Better Late than Never

문예원 기자l승인2011.09.02l0호

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Ik-Sun Hwang (42), Senior
Triple Major: Regional Development and Welfare Administration, Psychology, and Business

Q) Why did you decide to start university study at your age?
A) I started to think I wanted to try new things while I was running businesses five or six years ago. I just thought about it vaguely and did not put it into practice, but when my business failed, I was forced to consider “Why did I fail?” I came to the realization that it was because I was lacking in knowledge about management. I thought if I learned accounting and management, I could avoid making the same mistakes. I also pledged that if another opportunity came to me, I would live to help other people. Miraculously, my business difficulties were resolved and I decided to start studying again. When I filled out my university application, I recalled the pledge I made and applied to the Department of Regional Development and Welfare Administration.

Q) When you told the people close to you about your decision, how did they react?
A) I have a family with two daughters who were very supportive, but my other relatives did not agree with my decision. That was OK because my eldest daughter (11) was helpful to me. During winter vacation, I found out my eldest daughter has a rare disease. Fortunately, the disease was detected in its early stage, but she has already had to have brain surgery twice. As my daughter recovered from her surgery I felt guilty about taking the time to study, and I considered quitting. She had to have her head shaved for the surgery and I told her that I would be there for her as her hair grew back out. However, she surprised me when she told me “You shouldn’t quit, and that you should continue your studies.” I was afraid she would get teased because of the scar that could be seen on her head because she had no hair. After two weeks, she told me a child teased her and called her a monster. I was worried about her. However, she told me she understood because she looked so different due to the scar on her head. At that time I felt she had grown through her difficult experience, but I was still very worried about her. I decided if this is what had to be overcome, then I should make it happen. Therefore, I registered for the second semester, but just barely.

Q) What is the most difficult part of juggling your studies and obligations at home?
A) It is very difficult to juggle housework and my studies. Frankly, one of the two has to be sacrificed. I still do basic housework such as cleaning and cooking, but I had to give up things like decorating the house and making a warm home. My children actually help me a lot with the housework. I usually study from 11 p.m. to dawn. Early one morning, my daughter came to me and told me “You are the best.” I asked why, and she said, “Because you do your best.” If I had to choose my life mentors, first would be my mother and next are my children.
Q) Tell me about your campus life.
A) I have been able to check off many things on my list of things to do during my time on campus. I have done OPP (Outbound Pilot Program), Carnegie Leadership Camp, and TOEFL study group.

Q) Isn’t it hard for you to become close with students because of your age difference?
A) I have participated in various activities, and I have three majors, so I have made many acquaintances. I do not find it difficult to form relationships with young friends. Most of them are comfortable with me because I have a baby face. (She laughs) I study and spend time at the pub with young students, and I don’t feel out of place.

Q) What is your ultimate goal?
A) Now my goal is to get a doctorate in social welfare, and soon I will be taking an MBA course. Then I want to work for social enterprises or a social welfare related fund.

Q) Do you have any advice for YU students?
A) It seems that many students go about their lives without having solid goals. When it comes to English study they prepare for TOEIC exams, but they are just doing that because everyone else is doing it, and companies require it. I ask them which company requires it. Then they answer that most companies require it. They need to make preparations that are appropriate with a specific goal. It should be a priority to establish their goals, but many students are just following the people in front of them. I think forging out on your own is good for you. Society does not give students room to learn from their mistakes and it forces students down the same paths. I want students to find their own path, and then run down that path as far as it goes.

We often think it is too late to do things we want to do, and as a result we don’t even start. However Ik-Sun started down a new path when most people would feel it was too late, and now she is enjoying running toward her goal. Let’s challenge ourselves to set goals. “Better late than never” is a famous proverb, and whenever we feel like it is too late we should recall her passion and have courage to take on any challenge.

문예원 기자  lune@ynu.ac.kr
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