1. Pursue dreams that you truly love and enjoy. Reconsider and defy conventional wisdom. Remember, “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me,” is the most common regret people say aloud on their deathbed.
2. Fail spectacularly. Do not be afraid of failure. “There are a few things more liberating in this life than realizing your worst fear. It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. If you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention (Conan O’Brien’s 2011 Dartmouth College Commencement Address).”
3. Fall helplessly in love, and do not hesitate to express your feelings. “My love for you is the love that moves the sun and all the other stars (Dante, Paradiso).” Then have your heart broken, and get over it. This is the best way to discover your true self.
4. Get reasonably drunk and visit all the great galleries in Seoul. In other words, enjoy life while you can.
5. Cultivate empathy. Read a lot of liberal arts books.
6. Make a difference in someone’s life. Get involved in the community that you are a part of or an organization you believe in.
7. Study in groups. Motivate your classmates to study. Be an active participant in team projects. Learn to be a great follower, leader, and team player.
8. Make friends from various socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. They will enrich your intellectual capacity and encourage personal growth. Explore new ideas, open doors to unfamiliar viewpoints, and allow your friends challenge your most cherished beliefs.
9. Build a network for your future career. While women are catching up with men in educational attainment, the gender gap has not narrowed in terms of employment rates and promotion to managerial posts. Meet with your professors when you need help. Find your mentor. Visit the workplaces where you want to work. Do not limit your network to only famous or successful people.
10. Last but not least, never forget that you have something infinitely valuable to offer this world that is full of extraordinary difficulties, such as climate change, global financial crisis, enduring poverty, and threats of war. Think of what Ewha has already done to your sunbae. When female education was generally a subject of ridicule, Ewha urged students to become doctors, lawyers, scientists and produced brilliant women leaders. It’s an immense privilege to attend Ewha, and you have no excuses not to make the world a better place.
* Professor Lee Joo-hee is the Chair of the Department of Sociology. She received her Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests are industrial relations in a global economy, industrial democracy, and social policy.