In July, I finished my associate degree in German. It feels so good to be done! I loved my classes for the most part. I wasn't enamored with the online ones since online learning isn't my thing, but I am thankful for the extended knowledge of art history and European history that I gained through them. I was also thankful that I only had to take two online classes for the degree and that the remaining six classes were in person, which afforded a much more connected and rich experience.
However, since my last class in German language ended in May, I have done pretty much nothing with speaking German (with the exception of some chat in German with a French guy while we were in Brussels :) I should be very ashamed of myself, since there are plenty of opportunities for me to practice here. I had some tandem partners available from a local group and I am also feel very lucky to have a decent number of German friends and Bekannten (friendly acquaintances) with whom I could practice.
So, why haven't I practiced more? The short answer is that I am lazy and hate to sound "stupid." I also have a degree in English and am generally picky (for myself) about using correct English grammar and pronunciation. Unfortunately, that feeling exists when I speak German and as a beginner, I make mistakes all the time. I can't stand it. I doubt that my German speaking partner is judging me as much as I judge myself so I just need to get over it. The other problem is that my German will never improve if I don't sound stupid for a while and listen to a native speaker's corrections.
The other excuse I give is that my native German-speaking friends are a super intelligent bunch and we enjoy many intellectual conversations. I entirely lack the German vocabulary to discuss engineering, computer science, linguistics, advanced directives (yes, we've had that conversation; we're a bunch of weirdos ;) and so on.