[Campus Commentary]To find yourself, unplug

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[Campus Commentary]To find yourself, unplug

Imagine a 20-something woman studying for her class, wearing her usual headphones. She’s listening to a song she bought online a few days ago, background music to add to her Web page. She thinks the loud and powerful sounds might interfere with her studies, but she continues to listen anyway. To her, it’s the best way to enjoy a cultural life. Although her eyes had lit up in fascination when she had gone to an exhibition of modern art the day before, she still feels more secure in her own little world of music.
Then there’s a man, also a 20-something. Recently, he went crazy about an all-girl dance group and has been watching them on his mobile multimedia device that he carries around wherever he goes. The girls wear interesting makeup, but their dance moves, rather than their singing, is what pleases him. The definition of a good piece of music is something that pleases you, he says to himself. And what could be better than enjoying it by yourself?
Back to the woman: She has been asking herself the question, “How should I spend my 20s?” The answer that she needs can be found at the nearest bookstore. Many self-help books there can tell her what she can do during her 20s, just by browsing the titles. But she shrugs off the thought.
The man, on the other hand, it turns out, failed a company recruitment exam several times. What he really needs is a comforting word to cheer him up.
But the two choose to think they might as well be cool and not be bothered by others.
Many university students seem to pursue things that just benefit themselves. Their culture is defined by crying out “me!”
But I think what they pursue is just passive pleasure. They don’t try to be creative through culture, but just follow trends and become the persons that the media or commercials tell them to be. They think being hooked to headphones or being absorbed in mobile devices represent one’s true self. In my opinion, this is not what developing yourself means.
I have a friend who always gives vague answers when people talk to her, just like my grandmother’s generation would. She would start talking with “I don’t know well, but I think...” or “I’m not sure, but...” Her statements are so ambiguous you start to doubt if she has an opinion of her own.
Teachers often say to students that books give people indirect experience; therefore, we learn wisdom from books. After reading a book, I reorganize the story in my head, and reflect on my life. That’s one way of developing yourself. You can learn and apply a book’s experience to yourself by reading and thinking about it, even from simple success stories.
When I listen to songs, I try to listen for my spirit, not only for my ears. Personally, I like the powerful voice of Jennifer Hudson and think many thoughts big and small listening to her songs for a long time.
Coming to the end of the year, if you are planning to stay home alone listening to your Walkman or playing with your mobile phone just because you don’t have a sweetheart to be with, use this opportunity to find out who you are. Find yourself in music, arts and books.

*The writer is a reporter for Sookmyung Times news magazine at Sookmyung Women’s University.

BY Yoo Kang Hyun-ji
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