University, I have realized how important and life-saving communication skills are. In fact, the ability to write moderately was the only thing I knew when I was in high school.

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Today, when I see many students struggling with writing a single paragraph in their internship applications without any grammatical error in it, I wonder why schools are not emphasizing on this important skill enhancement. May be humans have a habit of not realizing the value of anything unless it doesn’t hit them.

Thankfully, online crossword helped me become what I am today. I have friends who don’t know how to speak English properly but genuinely want to learn. They have no idea where to start and lack confidence. If you are one of them-this story is for you.

My initial struggle

I lived in a place where English was not the first language, so I became fluent in my native language. I have even given my competitive exams in my native language. As an above-average student, I always felt embarrassed that I didn’t know English properly, but I had no clue what should be done. When I landed in an IIT college where English was the only language of instruction, I felt like a fish out of water.

The challenging phase

The initial 3-4 months were very challenging. I was very conscious of my lack of vocabulary, poor pronunciation, and the fact that I never had a conversation with anyone in English before. Fortunately, I was good at grammar but didn’t know how to use it. Invariably, I would keep making silly mistakes and getting pointed out. To be able to answer questions during the lectures, I would carry a translator book so that I get to know the correct English words that I phrased.

How online crosswords my life changed?

Somehow, I was never embarrassed. I knew I was pathetic, and I had accepted the fact long ago. I took up the challenge of learning English, and my friend told me that I should start playing online crossword puzzles on ‘Wealth Words’. To my surprise, this was an interesting way to learn. The daily online crossword puzzles were easy. Carefully reading the clues and thinking helped me a lot. I understood which words fit where appropriately.

I had also told my professors about my poor English, and they knew I stutter when I answer a question. Besides puzzles, I started reading English newspaper regularly. I underlined the difficult words and then looked for the meanings. Also, I borrowed fiction novels from my fellow friends and read them aloud. One page every day. After completing every novel, I summarized orally, and my friend corrected my mistakes if any.

My accomplishment

This continued for more than 9 months, and I could clearly see a gradual but definite improvement in myself. I understood how to identify patterns of grammar in the novels and the online puzzle. My confidence took a new flight.

Moving ahead, step by step helped me a lot. The best moment came when I was in my 3rd year and gave GRE Test. I scored 1530/1600-the highest in the campus that year. My friend threw a party for me and celebrated my hard work, thinking how long I had come.

Now, I keep experimenting with word/phrases and have developed moderately persuasive content writing skills. My impeccable communication skills have helped me secure various leadership positions in the campus. Read the newspaper, start playing online crossword puzzles and novels to improve your English. If I can do it, so can you

All the best!

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