저작권자 © Ewha Voice 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” This famous quote by Mother Theresa emphasizes the value of having someone in our lives. It is easy to confuse the concept of “solitude” with “loneliness.” I was no exception to this phenomenon. Attending an international school for seven years, I never ate lunch or walk to classes alone. I rather waited for my friends even though it made me starve to death or late for class. At that time, I was devoured by the fear of being alone and strongly believed that it was something to be ashamed of. All of these false obsessions started to change after I stepped into the world of Ewha. Students studying or eating by themselves seemed to be so free of other’s judgments. Ewha taught me an invaluable lesson: the importance of solitude. I slowly began to try out for various acts, such as going to the movies alone or eating by myself. It did not take me a long time to realize that everything I believed in the past was a worthless delusion. This is not solely based on obvious and simple advantages of solitude such as having free choices on everything. Rather, I could face my “true” self when I do not have anybody around. I still vividly remember the day when I visited Seoul Zoo alone. I went there numerous times with my family during childhood. It was a spontaneous decision on one idle Saturday. I thought it would be a new experience going to the place where I used to visit as a child after I became an adult. Even though the zoo was crowded with parents and young children, I felt peaceful as ever. If I had gone there with my friends, I would have spent time laughing about next to playful monkeys or sleepy lions. However, it was the children that captivated me that day. Their cheerful voices and happy faces reminded me of my carefree childhood, when I had nothing to worry about. I felt as if the time I spent at the zoo purified my burdensome everyday life. I came back home satisified, and then realized the merits of solitude. What I learned in Ewha is that spending time by oneself makes us a whole different person. Be afraid of being lonely, but don’t be afraid of being alone.