WHEN THINGS do not go as planned, we often feel let down as if we have failed to accomplish something. Sometimes, though, we can gain valuable lessons from experiences we once thought we would never have by making spur-of-the-moment decisions. Spontaneity can bring out excitement, nervousness, joy, regret, fear, and confidence, to name a few. Its beauty is that nobody knows the outcome, so you can follow whatever path your heart desires to take, without having to worry about ruining your perfect “plan.” The Yonsei Annals explores the adventurous side of Yonseians.
Kim Gyo-bin (Jr., Dept. of Business)
“During the middle of the semester of my sophomore year, I decided to take a leave of absence to go traveling. I ended up visiting eight different countries during my year off. I felt like I really needed a break both mentally and physically. I don’t regret my choice as of now because it was such a great experience to explore new places, cultures, and communities. I never imagined myself to suddenly take a leave of absence from school, more so this spontaneously; but through this, I was able to reinvigorate myself and definitely grow as a person.”
Flóra Várhegyi (Soph., Dept. of International Commerce)
“The most spontaneous thing I have done recently was to ask a guy out. We had not talked much before, but we would greet each other when we met. One time, we both said hi to one another in passing; I was already walking away when I suddenly turned around and yelled ‘Wait!’ He was going through a speed gate and stopped midway, caught by surprise. Then, we exchanged numbers over the speed gate very awkwardly. Up until then, I was really anxious wondering about what could happen if we went out. My imagination was running wild and I couldn’t focus on other things. In that moment, I was just fed up and wanted to get it over with and ended up confessing online. In the end, he politely rejected over text message, but I don't regret it even a bit. I felt so relieved after doing it because I didn’t have to be trapped in my imagination anymore. And it was honestly a funny experience I could laugh about with my friends. It gave me the confidence to take more risks and not be afraid of embarrassment. A lot of people regret over things they didn't do and keep wondering what could have happened. I don't have this problem anymore. It made it easier for me to branch out of my comfort zone in other areas as well.”
Choi Gyh-joo (Soph., Dept. of Business)
“One morning, when I was in around 9th grade, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (I usually wake up at 7:30 a.m. on school days). I don't know why I got up, but what I do know is that I was just filled with angst and a general sense of dissatisfaction with my life. A little bit of necessary context is that at this point in my life, I was a preppy and obedient kid who had never done anything even resembling rebellious attitude. That morning, I just could not sit still in my room; I had to get out. So, I snuck out of my house—for the first time—and just ran with no route set in mind. After a solid half-hour of directionless running, I ended up in a sketchy part of town I had never been to and spent money on things that weren't the school cafeteria food or a Wendy's burger—again, for the first time. I got back home before my parents woke up and acted like nothing happened. It is one of my most positive memories to this day. It was probably the first time I felt like I was in control of my own existence, and it was my first step to independence. This experience has had a long term and positive impact on my life. Whenever I feel pent-up or bored, I remind myself that I can do whatever I want. Even nowadays, I sometimes just jump on a bus to go somewhere I've never been to and watch a movie or go shopping.”
Woo Ji-won (Fresh., Dept. of French Language & Lit.)
“One of the most spontaneous things I've ever done in my life happened during a ski trip with my friends. I had only just started learning how to ski, but all of my friends were advanced skiers. So, before we actually went skiing, we decided to go to the beginner-intermediate routes so that I wouldn't lag behind. But when we arrived at the ski resort, I was in a good mood, and I somehow thought that I could handle the advanced courses right away. I told my friends that I would be fine skiing in the harder routes, and we eventually chose the toughest route available. It was a massive disaster. The route was very steep, filled with moguls and icy batches. I remember rolling down the mountain almost a minute after I got off the gondola. I eventually made it back, mostly tumbling. I regret my hasty decision because my mom later scolded me for breaking my new ski polls. Nevertheless, this is a valuable memory for me because I had a great time with my friends. After getting so many bruises and back aches from this experience, I developed the habit of thinking twice each time I make rash decisions out of too much excitement or happiness. But, at least my skiing skills slightly improved thanks to that arduous ski journey!”
Lee Seo-jin (Fresh., College of Communications)
“Last summer, I had a friend visit me in Korea; however, I only had a little time to spend with her, so we spontaneously purchased tickets for a music festival on the day of the actual event. In order to make the most out of our time, both of us decided that it would be great to go to the festival, and it is now probably one of the most precious memories I have. It was refreshing to go to a festival without having the stress to plan out the details and I had a great time. I believe this experience allowed me to see the beauty of doing things in an uninhibited manner, and it still motivates me to put immediate practice to the things I may be hesitant about.”
Lee Yu-jin (Fresh., UIC, Underwood Div.)
“I guess the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done in my life as a freshman was booking a flight to Beijing to reunite with my high school friends this summer. I was still not done with an assignment for one of my classes, so I had to bring my laptop and finish it in Beijing. Fortunately, it was a four-day trip and I was able to submit my paper on time on the second day. I guess it was my ‘friends’ that really motivated me to take this chance and actually make it happen. I can say for sure that I would never regret my choice and that it was definitely more than a positive memory. The four days basically alleviated my stress in different ways. Although catching up with my friends was definitely the best thing and the biggest reason to fly back to Beijing, walking and touring around the place I used to live in also played a big role. I personally think my decision to visit Beijing right after the first semester impacted me in terms of my “mindset” and “goal-setting behavior.”
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Everybody has different reasons for taking spontaneous decisions, whether it be travelling around the world or visiting a friend for old time’s sake. At the end of the day, what is done is done, so we should treasure our precious memories or learn from our regrets of the past.