As a junior who has been taking online classes over two years, it has become my habit to procrastinate on my studies because of the time flexibility of online classes, which is a dangerous advantage for students. When I was a freshman, I continued my studies with the habit of studying in high school, but in my second year, I postponed and postponed, and eventually I didn’t do many things. So my grades began to draw a downward curve, and naturally my self-efficacy hit rock bottom. I became increasingly cynical and began to see the world in a simplistic and negative way. I needed a new experience, a transition that would change my view of the world and way of life.
And the field trip of the historical site I left last summer with my colleagues was exactly what I needed, which gave me a new perspective.
I went on a journey to Danyang, Chungcheongbuk-do, to see the Jeokseongbi Monument of Silla. However, before leaving the fieldwork, even if I continued to imagine what it would feel like when I saw the monument in person, I always felt like it would be just a stone with some Chinese characters on it.
But this thought disappeared in the middle of the journey toward the monument. Reaching the monument which is located in the middle of a high mountain was completely different from sitting in a room chair, opening a textbook, and looking at the monument in black-and-white photos. In the process of climbing the rough mountain path, my colleagues and I cheered for each other and climbed the slope together. And when we finally arrived at Jeokseongbi after a hard hike, the beautiful natural scenery seen from the high mountain welcomed us.
At this moment, I could vividly feel the traces of ancestors who had come all the way here to build this monument. They would have climbed a high mountain cheering for each other with their group like I did, and when they all climbed, they would have been moved by the beautiful view of this place where they arrived sweating. Then, they would engrave letters included their sincere will into the monument and erected it into the carefully selected spot.
After I felt them, I could conclude that exploration of historical site is the trip to face the will and heart of the ancestors that we have never imagined. It was a valuable experience of getting the enlightenment that there were people who lived different lives from mine in this world, and that I should stop evaluating other lives only with my individual values.
‘If you lived in the Japanese colonial era, would you have become an independence activist?’
This is a question that I used to ask lightly while chatting with my friends learning Korean history when I was a high school student. The intention may have been light, but the meaning of the question was very large. When I asked this question, there were answers that some would have worked as an independence activist, and that the others would not have been able to work with their life. Perhaps it would be difficult for them who learned the era only with textbooks to imagine the atmosphere and spirit of the time, so they would have answered the questions lightly. In recent public media, it is often seen that the Japanese colonial era independence activists are described as a “independence activist for living”. And every time I see the description, I think of my childhood friends who used to vaguely predict the past and answer the above question.
Recently, the perception that everyone is an economic animal that focuses on making a living has increased, and it seems that many people do not understand and even imagine the spirit of the past. I also often don’t understand the actions of the ancestors while studying history, However, we can learn from the exploration of the historical site that what is natural today was not natural in the past, and that our ancestors needed to protect and fight for something that we don’t have to protect now, and that our history was built by them fighting for it.
I still often put off what I have to do, and I haven’t completely corrected my negative view of world. However, it is certain that I has expanded my perspective on the world since last summer’s journey. And I will no longer fall into the hole of depression, I’m sure. If you’re tired of yourself looking at the world negative and fragmentary, so if you need a refresh, why don’t you go on an expedition toward a historical site?