From a Chief Reporter to A Medical Student
From a Chief Reporter to A Medical Student
  • 한정수 기자
  • 승인 2007.03.02 00:00
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She seems like a person who has gone through many ups and downs, who constantly challenges herself because she feels that something is missing, is not afraid of taking on new changes, and in the end has realized her dream. Her hues constantly change, yet she remains the same person with the same dream-only the dream continues to get fuller and more complete. Observing her stunning vividness of life, she is a woman whom everyone should desire to emulate.

Although people are startled by the bold turnover I have made at the  age of 41, reminiscing back through my life, I discover that the direction of my life was always set solely on one thing--living for the others, said Lee Young-ee (86, English Literature), while unfolding her story of how she had become the oldest student admitted to the newly opened Graduate School of Medicine in Ewha Womans University this year She recalls her childhood years of playing in the sewing factory owned by her father. Even in her then childish mind, she says that she had always wondered at the greatly differing circumstances between her and the laboriously working-class in the factory. Discovering the inherent social gap between people, she could not help being inspired to set her goal of life in living for the good of others.

During her college years, Lee was a member of the YWCA (Young Womens Christian Association) and did voluntary works for mentally-handicapped children out of her enthusiasm to reform the adverse living conditions of the socially weak. Then came her crestfallen slump. She explains, I began to fall into a depression as I visited the mentally-handicapped children more often. Without the slightest dount, they enjoyed my company and had fun playing with me, but I started to become suspicious whether I was being a real fundamental help to those children since their eventual living environment can only be improved by actual reform of the contemporary system

As a result, Lee ardently entered the Dong-ah Ilbo newspaper company as a reporter, cherishing her ambition to change the social atmosphere and ultimately the system with the power of the pen. She wrote articles that advocated for the improvement of the living conditions of the weak. But then one morning she woke up to find herself asking, Am I living the life I earnestly desired? Am I not delaying the real important things because I have become so busy getting by the imminent routine works?

She gained further inspiration in the year 2000 when she was working as a Tokyo correspondent. Having seen wealthy Japanese being  concerned about people in poverty, she again realized that her writing along of articles was somewhat limited and insufficient to be of fundamental help to those people who are desperate to survive a single day. She diligently continued to search for a course that might be a real help to the poor people and at the same time give her a sense of achievement but it was only in 2005 that she had finally found her destination.

When Lee traveled to Nepal in order to report on a voluntary medical service, a decisive event occurred that influenced her to resign from her chief position at Dong-ah Ilbo. We were climbing the mountain just when an emergency situation arose. A Nepalese kid had accidentally broken his arm and was crying from the pain. But then a doctor in our team promptly approached and speedily worked to relieve the pain of the child. That night in front of the sparkling flames of the camp fire, I decided to study to be a doctor who can readily help people in need in any emergency circumstance. says Lee.

When asked about the reaction of others regarding her decision to quit her stable work position and start studying again after 20 years, she giggled. Everybody tried to stop me saying that this was too risky. They took turns to dissuade me every single minute but after hearing my determination, all of them supported me and backed me up to concentrate on studying. Had it not been for the support of my loved ones, I would never have succeeded in entering the Ewha Graduate School of Medicine, adds Lee.

She anticipates receiving a medical license, but is rethinking whether or not to become a specialist. Lee said that she wants to work in a Non-Governmental Organization or a local public health center after graduation. This is due to her belief that effective help for the poor people living in the remote countryside involves basic medical services, not complex surgical procedures that can only be conducted by a medical specialist. Furthermore, she ambitiously plans to build a network among skillful doctors so that she can promptly provide connections to poor and underprivileged people in isolated areas.

Based on her own experience in dramatically changing her lifes course later in life, Lee enthusiastically encourages the Ewhaians to become adventurous. Do not fear failure, my dear alumnae of Ewha. In modern society, the span of life has surprisingly been enlarged and you face no need of engaging in one single vocation throughout your entire life. Think carefully by stages but embody your plan with no fearful anxiety that you might fail irrecoverably. You can always switchover your course and start again with bright prospects, Lee concluded with a bright smile on her face, which reflected the firm faith and determination to fulfill her destiny.


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