Chaek-jaeng-yi shares words on passion and dreams on campuses
Chaek-jaeng-yi shares words on passion and dreams on campuses
  • Chung Che-yoon
  • 승인 2012.10.12 13:01
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Kim Jong-oh gives lectures in various universities on the topic of pursuing one’s dream. Photo provided by Kim Jong-oh.

“Is he dumb or something?” Harsh words from a classmate pierced the young teenager’s heart as he struggled to read a passage aloud in class. This is one of the traumatic experiences that the boy, eventually known as Chaek-jaeng-yi—a Korean nickname for a book-lover—shares with his audience whenever he gives a lecture.
Kim Jong-oh (Jeju National University, 4), who calls himself Chaek-jaeng-yi, is well-known for his lectures at numerous universities, where he shares his passion and thoughts with other students.
“Being a student myself, I believe I understand the concerns and conflicts of youth better than older adults do,” Kim said.
Among university students, Kim has already gained a reputation as a life mentor. He writes columns for students on popular Internet communities like OutCampus and SpecUp. He is also a well-known blogger who posts book reviews and information on giving presentations. Kim calls himself a VIP, by which he means “Valuable Information Presenter,” for he enjoys sharing important information with others.
Surprisingly, Kim used to be a shy and quiet introvert who even avoided reading and speak, and he was like this from elementary school until early adulthood. Only during military service did he start to change.
“During my military service, I spent most of the time reflecting on my future, and I realized that I love to see people become successful,” Kim said. “I thought that if I could be a ‘presenter,’ I could easily influence more people to succeed by sharing valuable information with them.”
As soon as Kim figured out what he wanted to do, he started reading books to gain knowledge and learn new perspectives. This was not easy since he was in the military, and people there did not like to see him reading.  Kim’s seniors even sometimes beat him just because they saw him reading books. Finally, he succeeded in reading more than 150 books a year, far beyond the goal of 100  books that he had set. After that accomplishment, he started calling himself Chaek-jaeng-yi.
Life had never been easy for Kim. His parents got divorced during his high school years, which left him emotionally fragile. He felt lost and spent his time aimlessly. Geographical location also contributed to his sense of isolation. As most of the extracurricular activities that he wanted to participate in were concentrated in Seoul, he had to pay exorbitant amounts of money just on transportation fees.
But a shift in his way of thinking rescued Kim. In high school, when a friend cheated on a test by copying his answers and scored the highest in class, this ironically helped Kim realize that he could actually make some difference to other people.
“From that time on, I tried to look at things positively,” Kim said. “The hardships I went through made me stronger.”
Kim explained that he was able to overcome his difficulties through passion for work. Kim said he normally sleeps only about three to four hours each night to ensure more time awake for working and learning.
“To overcome obstacles, people have to act differently by putting in more effort to achieve their goals,” Kim said. “I started trying to sleep as little as I could because I knew that somebody else would be working while I slept. I believe that the world is fair and gives more opportunities to those who try harder.”
Kim recalls one of his proud moments after giving lectures in various universities.
“I remember one student’s letter thanking me for helping her to find her lifelong dream again,” Kim said.
The student wrote that after she attended one of Kim’s lectures, she was motivated to overcome her circumstances and encouraged to seek her own path.
“She wanted to become a singer, but her parents and other external factors impeded her from her dream,” Kim said.
Kim wants university students to live life based on a plan, for all of Kim’s own achievements were gained this way, so he encourages them to write down the things that they want to achieve and devise plans to make them come true.
“For me, the process of reaching for the goal is much more valuable than the goal itself,” Kim said. “I gained invaluable experience through struggling to accomplish my dream of becoming a lecturer. Pursuing one’s dream is like finding one’s happiest moment, which is the most important thing to remember in one’s life.”

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