As everybody knows, life is full of joys and pains, sometimes interchangeably. We are easily frustrated, get lost, get mad, feel like there is no way out for us any more. For example, when we were highschoolers preparing just for college entrance, we used to imagine everything would be all right just at the moment we are accepted and start a liberated college life. But, sooner or later, most of us immediately feel there are waiting more challenges of different types and those we have never expected before. As a professor having only a few years left before retirement, I would like to give you Gachon students a few tippings on how to survive in a challenging world that often makes you exhausted mentally and physically, almost to the point of death. Looking back, I would not dare to say my life has been a great success and I used to have a lot of hard times myself from time to time. But here is my advice for you my beloved students, which would have made my life much easier if I had known them earlier.
Above all, I would advise you to imagine, whenever you have no energy left for life, that you are in your last stage of life, say, you only have a few days or months left in this world, and also that you have happened to save your life by unknown forces. Then, all of sudden, you would feel like you have new energy and passion about life no matter how life is hard at the moment. Suddenly, you would become brave enough to face life newly and come to feel grateful for every little thing you have enjoyed in daily life, feeling nothing for granted at all. Such things as morning sunshine, evening sky, your favorite places, delicious food, music and above all, family and friends around, would loom brightly and happily in front of you, who have been born again in this world.
The next thing I would like to put stress on is that you had better not compete yourself with anybody in the world: it is so easy to compare, but so hard not to compare. As the great English novelist D. H. Lawrence once said, “the very moment we compare ourselves with others, we become inferior to the person we compare ourselves with.” Related to this life-tipping, self-dependence and self-confidence can never be emphasized too much in the modern, complicated world. Depending on oneself and believing oneself would make you freer, happier, more challenging, more humane and even more conscientious, I believe. For Ralph Emerson, as well, who is regarded as the philosophical founder of “the American Dream,” pure self-dependence is the most recommendable quality in a person.
To say one more time about the three life-tippings I have mentioned, we need to remember all the time life is only once, time being limited; to remember comparing and competence are all meaningless; and therefore, to remember what we could do at the moment is to believe your potential and go ahead to do what you could do to make your life better. It is just because our life is so precious and not immortal.
English Language and Literature
Prof. Hae-Ryung Yoon
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