Q1) What was your dream during college, and how did it develop?
Lee: I was always more emotional than others and liked to contemplate alone. These character traits motivated me to become a teacher or helper to adolescents like me. I wanted to agonize with them and inspire them to dream big.
Since I admired dancers from a young age, I wanted to become an expert in that field. But when I found out about the behind-the-scenes effort dancers put to bloom onstage, I decided to become a stage designer who could help that stage shine brighter. Since there were no schools which taught this subject professionally, right after graduation I enrolled in the University of Arizona in the U.S. to complete an MFA in Scene Design for Performing Arts (Dance), in the department of Theatre Arts.
Q2) What was your hardest ordeal during colleges?
Lee: The one thing college taught me is "life" itself. I learned that living requires a person to persevere through tears and effort. Only then can it be sublimated to beauty.
Although now I see it as a constructive time, during my junior year I was diagnosed with acute leukemia and was told that I wouldn't make it. This was an immense transition in my life. I was at an age when all my dreams were soaring. Having to fight leukemia, and work to fulfill those dreams with the same graduate standards as others were the biggest growing pains I had to face.
These difficulties continued through graduate school, where I had to study in a new field in an unfamiliar language. There were even students who said things like, "Jee, you won't be able to finish," or "Jee, go back home." Although I didn't let them discourage me, it was a lonely journey in which I learned life's "lesson of tears."
The reason I can look back with a smile is because of all the people who constantly encouraged me. Thanks to them, I am able to live life with positive strength.
Q3) What are you doing right now, and how did you get to it?
Lee: From Spring 2002, I have been teaching at Dubai University College (DUC), United Arab Emirates (UAE), as an Instructor in the Department of Graphic Design.
I decided to give my first professional year to God and planned to serve on a missions project in UAE. However, just four days after I arrived in Dubai, I was unexpectedly connected to DUC and soon took the job of teaching there. I learned that I could help students who hadn't been exposed to art in their previous education fulfill their dreams. It was God who looked deep in my heart and led me there.
Q4) As an alumna, what would you like to say to the students here?
Lee: If you really think something is right for you, I encourage you to go for it. Invest in inner beauty rather than outer. Whatever position you hold, become a good leader. Remember, even a housewife can lead a family. Take pride in the posistion you have. I hope that each one of you will always have a positive mind, because then you will be able to face anything this world may throw at you. Last of all I wish to say, "Even a desert with no sense of direction - if I go there, it will become a road."
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