Last February marked the fifth year of graduation after the first married students had been readmitted after Ewha scrapped its 57-year-old rule forbidding student marriages. Bidding farewell to the disappointment which they might have felt when they had to leave the school compulsorily upon marriage, more returnees proudly marched out of the front gates this year with their diplomas in one hand and flowers in the other. What kind of future are those returnees scheming out after the graduation?
“My heart pounds with excitement when I face new challenges. Studying at Ewha again has offered me a new courage to accomplish my desire— which is to remain as a student all my life,” said Hur Soon-e (Physical Education, 81). Hur is currently the head manager of D&D, an interior company, and also a newly admitted student at the
Hur displayed her gratitude to Ewha. “I always regretted not having completed my university education. I would not have wanted to live a life merely as a housewife or a mother. Therefore returning back to Ewha, which was my husband’s suggestion, meant so much more to me in that I could be simply labeled as me.”
Hur said, however, that managing her time while playing the triple role of mother, head manager, and university student—one who even obtained a scholarship for acing her classes was not easy. “I always advise my loved ones to live each day like the very beginning, just like the name of the Soju, Korean liquor brand. If you keep in mind the determination and the enthusiasm of starting all the time, there is no time left to waste and nothing to fail in. With such an attitude, I was able to manage my time wisely and do a lot of things at the same time. After pressing the button in the washing machine to do the laundry, I did the dishes with headphones plugged in my ears, so I could listen to English tapes,” said Hur.
Hur, who will continue to work as the head manager of the interior company, said that Ewha students should value their days spent at college and use them practically to prepare for their future careers. She recommended various activities like internships, part time jobs, and field experiences to help students discover the vocation which might be worth all their efforts, and ultimately their lifetime.
Hwang Young-mi (Ceramic Arts, 69) unfolded her story of the moment she first encountered the news that the marriage regulation was abolished. “I rushed to the admissions office at Ewha with slippers on my bare feet the very moment I found out that I could reenter my old school. Shortly after, I had to return home because the office required me to bring several documents, but I still remember that day when I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Hwang’s life back at school was more exciting than anything she had imagined. At first, she felt uneasy and ashamed studying with students who were almost 30 years younger than her, but the special characteristics of the Ceramic Arts major, which made students to literally live at school sometimes, closed the gap between her and the other students based on their time spent together.
“Since all the instruments like kilns and potter’s wheels were furnished only at school, we had to work late into the night in order to meet the deadlines for projects. That’s when I discovered my other talent—which is to say jumping over walls and locked fences. My young friends pushed me up to help me climb the front gate and, when it was already dawn, we slept together on the long benches in the school workplace,” Hwang said, bursting into giggles.
Hwang said that she cannot yet fully realize that she has graduated since those days of ignoring traffic signals to get school in time for chapel and overcooking rice for dinner while thinking about her ceramics designs all still seem to be so real. However, she does not plan to lead an idle life of dreams but is designing practical schemes to make use of the pottery making skills she acquired at Ewha.
“Ewha has opened a door for me to dissolve the deepest regret in my heart—dropping out of university. I feel like I have become capable of overcoming every trouble in life after having completed my studies, despite a gap of 30 years. My family has lately built a house in the countryside and I am furnishing instruments one by one to make my one workshop. Step by step, I hope to stuff the whole space with my masterpieces,” Hwang said.