Stagnant Water
Stagnant Water
  • Reporter Lee Sang-min
  • 승인 2011.03.23 20:57
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Among commonly known Korean proverbs, there is one which says, ‘Stagnant water is bound to go bad.’ Without any air ventilation or water flow, water in a pot is bound to corrupt. It means, figuratively speaking, that people and organizations will become stagnant or even degraded if there is no stimulation or change.

Unfortunately, many features of the social background among Postechians are enough to have us keep the proverb in mind.

Our school, POSTECH, is deficient in a broad spectrum of the backgrounds and characters of university members due to a limited diversity in majors. Also, geographical limits inhibits our members from being motivated by other members of other universities, who can supplement our shortcomings. It is more than true that Pohang is deprived of stimulation particularly for students from big cities, who account for a large portion of the total student population. Participation in school activities and following the intensive school curriculum is suitable for training the selected few, but one’s sphere of activity can be highly confined.

That is no exception for graduate students; in spite of the prime research environment and active academic communication, their private lives, which I have seen for last two years, are very much like stagnant water.

All of this can be discounted if it contributes to being successful researchers or leaders, but it is a definite fact that what we have so far disregarded takes a toll after graduation, especially in a cruel society. Even POSTECH alumni acknowledge this and requested an enhancement of education in related topics.

Two common solutions found by Postechians are to accept the situation and passively adjust themselves while growing as researchers, and the other is to escape the pot of stagnant water in any way they can. However, both are not viable because the former one is like allowing the pot to be spoiled, and the latter one seems to be distant from the objective of an advanced curriculum offered by POSTECH.

The most desirable solution for the problem is to be an exceptional researcher who keeps in contact with outer wind and water as much as possible. That is really what the school wants, and that is why the school tries to offer cultural programs and invites celebrities, incurring more costs and efforts because of the inconvenient location of Pohang. In addition, outbound education programs granted for undergraduates are superlative in size and quality.

However, in contrast to frequent criticism of students of the problem of ‘stagnant water,’ participation of students is always insufficient despite the many benefits offered by the school. Furthermore, one’s own efforts to solve his or her own communication problems are needed.

Anything is okay. It is good to make use of chances provided by the school as well as taking a step back from the heavy load of study. I only hope everyone avoids the state of being stagnated like water in a pot.