It’s weird how you have to hit rock bottom before you discover yourself and what you wish to truly do in life. While studying abroad in Korea I thought I was studying enough… or at least that’s what it seemed since all my free time was spend on completing PowerPoints or studying for tests. However I didn’t study enough of the one thing that I needed to study for, Korean. I thought that I would be able to pick it up fast and be able to be semi fluent within a month of coming here. But I was wrong. I would always put off studying for it because there would be a big project for another class due or an assignment of some kind. The material in the Korean class was taught at a fast speed too for a beginner class. We learned the characters in one day and she never went back to them. All the tests were in Korea, even the directions. Slowly I started noticing the gap between me and the other students. Eventually I made time to study, working more than I ever had back home. But it was not enough, no matter how hard I tried I could never get higher than a D. I thought, at least I will get a D over all in the class. So for the final I started studying 4 weeks prior, yet at the same time I had to study for my microeconomics final as well. And on the day of the final I had to take my microeconomics test first. So I got to the classroom feeling as though I didn’t study enough so I did some pre cramming before the test. Then when the final was in front of me I had realized that I forgot everything I had studied. There is such a thing as studying too much that you burn out. This is what happened.
After that I had my tennis final and then my Korean Language final. But by the time that it came to my language final my brain was dead; fried. I thought I had at least done decent and would get a certificate Thursday; secretly deep inside there was this nagging feeling that I was not going to get any certificate of completion. R-day came (result day) and it was as I had predicted… I failed. It was the hardest moment ever because not only everyone in my class knew that I didn’t pass but the teacher seemed as though to be taunting me when she told me I had not passed. She kept making comments and snickering at me. Even going as far as to say I failed really loud when we were outside the classroom. More than anything it was the most embarrassing moment of my life, more embarrassing then being called in for plagiarism (turned out to be a misunderstanding). And failing the class meant I would lose my scholarship, which is the only way I can stay here for another semester. If I don’t have it then there is no way I can afford to spend any more time in Korea, it’s just too expensive.
The reason why it made me hit rock bottom is because it made me feel worthless, like I would never be able to accomplish my dream… to go to master’s school for Eastern Asian Affairs and Relations. I have been working my ass off the past two years to achieve this goal and encountered many barriers; to be pushed down into the ground again was hear wrenching.
To escape my pain I did the one thing I knew how to do, which was run and not stop till I finally calmed down. Well 7 miles later I finally realized something… my original dream was not to go to master’s school to get more money, or to join a high profile job. I wanted to learn more about Asia and the developing countries in order to help those who are not herd. Those secretly crying out for help but everyone else has given up on them. A long time ago I told myself that no matter how little I get paid, I want to help the less fortunate… because they should get what I got. As long as one person believes in you, anyone can accomplish anything.
I have this dream due to my earlier years. In 3rd grade I was put in special ed classes as a result of switching schools; they told my parents that it would help me catch up to the other students. Originally they were told that I would only be in there for one year, that one year turned to 6 years. Even though in 6th grade I tested out of the system they said it would only harm me if I was taken out, saying that I could retest after middle school. So 8th grade I tested out again only to be told that I would have to stay in another year, that I wasn’t ready to be taken out. The thing is, I had straight A’s, wanted to take more advanced courses, and knew deep down that I was smarter than the average person. I’m just a different kind of smart, my brain isn’t the status quo, I will agree with that, but I am smart when it comes to analyzing situations or assessing different outcomes to issues. Even in 8th grade, when I was about to start high school, the guidance counselors who are supposed to encourage the students to dream told me that I would never go to college because I was not smart enough. That they would not take a person from special ed and let them join their school. Laughing back now I know they were wrong. In fact, I am in two of the most difficult majors of my University, and studying abroad my sophomore year. But if I didn’t have my mother to encourage me to dream then who knows where I would be today.
But kids from undeveloped countries, and even developed countries, do not have a person in their life to tell them that they are not worthless, that there is something that they can do. Here is the ugly truth no one wants to admit because they are too smug about their own brilliance awarded by the cookie cut school system;
Not everyone thinks the same, some people are book smart and have perfect scores in high school and even college. They will go one to have normal jobs and become a perfect specimen of what to be. However not everyone can memorize words or recite dictionary definitions like a robot; and that does not make them stupid or worthless. It is no reason WHATSOEVER to give up on them like so many people do. Slapping a label early on that says, STUPID or DUMB. Just because we do not think or act like everyone else does not mean we are hollow in the heads. It just means that we think a different way.
Some people’s brains are more artistic and suitable to paint, dance, sculpt, sing, act, or even become a brilliant architect. Or others are better with thinking up scenarios of ways to solve some of the words biggest problems. God made us all different for a reason and to point out those differences and make them separate us into smart and dumb biased on whether we can memorize an equation or past presidents is IDIOTIC! The world is never going to progress with everyone being forced to think the same and those who don’t are shamed for thinking different. We are headed into a bleak existence.
I do understand that failing Korean was my own fault, I will take credit for it. But one should consider that people learn at different paces. For me, the class was moving at an incredibly fast pace, they should have been looking at our progress of learning instead of measuring our knowledge by tests.
I AM SMART! NOT STUPID!
It took me a long time to realize this. Just because I didn’t learn at the same speed as the others does not mean I am a lost cause with learning Korean. In fact I have learned a lot from the lessons, it’s just when it comes to taking a test in all Korean when my skills are still that of a beginner of course I will fail. I am not as fast as the other but once when I learn something I never forget it. I will accomplish my dream and help those who the privilege have already given up on because they are not the status quo. Instead of separating us into two packs I want to bring us into one giant one that accepts everyone for who they are and cherishes their individuality!