Interviews, several. Phone calls, through the roof. Placards, two. National patent attorney exam, one. Patent attorney certificate, one. For Park Seul-ki (’01, Pharmaceutical Science), 2008 had been a very good year. On the morning of December last year, a joyous cry from her father told her that she had passed the patent attorney exam with the highest score. “I felt my heart explode,” says Park, who now suddenly finds her name on Internet postings of admirers wishing to follow her footsteps.
Park had taken interest in the patent attorney exam just after she entered Ewha. “My father was the one who handed me the information on the exam in print and urged me to take interest in it,” said Park. When she reached her last year at Ewha and found herself with an outstanding GPA, she thought of her father’s words years ago and decided to take up the challenge. She was earnest in her efforts. “I told myself I would pass it in one go, and to work with no regrets,” said Park.
The characteristics of the exam required her to study both the law and medicine. The two contrastive subjects levied a much heavier burden on her. To overcome such burdens, Park laid out her study plan monthly and made sure she followed it up to date. However, the exam was a far cry from a finger snap. “There was a time I failed the pre-exam by just one point. I even missed the second test because I had marked a different day on my calendar by accident.”
Nevertheless, frustration was too weak a tool to dislodge Park’s determination. Park tried to find small daily actions that would help her relieve stress.Park included some time in her studying schedule to work as a part-time pharmacist and to “cool off.” Studying was strictly done alone and without the help or the sometimes unnecessary distraction of a study group, but she says she purposefully made a time to mingle with her peers. “I was a close friend with a fellow student who went to the same private institution as I. We would talk out our worries and stress and encourage each other when we felt alone,” said Park. Park studied almost 12 hours a day, but made sure she always sat in a breezy, well-lit place. She would take the long way round to the library from her home to add even a few minutes to her exercise. “I also volunteered as a teacher at my church as I felt I needed to rest at least once a week,” said Park. “I would pray for the strength and courage whenever I felt doubt.”
However cliché it may be, Park says she finds the definition of studying “a fight with me,” to be the most accurate. During the three years of endless scribbling and gathering anxiety, Park says she frequently found herself driven to tears. “I believe those of us who have had experience preparing for such exams all feel similar emotions of exasperation which is more burdensome than the physical hardships,” said Park. “But I would like to emphasize as many times as I can that success comes from belief. However naïve it may seem, one must always believe that one will succeed and succeed soon.”