March is a month that brings in the new academic year making it even more special. Although we can still feel the cold winter air, it will actually prepare us for what lies ahead in the new semester. However, March will leave us with a heavy heart as we will feel deeply saddened because of what happened on the night of February 17. The whole nation was overcome with grief after witnessing the tragedy of that day, as if the victims were our own children, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters.
This winter was an especially cruel winter due to the exceptional amount of snowfall. This tragic accident made us realize how snow piled up on a roof can turn into a ticking time bomb. It was only a matter of minutes when the roof of the gymnasium at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju caved in collapsing on top of the students during their freshman orientation. Ten people lost their lives and over 100 people were injured. They were ordinary students who just graduated from high school spending hours and hours studying to get into college in hopes of pursuing their dreams. Of course they wanted to go out with their friends and do other things, but they pushed those temptations to the side in order to get accepted to college. Moreover, they must have been filled with high hopes and expectations for their life as a college student. Unfortunately, on that day they left behind their shattered dreams. It was truly a tragic and sad day for all of us.
Once again, the media reported this incident as a lack of following safety precautions. But at this point it is important to look closely at the most fundamental problem. The weather forecast at the time of the incident reported heavy snowfall as seen in the east coast of Korea where it experienced the worst snowstorm in 100 years. It is hard to believe that the student association was unaware of this situation, but decided to go ahead with their plans to hold the orientation at the resort, and to make matters even worse, the university did not intervene. Ultimately, both parties are at fault for what happened that day.
We witness many instances where people regret their decisions after some kind of problem occurs. We ask ourselves, “Why did I do that?” “Why couldn’t I have stopped them?” and the list goes on. We see this in our national assembly where politicians are in constant disagreement with each other even leading to physical aggression. If that person does not agree with your decision, then they are your worst enemy. It is a rare sight to see people respecting each other’s opinion or just listening to what each other have to say.
Communication is vital in an organization as in the human body where good circulation leads to good health. If there is a blockage in any of the arteries in the human body, it will lead to arteriosclerosis. That is why communication is vital to the survival of any organization. The bottom line is the willingness on the part of the members in an organization to communicate with one another. An organization operates like a political entity. There will be times where members of the organization disagree with each other and look at things differently, which is only natural. But in order for the organization to survive, they should set aside their differences and be able to communicate with one another to fulfill the long-term goals of the organization.
Our university should learn from the tragedy that occurred in February and work on our communicative skills in order to prevent something like this from ever happening again. We need to check to see whether we are realizing our potential to the fullest by creating a synergy effect by interacting and communicating with each other in an effective way. We are in the midst of development as our university is making headway into specializing programs, and this is the time to see eye to eye on matters that lie before us. We have to make the choice of going forward or going backward. As members of an organization, we must all feel a sense of pride by making that bold move, and we can start this process through “democratic communication.”
Translated by Julia Kim