18 months and 200 class hours ago I remember other students carrying HSK4 and HSK5 books, and I never imagined that I could once be at that level as well. But here’s to HSK4上 finished! I think the trick for me (as someone who was always bad with languages and started learning Mandarin with low hopes) was that I’ve always approached Mandarin more as a hobby than a goal-driven pursuit. Like how people play guitar without hoping to be the next Jimi Hendrix — purely for its own sake. I think that’s the main thing: learn to enjoy learning, and all else will follow.