The new semester had just started. Then it was time for midterms. Once they start school, freshmen get over their excitement and adjust to university life. By their 2nd and 3rd years, that life gets harder to enjoy under the mental strain. Then by the 4th year students get ready to graduate but don’t have time to prepare for the job market.
In our society, university is the starting point where all at once various myths get shattered, one of which is that one’s year in school does not coincide with age. In other words, the difference between one or two years is significant until you reach high school. In university your age in relation to your year in school doesn’t matter as long as you graduate. The reason is that maybe after graduating from high school you entered college right away or perhaps after your third try. Maybe you enrolled in the middle of a career or graduated after taking time off school for whatever reason. Because of this our society generally uses the year of enrollment in a student’s identification number rather than the year of graduation.
Once they enter university, most students are required to complete four years, or eight semesters, of university, though not necessarily at once. In other words, to graduate from university you have to fulfill eight semesters, consecutive or not. How students spend this period before entering the “real world” is very important.
How will you use this time given to all students? I suggest a plan.
First, spend time at school.
As everyone knows, there are seven days in a week. Let’s think about the number of days you have classes. Reminding yourself that you’re a student, you should come to school four days a week (or more days than you have off).
Second, use your time effectively!
Think about how your daily class schedule is organized. Are your classes running consecutively in blocks? If so, then your study plans will not be effective, especially if classes start around lunch time and continue until late in the afternoon. In that case, most students will be up late in the morning to get ready to go to school. When late afternoon classes are over, they are more likely to go home immediately after lunch, not dinner.
Instead take your first class in the morning and your last class at night as a way to use time efficiently. You will have to come to school early in order to go to your first class, and you will have to stay at school until late at night. Take advantage of the time between your first and last classes to explore every part of the school, the campus (community), and make active use of it for yourself.
Third, find out right away what resources are available to you!
We have a tendency to miss the things around us. What we need to realize is that while someone else’s bread may always look big, to others we are also someone. In other words, it is important for me to quickly figure out what I have that others do not.
For example, we may wish to see some of the world cultural heritage sites such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and Machu Picchu in Peru, but how much do we know about the world cultural heritage sites in our own country? Can’t you see what’s right in front of you? Near our school there is a world cultural heritage site called Hwaseong, which people from around the world come to see. In that sense, let’s take a closer look at what’s around us.
Fourth, let’s have many experiences!
One of the important points of university life is that there is a vacation. And if you combine the two periods of summer and winter, you are given a long vacation of more than four months. During this time, we should see and learn many things beyond the school fence. To do this, you have to experience a lot. These experiences must be learned not through just your eyes but your whole body. To do this, go on a journey.
We are all different. If, through a variety of experiences, we learn to understand our differences, whether cultural, political, economic or religious, we will learn to be thoughtful and considerate.
In China during the Warring States period a group of people were said to have gotten lost at a crossroads chasing a runaway sheep, to which think Yang Zhu said, “It is the same with learning. As methods are fragmented, scholars are sad if they do not know what true life is.”
Professors share their learning and experiences with their students. Students take these second-hand experiences and turn them into their own academic achievements. The ways to do this are endless.
Translated by Charles Ian Chun