[Campus commentary]Learning the hard way

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[Campus commentary]Learning the hard way

The two years I have spent immersed in work for the Yonsei Annals, the official English monthly of Yonsei University, have finally come to an end. In terms of life lessons, it was the most valuable experience I have ever had.
It also defined the first half of my time at the university, giving me unique experiences that only insiders at the magazine would fully understand.
But as much as I have enjoyed working at the Annals, there were times when seemingly insurmountable problems almost brought me to my knees.
Although it may sound strange, rather than forcing me to give up completely, those difficult issues made my time at the magazine even more worthwhile.
The most important thing I learned as an Annals reporter is that I am able to overcome life’s difficulties.
Adversity reveals a person’s true nature. Characteristics that are usually hidden deep inside suddenly surface. In many instances, the person does not even know he or she possesses such traits, positive or negative.
Difficult times provide a range of possible outcomes, from pleasant surprises to great disappointments.
But without exception, I always find people fall into one of two categories during such periods: those who can overcome the problems and those who don’t, or can’t. Those who overcome grow stronger and wiser, while those who don’t remain the same.
Obviously, there were times I wanted to give up. Staying up until sunrise to write articles, participating in hours-long meetings day after day, arguing to defend my opinions ― these were things I never would have wanted to do before I joined the magazine.
However, I became immune to those tricky situations and became able to deal with them in a more appropriate and sensible manner.
But more valuable than anything I have mentioned previously, confronting and overcoming adversity has endowed me with the confidence and courage to believe there is nothing I can’t do.
I am certain I will do well at any job I take in the future.
These two years under constant stress, whether it had to do with my work at the Annals or some other personal problem, have marked themselves as wrinkles between my eyebrows, a big belly and slight hair loss (as unbelievable as it sounds for a 20-year-old, it’s true!).
Still, even with these regrettable consequences, it has been pleasing to see myself grow wiser.
Entering university as a naive, inexperienced youth, I now feel as if I have grown up.
My friends used to ask me, “Why are you so into the Yonsei Annals when it only stresses you out?”
I did not know how to respond, even just a few weeks ago. But now, I have the answer.
“Well friend, no pain no gain.”

*The writer is a reporter for the Yonsei Annals, the English monthly magazine of Yonsei University.

by Bae Han-keol
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