"Becoming a Woman Leader in the Information Era," a general studies course about Humans and Ideologies, was first offered in the second semester of the year 2004. It differs from other general studies courses as it focuses on increasing the international competitiveness of Ewha students. For about ten years, senior professors have worked designing this course to link various disciplines together. The course links psychology with actual human lives and society. Knowledge is applicable to students' everyday life.
According to Professor Hong Kee-ryung (Director of general studies course), "Through this course, students are challenged to develop their egos and find their selves. People often confuse the ego and the self, but they are clearly different. 'Self' is someone's potential and not her actual capacity. It is a gift from God that needs to be realized while 'ego' is what one refers to as 'I' in everyday life and everyday capacity."
One may question how ego can be developed and self can be realized. Professor Hong says that active behavior towards life and work, and a positive attitude towards oneself and others help develop ego. Developing one's ego is conquering the shadow between the consciousness and unconsciousness. (See diagram A) Shadow is a collection of characters that people don't like in themselves or feel ashamed of. One can conquer the shadow through overcoming complexes. Through this process, one can extend the area of the ego to overlap with the self.
Many people believe that developing the ego and realizing the self is beneficial in getting high-paying jobs. As a matter of fact, Professor Hong emphasizes that people with a poor understanding of themselves cannot be professionals in their fields. However, self-awareness is not to be pursued just for materialistic purposes. The famous psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung once said that self-awareness is important in social life. When one doesn't develop his or her ego, one would dwell in the infant state of mind. People who don't understand themselves take less responsibility for their actions and blame other people for their mistakes. This is a process of projecting their complexes on other people, which can jeopardize one's social life. A person who has acquired self-clarity has fewer complexes as she learns to understand herself.
For around ten weeks, students learn to develop their ego, find their self, and apply their knowledge in real life situations. They are also encouraged to evaluate themselves through various practices, such as group discussions and presentations. These practices help students gain confidence and motivation to work and study with purpose.
"One student was getting low grades at Ewha. However, after participating in my class, she found her motivations. As a result, she got all A pluses that semester. I was very proud. I believe when one develops her ego and realizes her self, one will truly be a happy person. The person is not a perfect being, but a whole being," Hong says.