“These days, I leave home at six in the morning to go to school. Every morning, I take pity on myself for the present state, and wish I could go back to high school routines. The first thing I do at school is going to the library to study at the partitioned corner of a desk.”
This is typical of a senior student in any Korean university. Surrounded by tons of textbooks and test drills, he or she gets nervous about the future, fatigued, and stressed-out.
Nevertheless, preparing for the future to come cannot be disregarded at any rate. The primary concern of the students at the University of Seoul (UOS) is not very different from that of other students. As students realize that a college diploma does not guarantee employment upon graduation, they try to go through most of pre-employment programs offered by UOS.
The UOS makes an effort for students to get a job they want. They have been conducting many programs for students, such as GLP(Global Leadership Program), IPS(Intensive Placement Skill Program), DCC(Dale Carnegie Course), and DCF(Discovery Course for Your Future), student exchange, foreign language education. etc.
Along these programs, they venture out to offer uncommon programs committed by private organizations or companies, especially for the students who prepare for the standardized examinations like TOEIC, CPA, and so on. Students take part in such programs to prepare for employment. In addition, they find extra activities on campus. They belong to clubs or work for the press of the university. They do not only school activities but also extramural activities.
Some lucky students land on internship programs or volunteer works; others get a part-time job to earn some money and build up their resumes. Foreign students are similar to UOSians. They strive to get as much as they can in college years whether it is knowledge or experience or whatever. On the other hand, they put less importance in employment preparation. They attach importance to a wide range of experiences of social and human relationship that will help them throughout their lives.
Of course, they do not neglect their studies or school activities. In Hong Kong, college students have a great deal of enthusiasm for volunteer work. Eugene Chan, a junior student at Saint Francis Xavier College, goes to welfare facilities with his friends from Monday to Friday. They keep company with the elderly and go through many kinds of hard work, such as giving them a bath, cleaning their bedpans or urinals, and wheeling for old people. “I am an only son.
So I have never done any housecleaning or dishwashing at home. However, while I have been doing this experience, I feel it has been changing my life. Through this activity, I experience what is not taught at school or from books.” Hohorn Wai(22), a senior student of Hong Kong Baptist University, made an unofficial organization called ¡®Green Student Council(GSC)’ which has 70 members.
The members visit almost 50 restaurants and supermarkets and conduct a sign campaign for reducing garbage and plastic lunch boxes, appealing not to use vinyl wrappers. “It’s not a big campaign. But I feel confident from such a small activity that we can do what we need for the society.” An internship as well as volunteer work is also greatly animated.
In America, many university students also participate in various internship programs. One student, Sean Howell, has just finished working as an intern. “My Hollywood internship lasted only 10 weeks, but crazily enough I managed to stay at Warner Brothers. The interns do all the odd jobs that no one else wants to do.
One of us had to sit by the unit production manager s door at all times because he would call out instructions.” They were directed by no one in particular, but if he said, “Get me the location manager, and you happened to be within an earshot, you had better get on the phone and call everyone and then call everyone’s mother to look for him.”
Through this experience, he became disappointed with film industrials, so he decided to be a lawyer instead. He is studying to go to the law school now. He might have regretted for his entire life, if he had pursued to be a filmmaker based on conceptual expectation.
In this case, internship awakened him into finding a realistic alternative for the future. At Harvard, the students are outstanding. But what makes Harvard stand out is the last class of each course, in which the professors recount the most valuable lesson they have learned in their lives, from their experience of challenges, successes, failures and discouragements, and so on.
The professors teach their students these lessons because they know that just simple knowledge is not enough to create talented leaders. So, the students have broad outlook and deep thinking. There is no best way in life or the best work to do. Life is about making decisions based on limited information.
What we need to proceed to an unknown place and overcome difficulty is the faith in ourselves. The students who prepare for their future, whether they are UOSians or other college students, need to find more about themselves, especially their interests and aptitudes.