THE MONTH of September greets new students and welcomes familiar faces back to school. Students become excited imagining the semester ahead of them. Everyone dreams of a different ideal college life, such as a campus romance, pursuit of real knowledge, or enjoyment through club activities. In this month’s Voice on Campus, the Yonsei Annals interviewed various students about their fantasies regarding college life and how different or similar reality is compared to their imagination.
1. Yoon Seon-min (Jr., Dept. of Library & Info. Science)
My dream college life starts with walking through a pleasant road full of lovely spring flowers on my way to class. In my fantasy, I would easily be able to take whatever courses I wanted and not worry about the course registration process. After the lecture, I would head right away to the library and review everything I learned that day like a model student ought to do. Because I have reviewed every day, I would be thoroughly ready for my tests during the exams. In free periods, I would go out to play guitar and have an informal chat with my close friends who share similar tastes in music.
However, as far as it goes, this is just a fantasy. In reality, the school grounds are full of dust, with only a few flowers in sight. Time passes so quickly that the exams are right in front of me before I even realize that they are. Far from being ready, I would stay up for two nights to cram and take short naps at Neul-Raon. Lastly, if I play my guitar outside, the guards would come to scold me for singing loudly. College just feels like an extension of high school, except that I am allowed to drink.
2. Kim Ha-eun (Sr., College of Nursing)
The kind of ideal college life I dreamt of is having enough time to think and contemplate about my studies. I would appreciate being given more time to discuss sufficiently the content I learn during the class. Regarding grades, I want people to focus on the process of my studies, which is the proof of my passion rather than marks on my finals. However, in reality, I am too busy to contemplate earnestly about what I study. People only care about the consequences and not the procedure. No matter what kind of methods you use, only perfect outcomes will lead to good grades. College life seems to be all about fighting the clock.
3. Oh Da-young (Fresh., UIC, HASS)
When asked what kind of college life one dreams of, most would talk about club activities or campus romance. It is not that I don’t think those are important, but personally, I think college should be a place where you pursue true education. Since college education is not compulsory and students study by their own free will, I think sincerity really matters. Attending college is a choice, so pride in one’s major and passion in studying are my ideas of an ideal college life.
In reality, it feels like students are trying just to “buy” their diplomas instead of learning through them. Everyone nowadays competes to take easy courses that give out good grades. Students also tend to choose majors they are not interested in because the future prospects of the majors are more important than their interests in the studies. I think the meaning of college has been spoiled, which does not match my ideal. Sometimes, I find myself blindly memorizing textbooks in order to pass the course, and I cannot shake off the feeling that I’m studying in vain. Certainly, it is not easy to disregard reality, but I want college students to study what they are interested in. If not, life would be too dreary.
4. Park So-yeon (Fresh., Dept. of Political Science & Int. Studies)
My idea of an ideal college life is the following. I would polish myself from head to toe every morning before I go out. On my way to class, I would elegantly drink coffee from my tumbler. I would listen to the lectures in a sophisticated and refined manner. When class is over, I would debate with my fellow students about intellectual matters, such as politics and ethics. After that, the rest of my year would be a repetition of studying in the library, building respectable relationships with my colleagues, and dating a handsome boyfriend. But in reality, there is no time to dress up in the morning, let alone drink coffee on my way to class. In fact, I cannot find any time to enjoy romance or to carry on academic conversations with my friends. In the blink of an eye, I am busy studying for my exams. However, I still have not given up hopes of becoming the stylish and sophisticated college student I have dreamt of.
5. Ju Woo-jin (Soph., Dept. of Econ.)
When I first entered college, I fantasized of being able to only study subjects I wanted to learn. In addition, I had high hopes about joining clubs. In high school, I was restricted from doing some club activities because of my age and pressure of the college entrance exam. For example, I couldn’t volunteer or attend academic seminars. I also could not go on membership training (MT) trips with my friends or feel the excitement at festivals. I was so thrilled by the impending college life that I even made a list of “Five things I must absolutely do in college.”
Now it has almost been two years since I became a college student. As a student who is almost at the end of his second year at college, I think half of my fantasies about college life have proved to be true and the other half wrong. Although I can study interesting subjects to my heart’s content, I cannot escape the pressure of bigger responsibilities. I can also participate in entertaining club activities, but I have to take extra care of time management and health. Most importantly, I got to meet many different people that I would not have dreamt of meeting in my high school years, which has improved me as an individual.