Professors have never prevented students from visiting their offices, but it takes a lot of courage for freshmen to actually knock on a professor’s door. “It seems like I would find a room full of thick books, a big table for working and nothing else,” says Song Jung-bin (Business Administration, 1). Such impressions not only do exist among freshmen. “Even if I need someone to consult with, I have never tried to visit the offices of my professors,” said Jung Da-hyun (Korean Literature, 2).
However, are professors’ offices really places filled with authority and solemnity that are difficult for students to reach? Maybe not. If you have the courage to knock on their doors, the simple knock can take you to the professor’s own unique wonderland. The Ewha Voice knocked on the doors of three professors, each with his or her own special room.
John F. Kinsler (English Education)
Professor Kinsler’s office is in the Jinsunmikwan. The grey stone building, built in 1935, is small but, being one of the oldest in school, can give visitors warm impressions from the past. Professor Kinsler’s office and the Jinsunmikwan were very much alike: warm and cozy. The warm impression came from the big welcome from the professor and also from the bright orange color lighting similar to sunlight, coming from the room. When stepped inside the room, we saw only a big standing lamp lighting it up. “I do not turn on the light on the ceiling, but rather use a lamp for my room. The natural orange lighting from the lamp helps me concentrate,” said Kinsler.
The office was a cozy size with a small window like one from a house. A bluish carpet on the wooden floor made the room look like a dormitory room from Ewha’s earlier years. Kinsler explained how he could feel Ewha’s history inside his office. “The Jinsunmikwan was actually used as a dormitory for Ewha students a long time ago. I feel very happy to use a room that was once used by many Ewha students in the past. I can feel the history of Ewha in my room,” said Kinsler.
Lee Jong-mok (Korean Painting)
At first glance, Professor Lee’s office gives the impression of being disorderly; works of art are leaning against the wall, brushes are everywhere and Lee is currently working on pieces of art in the back of the room. However, after listening to his kind introduction of the room, we soon noticed that everything was actually in a certain order; CDs and books were arranged in a neat row, materials for Korean paintings were placed in order beside his table, and brushes were hung on a small hanger. Lee’s office was also filled with all kinds of painting materials. Hanji (Traditional Korean paper) was piled up and thick wooden plates for engraving were arranged in a row. These materials are changed into works of Korean painting which can be easily found in the office.
Another object that catches the eyes of students as they enter the room is the various tea sets of all sorts. Seven tea pots were all in different sizes and colors and water inside a silver kettle was boiling. “I enjoy tea very much. Tea leaves are the result of our nature, which means tea is the nature itself. Our sense of taste is too much accustomed to artificial flavors; however, tea enables me to feel the taste of nature,” said Lee. Professor’s love toward nature can be seen from his furniture too. It was all made out of wood, which some of them were actually made by himself.
The CDs which occupied a whole single side of the wall was also eye catching which looked to be about over a thousand in number. Professor explains they are all CDs of classical music. “Even if I am a Korean painting professor, I love classic. For me, the impressions that I get from masterpieces of classical music never fade away.”
Cho Ki-sook (Dance)
“Come in, and take a look!” Professor Cho welcomed the Ewha Voice from a room that appeared to be larger than its original size. She has arranged her desk and book cabinet on one side of the wall, leaving the room with larger space in the middle. She called such arrangement the beauty of the blank. “I did not buy splendid furniture to decorate my room and I tried not to bring lots of books inside. I believe that this atmosphere makes it easier for students to come visit my room,” said Cho.
Like she said, Cho did not use a lot of money to decorate the room; the bamboo blind on the window is 1,500 Korean won and the book cabinet was a used one. However, they all matched together and made the office a gorgeous place to practice dance. The mirror which takes up the whole wall of one side is the exact proof for this. As a dance professor, she uses the mirror to do simple stretches. “The mirror enables me to put theories and practical technique of dance together. In other words, me and students can chat about dance but at the same time practice the moves,” said Cho.
Then, what is the use for the large space in the middle of the room? She says she fills up the space with students. “When students of the dance department or who are interested in dance come to visit me, we sit together on the floor to talk. That closes the distance between the professor and students way better than talking while sitting at the table,” said Cho.