Are You Guys Really Working Hard, or Hardly Working?
Are You Guys Really Working Hard, or Hardly Working?
  • Professor Cho Dongwan/ Divisio
  • 승인 2015.06.03 11:50
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This time of the year, it is very common to see students falling asleep in class. The situation is understandable since POSTECH students do not have much interest in learning English, which in many cases requires boring, repetitive memorization and considerable time and effort to reach a high level of proficiency. The lack of interest in English, however, appears not to be enough to explain why students doze or try to take a nap during my energetic, enthusiastic lecture. Rather, it seems like many of them suffer from insufficient sleep as they do a lot of activities which are not directly related to their study. When it comes to freshmen, my guess is definitely confirmed as they practiced dancing several hours a day prior to the spring festival to participate in the department dance battles. Juniors and seniors are no exception. The Log Cabin and bars at Hyoja market are usually full of POSTECH students even late at night, forcing them to come back to their dorm rooms early in the morning and eventually leading to sleep deprivation. It is no doubt that playing games until dawn is another culprit for the insufficient sleep of POSTECH students.
  Lack of sleep and an unreasonable amount of time wasted on extracurricular activities have led students to limit studying to only about 20 hours a week. In surveys conducted several years ago, POSTECH students were reported to invest 23.07 hours a week in their study in 2006, and 20.52 hours in 2009. Since there is no up-to-date data available, it is difficult to tell exactly how many hours per week POSTECH students study thesedays. My observation would say that they study less than 20 hours a week, which is well reflected in the low motivation to study, and general lethargic attitude observed in my class. Then you may claim that this amount of time is the highest among universities in Korea. However, what about world-class universities in other countries? Sometimes the truth hurts: Harvard undergraduates, for example, spend 49 hours a week involved in academics, including class, work, and study. Then again you may argue that the 49 hours include class time and work. Even in that case,  I can say they spend around 35 hours studying, not including class hours. Another notable difference is the high drop-out rate of universities in western countries. To take an example, about 30 percent of newly admitted students at the University of British Columbia, a prestigious university in Canada, leave school within two years, mostly due to the pressure from working and studying. In contrast, only about 2% of POSTECH students fail out or leave in their first two years. With the difference, you can easily imagine how hard students at the University of British Columbia study to survive even though we admit that admission to the university is much easier to get than that to POSTECH.
 Thus I’d like to ask you whether you’re working hard or just wasting your time doing too many extracurricular activities, drinking, or playing games. If you think you’re more inclined to the latter, then you have to remind yourself of the resolution and dreams you had upon entering POSTECH. Pondering over why you are here at POSTECH, which is located in a remote area, may also help you find out the path of life you should pursue. On the other hand, if you’re feeling stressed out due to hard work, go outside, enjoy nature, and do some exercise. Doing community services and helping others are other great ways to revitalize your body and mind, helping reduce stress and relieve depression. Meditation will also help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
People learn from history and the past. I want to wrap up this essay by quoting some part of the old famous Chinese poem, which says
“Youth gets old easily, while studying is hard to accomplish.
Do not look lightly on even one moment of your precious time.”