[CAMPUS COMMENTARY] Students should be true to their schoolSince becoming a student reporter, I have developed the habit of browsing the Internet discussion boards of different universities to find out what issues students are interested in.
In more than two years of doing this, I realized that not only do large numbers of students have various complaints and worries about their own universities, but students constantly compete with each other on the Internet, asserting that their university is better than others.
Among the issues that they fight over, numbers play an inordinate role. Students of universities that receive poor scores in various assessments such as annual university evaluations, employment rates of graduates or ranking in national examinations, say in their defense that it is meaningless to compare their school with others.
But, in fact, students hardly accept such poor evaluations of their own universities. They worry, complain and criticize university administrations for not taking action to improve their scores.
The students who share their complaints, worries and criticism on the Internet say their actions come from the affection they feel toward their university. However, I think this show of “affection” only damages their school’s reputation even more.
Students make the university, not the administration or the faculty. Offering a splendid environment for students, scholarships and high-quality facilities does not substantially enhance the image of a university if it lacks its students’ loyalty. The most important recognition for a school ― the thing that makes it prestigious ― comes from its students, from their affection.
A few weeks ago, our university held its annual festival. It is true that unlike Yonsei or Korea University, Chung-Ang University does not have festivals of comparable scale and traditions. Our festival was too quiet and almost somber. The festival comes only once a year, an opportunity for all students to gather and together show our affection toward our school.
I often wonder why many students are not interested in new policies the school administration is promoting, a problem I have observed not only in our university. It shows there are not many students who are actually proud of their universities and care enough to make them better.
It is important for students to help enhance their school’s reputation, since one carries the name of his university like a name tag throughout life in Korean society.
What then would be the best way to do this? It cannot be done just by complaining when your school gets a bad evaluation. First take a good look at yourself as a student of your university. Ask yourself questions such as, “Do you really care about your university?” or “Have you thought about your own duty as a student before complaining about the environment the university offers you?”
Students are the most important factor that can affect the reputation of a university. If students really love their universities, they should show that love by developing themselves first.
Complaining has its place in affecting change, but start where you can immediately make a difference.
*The writer is a former editor of Chung-Ang Herald, the English news magazine of Chung-Ang University.
by Kim So-young