[Letters] Korea University dropout was merely a lonely daydreamerToday, I read an article about a female student who voluntarily withdrew from Korea University, one of Korea’s most prestigious schools. She believed university life is an endless, and hopeless, cycle of preparing to work for big corporations.
Some believe she is really brave and should be complimented. However, as a university student in Korea, her drop out seems more like the lonely scream of daydreamer than one student’s meaningful action.
I feel this way because of her exposed weaknesses, such as ignorance about other people, her self-contradiction and her being out of touch with reality.
First and the foremost, she ignored those who are enthusiastic about their work as students. As she said, university students in Korea are now obsessed with building up qualifications other than a high GPA. She believes many students are stuck in the middle of this agony, striving to beat others rather than satisfying themselves.
However, not all students go after others. Some still believe all the experiences they have in school will make them better people. And others work for their own professional or life-long goals.
This means there are enthusiastic people with full and meaningful lives.
Even when we look at job applicants to huge corporations, we acknowledge they have their own goals, beliefs and motivation. They did not apply just to beat others who wanted the same jobs they did.
If she really believed all university students are building up their qualifications just so they don’t lag behind others, and that they do not have any real goals for their lives, she should have reconsidered.
Second, she has the contradiction of her own behavior. She believed Korean universities are pressuring students to build up their qualifications, not delivering pure academic knowledge. But interestingly, her major was business administration, which specialized in business settings and practical knowledge.
If she wanted to pursue real academic studies, she needed to look at other areas, too. As a student of political science, I do not think our school is a machine producing students who are eligible for jobs. If there is an atmosphere like that, it was made by students, not the university itself.
Since students of social sciences are “learning for learning’s sake,” except for some students taking business courses, many students still study diligently under their professors.
Also students taking business courses are doing this for their specific goals, not just because of peer-pressure or pressure from the university. If she knew this, maybe she could have another chance rather than dropping out school.
Last but not least, dropping out of school means giving up on reality, not changing it. Reality is not easily changed, even with the efforts of many people.
Although a lot of people believe they have to root out the Korean business world’s emphasis on where one went to college, people not only in Korea but also in other countries emphasize educational background and graduating from prestigious schools.
Students are also crying out against raising university tuition, but still it goes up every year. Despite this little effort, it is just a “little” effort, not decisive action that changes reality.
Sometimes, even high social status does not ensure one can change reality. In that sense, her dropping out from school is merely immature. She has given up her chance to really fight against reality.
But if she is socially respected, and has as much influence as others seem to give her, she may have another chance to give “a little but rare change” to society. And that social status, sadly speaking, comes from higher education in the real world.
To conclude, this drop out has the possibility to remain merely the action of a lonely screamer who ignored other enthusiastic working people, contradicted herself from the beginning of her act and missed a chance to really fight against reality by giving up.
Of course, one Korean student’s drop out makes many other students think twice, but we need to consider why they stay in university.
junior student of political science and diplomacy, Ewha Womans University
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