Twenties, Introduction to New Social Life
Before entering the university, many students grow in similar districts. They live in a quite adjacent streets, go through similar education, and have similar purposes of attending prestigious university. They wear the same school uniform and learn in the same homeroom with the same teacher. Therefore, they socialize with similar friends in the similar neighborhood. However, once they enter unversity, they are suddenly surrounded by many new strangers with various cultural backgrounds. They have different social standards, different purposes of spending time in university, and different perspectives toward the world. All of them seem so different, but they are tied in the same new place-Sogang University. Let’s take a deep look into how they make new relationships and what Sogangers learn from them.
Various Relationships Gained Through Activities
After entering Sogang University, many newcomers meet their colleagues in various activities. There are welcome parties for the freshmen, orientations, club activities, group projects from classes, and so on. What could be the major differences between college and high school?
In high school, students meet 30 to 40 new classmates every year. They have a full year to get to know each other, and after a year, they develop into another relationship. However, in college, it is a different story. Students meet people in their new major, classes, and club activities surrounded by at least 30 to 100 people at once. Since the classes are not fixed and every schedule is made out of students’ own choice, students have a substantially shorter time to get along with each other. As a result, they tend to maintain broad and shallow relationships, compared to those from high school.
In college, there are many people from various backgrounds. However, some students gather together by joining or making new clubs such as tennis, baseball, musical, orchestra, and many more. All the clubs have different intentions, people, and purposes. Since the members can build up common interests in clubs, it is easier to make new friends there. For instance, tennis club members may get along with each other by playing balls. Orchestra members can become intimate by spending hours practicing new music. Cooking club members can cook together and eat what they had made during the club session. This kind of characteristic is different from that in high school for it all depends on the student’s choice. In high school, some students feel the need to enter clubs related to what university and what major they wanted to be accepted in. However, college is free from this kind of requirements and there are more clubs than high school, so it is purely the student’s choice whether they want to enter that club or not.
Since every opportunity of who to meet depends purely on one’s choice, it is easier to make friends with those who have common interests. The form of relationship also varies from person to person. As mentioned above, the relationship university in tends to be shallow, but there are always exceptions. Some students develop into a closer relationship since they have similar characteristics. Some students engage in deeper conversations and find comfort while they go through hard time together. Then, they can become best friends. Some students even find their lovers while meeting people in the university. In most high schools, many teachers consider having boyfriend or girlfriend as something inappropriate for students. However, in college, nobody forbids you from dating someone you like. There are also plenty of opportunities to meet your lover. For example, in college, there are many meetings in group or as individuals. Both of them are similar in that it provides opportunity for anyone to spot a potential partner. Many of this kind of relationship start lightly by just liking that person. However, when you meet that person, it suddenly becomes deeper. There are some changes made when you get to know that person. You start to become like that person, whether it is good or bad. This tendency of becoming similar may be appearance, hobbies, favorite foods, or even personality. Sometimes, spending too much time relates to frequent quarrels and conflicts between the couple. As time passes, they solve the problem through conversation, which leads to deeper understanding of others. Hence, meeting that person can help build up a self-attained maturity. A lover takes each the other’s difference by heart and tries to agree with the other lover. Then, he or she tells the other person about how they can lead to a solution, persuading each other. The relationship is what both people make out, not just one person making an effort.
Relationships with different people are not easy; indeed, there are hidden trials and errors. This is because ways of thinking from people to people. There is an example from a student in Sogang. Kim Jae-hoon (12, Dept. of Chinese) has built many relationships while working in General Students’ Association of Humanities and International Cultures. The Sogang Herald made an interview with him.
What was the problem that you had while you were working in Freshman Working Community?
When agonizing over whether I should take on a certain project or not, I always had dichotomic choices to go for it or not. Sometimes, what I thought was good was read differently by others. If I force others to follow my way of thinking, problems arise when the result turns out bad. Furthermore, there could be problems when others reluctantly follow my decision when they, in fact, disagree with it. Even if all of them agree with my idea, there could be some conflicts if their ways of approaching the solution are different. Too many cooks spoil the stew, only to make a mess. I realized the importance of persuasion and communication with others. To work with others effectively, motivating others to do their assigned role is necessary. I should discard the way of thinking that I am the only one who is right. If my idea cannot persuade others, then I should also learn to give up those ideas.
Could you tell us about the good example of cooperating with your team?
When working with other sections, there are always conflicts arising from their own interests. Each team works on the best ways of pursuing their benefit, but it is always so different. However, after constant discussions, we come to realize that we have been asserting each of us our ways of thinking. We concluded that since all of us wanted different things, we tried to come across what the best decision for us would be. While going through this procedure, it is most likely to feel a sense of fellowship. Also, when we are confronting a big problem, comradeship arises. When we have enemies, the group starts to have strong bondship as a single team. Then, we start to talk about many things including ourselves. We start to feel intimate toward each other, having stronger feelings than as a mere team.
In Jae-hoon’s experience, he grew up by overcoming problems. At first, understanding over the difference towards each other’s stance is needed. However, after that the skill starts to develop by applying it to relationships with other people.
There are many relationships on daily lives, but there are also other relationships found on on-line communities. When recruiting team members for doing extra-curricular activities for job qualification. This kind of activity is the best example for recruiting suitable team members to achieve the great work. By meeting her team members from Ssodam, Lee Su-bin (12, Dept. of Chinese) and her team has accomplished to win an award with her team on the project hosted by the Bank of Korea. The Sogang Herald interviewed her to look into her teamwork.
What do you think was the reason for your team’s successful result?
I was surprised that there were not many conflicts among people. The primary reason for it was that all the people put the contest on the top of their to-do list. Although they were busy studying for their exams, nobody complained over having a meeting which lasted over five hours every weekend. I think everyone knew their responsibility of attending the meeting, so no one missed a single meeting.
When preparing for the contest, there were several team members who worried about similar future problems. However, senior students helped juniors by sincerely telling their own experiences as freshmen. I had little knowledge regarding the contest to contribute to the team but, everyone tried to help me out. That was why I could achieve this result in the contest, and I am still thankful to other team members.
Sogangers in Relationships
As can be seen from both interviews, many students are keeping in touch with different people in everyday lives. It is probably one way to step towards a bigger society, and also to make people feel satisfaction about practicing relationships with other students. In Sogang University, unlike high school, relationship is one’s free choice. One should try making an effort to understand people from various backgrounds. It seems that college relationship is broad and somewhat superficial since there are so many people around. However, the next step to get closer to another is always an open choice for everyone. It would always be meaningful to find some warm bondship with the person who is sitting next to you, or who has some similar hobbies with you. The door of opportunity to make friends is open for everyone.
By Kim You-jung(Campus Reporter)