Over the past few days our university has been busy finalizing details for the opening of a new semester. Like students who finish their busy summer vacation schedules, our university is putting on some finishing touches. Some workers are pulling weeds which have sprouted up on campus here and there. There are some women around campus handing out various kinds of brochures with tissues or fans attached. The School of Art & Design has almost completed renovating its building. In many places we can and some places we can't see, people are preparing for the first day of the second semester.
However, you may notice some unwelcome changes along the road in front of the university. It might take a second for you to realize what is out of place. Try to remember what the area around the bus stop was like at the end of last semester. After a few seconds reflection you will realize the street stalls catching our steps with their delicious smells on either side of the school crossings are expected to be pulled down all at once early next year. Next year we will not have to fight off the temptation of the street stalls. Some stalls that used to line the sides of the main gate have already been done away with over summer vacation. Only 10 stalls at the main entrance will be able to continue operating until the end of this year. It is against the law to sell food without going through particular formalities, of course, but I am sad when I think about the disappearing street stalls that have always satisfied our hunger at a low cost.
I have talked with an owner of a stall while eating tteokbokki. I found that she has been selling food for more than 10 years in front of our university. It is difficult to see these stalls disappear, and it almost seems symbolic of our childhood coming to an end. Even if there isn't much room for many students to stand, I think the stalls provide a space where we can feel compassion and eat a meal with friends. It's fine to want to clean up the university community. However, regardless of how humble they may be, the food stalls are the only places that provide abundant food for only one thousand won. The stalls have served a very significant purpose in providing inexpensive food for more than 50 years.
Over this past summer vacation, I lost one more thing, my major. If you read this issue's On Campus article, you will know, a year from now, the English Translation Major in the Department of English Language & Literature will vanish. Many students, including myself, have persisted in protesting this unfair situation to the professors and the Office of Academic Affairs, but the school finally decided to remove the major next year. It was a top-secret matter which was debated continually during summer vacation. We feel like we have been taken advantage of by the university. What is worse is that few students notice the situation.
Even now somethings old disappear and new things appear. This is how the world goes. I just hope this September we can reflect on things that have disappeared already that give us positive memories.