Hardships Freshmen Face during Orientation
Hardships Freshmen Face during Orientation
  • Reporter Jeong Yoon-han
  • 승인 2016.05.04 16:56
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Recently, freshmen college orientation in South Korea has become a national issue. There have been many issues in a number of colleges. One incident involves K University College of Physical Education collecting 380,000 KRW per person for a freshmen orientation fee, which seems much more than necessary. The college’s student union has announced the expenses: 94,000 KRW for room and board, 20,000 KRW for event costs, 6,000 KRW for snacks, 150,000 KRW for group uniform, and 110,000 KRW for student council fee. The amount itself sounds nonsense, but there is more to the story. Even non-participants of the orientation were required to pay the fees for the “smooth progress” of the program. Also, the department strictly told others that they had never made the details of the usages of the fees available to the public and would never release the details. The issue soon became publicized throughout numerous social network services, and the department council apologized and announced they would make public the details on how the fees were used.
Another system that is going on is the “X-men system.” This is a system that has been going on for a very long time at various colleges and departments. Sophomores are usually selected as “X-men” and they go on acting as freshmen. The “X-men system” starts by seniors making a group chat for freshmen, since they do not know each other before the semester. They deliberately add some undergraduate students from the same department and they go on as the X-men. “Acting” as a freshman means the X-men do exactly the same thing they have done in the past, when they were freshmen. Whether this is for fun, the system is a type of lying, and starting a lie ends up making more lies at the end. The problem is, to make “better” lies, and not to be caught, these so-called X-men started making fake SNS accounts and fake identities. The secrets are revealed usually at the last day of freshmen orientation. The purpose of the system may be to have fun, but it clearly seems that freshmen feel uncomfortable afterwards. Those who have been interviewed all felt a sense of betrayal and that this type of joke had crossed the line.
Such incidents are becoming open to the public, mostly through social network services. As student rights are becoming a hot topic recently, a lot of colleges have decided to change such activities and “traditions” to avoid conflicts and arguments that could possibly arise. Lately, the student council of K University, a different university than the one stated above, has modified their so called “Makgeolli Bowl Ceremony.” The tradition used to require freshmen to drink makgeolli until they throw up. This symbolized the cleansing of the vestiges of Japanese Imperialism and starting a new life as a college student. The tradition was revised to spitting it out instead of vomiting, keeping the focus on the significance of the event and giving less stress to freshmen.
Other colleges are also changing activities of freshmen orientation. It could take a long time to change the inappropriate traditions throughout the whole country, but it is imperative to strive for change.

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