POSTECH Microscope: Cafeteria
POSTECH Microscope: Cafeteria
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  • 승인 2018.03.07 13:16
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▲Five staffs working at Jigok Community Center Cafeteria
▲Five staffs working at Jigok Community Center Cafeteria

Sunlight filtered through the windows of the Jigok Community Center in the late afternoon. There, in the school cafeteria, some of the staffs were resting, after the wave of hungry students looking for lunch.

“Are there any memorable episodes during work?”

“Oh, and this is something a bit old. Were you there? On Parents’ Day, the students used to hang carnations on our chests. That was very emotional. Even though the students didn’t hang them directly on our chests, they gave us carnations at the entrance, here at the cafeteria, and up there, at the snack bar. In my case, at that time, one of the students directly clipped a carnation on my chest. She must have liked me so much. Her hands were shaking when she pinned the flower on my clothes. It was an overwhelming experience. It made me so happy.”

“Oh wow. It’s so wonderful. But I’m afraid I never heard of the event…”

“Well, they stopped doing the event a few years ago. It seems like you weren’t even in college when they did that. And let’s see… what else? Oh, and some professors, when they are awarded for their research, they remember us working mothers, and hands out the prize money for us. Even though it’s not that much, we are so grateful. Yes, it can get hard working here sometimes, but those things. Those things that touch our hearts directly. It helps us a lot. Knowing our names and writing our names down.”

“So, what you’re saying is that the professors don’t give us only the money, but somehow, they found out our names, and wrote a letter to each of us, with our names on. One by one. I am so touched.”

“What is good about working here, in the cafeteria? Or perhaps, POSTECH?”

“Well, the students here are very nice. Whenever they come to eat, they say hello to us with smiles on their faces. They thank us for their meal. It’s so lovely, to see all that. Oh, and also, the Jigok Community Center has a great view, with the pond and so, as you can see. I love that. It makes my feeling during my way to work lighter. The atmosphere here is great. Also, it’s not a common experience to meet foreigners, right? But if you work here, you have plenty, selling meals. It’s great. There are a lot of foreign students. They look like professors, but a lot of times, they turn out to be students. They stay in Korea, and when his wife gives birth to their child, it seems like they can invite his family to where he is staying. So, he takes his family to the cafeteria, and tells me, that this is his child, and this is his wife. It’s so lovely, seeing a family altogether.”

“You’re right. Families can often be seen in the cafeteria, which is a pretty rare sight.”

“This is a good place to work, with nice students and a beautiful surrounding. There aren’t a lot of people who smoke heavily outside, so that’s also good. But when you’re working at the snack bar, some students smoke behind the ramen corner. When I open the window, to let in fresh air, the smoke drifts in instead.”

“Is there anything you want to say to our readers? To students?”

“Well, I hope that students would refrain from expressing affection to their lovers when they are making their order. Korean and foreign students both. Well, we are all mothers. Of course, we understand it, but it’s embarrassing, seeing somebody kiss right in front of you. I hope students would refrain.”

“And this is perhaps a broad request, but personally, I hope that one day, somebody in POSTECH might receive a Nobel Prize. Why, you know there’s a blank space there for the future scientists of Korea over there between the science buildings. Well, when I see that space empty, it kind of makes me sad.”

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