“Have you prepared to get a job?” or, “What will you do after graduating from university?” Many students hear these sorts of questions related to their lives whenever they meet relatives or older people. Students tend to prepare for many qualifications, careers, and language tests. Actually, many activities that students do to get ready for the workforce don’t need any academic qualifications. So the question I want to ask is, “Why did you enter university?”
What is the definition of ‘university’ in the Korean Standard Unabridged Dictionary? The word is defined as “an institution where students study for degrees and where academic research is done.” In addition, the Dictionary further explains it as “an institution that gives higher education. It teaches students scholarship theory and ways of application for the nation and humankind development, and lets the students raise the leading personality.” In short, a university is an academic institution that teaches students a higher level of study and raises their leadership skills. But the explanations don’t match the recent ways in which students mainly act and study in university now. Except for some cases, some students just waste their time hanging out. If not, they learn things unrelated to their major. For example, they study how to earn a higher score on the TOEIC, other types of the language ability tests, or getting licenses. Why has this phenomenon happened? It seems to me that this situation stems from the fact that students weren’t raised to be autonomous, and we were always told the wrong information about life in university.
When we were high school students, we anticipated that life after high school would be interesting and joyful, and we would be able to do everything that we want. Parents, teachers, and upperclassmen all said that life of an undergraduate would be similar to our expectations. Actually, they said those types of sweet words in order to encourage us during our difficult years in high school. But we imagined university student life only based on the comments from people around us. That is, we only heard half the story – the good part. We never learned about the important things for life as an undergrad.
After entering university, we enjoyed the life of a freshman. At a specific point, we heard the importance of gaining higher scores on language ability tests, and getting as many licenses as possible to prepare ourselves for the workforce. Moreover, few people actually regard their major as knowledge that’s as significant as other qualifications. Seeing this, we began to feel a kind of anxiety, so we followed their course passively.
The other reason that the importance of majors has diminished is from factors in society. First, citizens – including students in university – pay attention to public government officials because the difficulty of getting a stable job has increased. Although people may get a job, it is hard to keep that same job for a long time. Therefore, people looking for work have become more driven to secure guaranteed occupations, such as civil servants. As to the rest, according to a survey, conducted by Statistics Korea(KOSTAT), about 56% of people in Daegu who earned a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree responded about accordance with their degree and job negatively(except respondents who checked normal), and for people in Gyeongsangbuk-do it is about 60%(same calculations as
previous statistics). From these statistics, we can assume that people focus on a good, and stable job regardless of their major. Further, this shows us that society has difficulty getting and keeping good jobs.
As high school students, we never thought about ourselves. In other words, we never considered our personality, desires, or dreams like ‘what do I want to do,’ or ‘who am I?’ Although there is the reason that students in university are only interested in finding a job, we just blindly followed the route that looked assured without any consideration. The word ‘assured’ was not from our minds, but from others before us who also just adopted the same route. This is not good for our lives; my life is only mine. Please remind the aforementioned definition of the university students’ life away from the original function of the university. ARE YOU REALLY SATISFIED LIVING YOUR LIFE WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION? We should think deeply about this sentiment.