The UOS Times
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A good book is like a good friend
Jeon Ye-rim  |  iris8891@uos.ac.kr
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[0호] 승인 2007.04.20  
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Some may compete for scholarships or put their efforts into club activities and so on. Although these things can be part of the benefits that university students have, reading various books is one of the most important things. People, especially university students, have many opportunities to choose and discern invaluable information through reading books. Besides, reading books has cultural and recreational functions. In this regard book is an essential partner to university students.

The University News Network polled 2,210 students throughout the whole nation in 2002. According to the result of the survey, the amount of books that university students read has decreased while Internet usage time has steadily increased. It is not the problem to one specific school. These statistics are not surprising news anymore. In a survey of Seoul National University`s (SNU) freshmen, conducted by the SNU Center for Campus Life & Culture, 44% of students chose `employment` as the greatest worry in university life. It is quite a different tendency compared with only a few years ago. At that time most students were interested in developing their cultural knowledge.

Indeed, we are not to say that the intellectual level in the past was higher than that of current students. One thing is, however, clear: the main way for knowledge acquisition is no longer the book. According to `the 2006 Report of Reading` published by Korea Publishing institute, 24.1% of Korean adults don`t even read a single book in a year.

What may be the factors that caused this trend of not reading? It`s because student`s circumstances are not conducive to reading books anymore. In the past few years electronic media, such as the Internet, have developed rapidly, becoming widespread, among the young. University students were at the center of this change and they were very used to such interest-oriented media. It is getting even more difficult to read a book in that atmosphere. On the other hand, the current education system of Korea could be another influencing factor. As a solution to the present situation, most universities have arranged their essay tests and interview in selection examinations. Nevertheless, the original purposes of such exams have changed.

We should refer to the internal consciousness side of each student. According to the research of `Students of Korea - Construction of Consciousness and International Competitive Power` (Wonmisa, 1999),` we can see the involuntary traits of the learning culture of Korean university students. If we look at the reading rate of books for minor subjects and preparation for class, we can see the reality of insufficient reading. In particular, 33.5% of respondents did not read a book and 38.4% of respondents read a couple of books in a month.

As evident from the students` reading lists, university students tend to read fantasy, chivalrous, romance novels, etc. Lately, the novels of Ekuni Gaori and Yoshimoto Banana who are Japanese writers have been widely read by university students. However, this kind of novel has a limit in that it does not convey deep knowledge and thinking.

Independent reading by the university students is the essence of problem solving. Students may well also pursue reading books on a wide range of themes. Mass media is regarded the main object of leisure activity by university students. As a result, the position of the book has been at risk. Nobody thinks that a book is more fun than games or movies. It is not our assertion that we should pursue only traditional things in this era of civilization. Visual, audio and other means should also be considered. At least, compared with the entertainment function of visual media, however, the value of the book should not be underestimated.

The most important thing is that the consciousness of each and every university student had better be improved by positive reading. Through awareness changes in each student, we can come to realize the preciousness of reading. We need a significant change in methods of introducing books that are related to class and should dedicate time to get students interested in books. Professors at Sogang University regularly set homework, book reviews to encourage students to read. We think we should adapt this program to the UOS: students should hand in book reviews.

During university life, we can accumulate more varied experiences than at any other time in our lives. It seems like most students are only interested in activities that have substantial efficiency and visual attraction. However, we can find precious value and wisdom in books. Like the old saying, `truth existed inside the book,` we should become aware of the importance of reading. By organizing meaningful book clubs or promoting a reading campaign, we can motivate many students. Students, let`s read books! Where there is a book, there is a way.
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