Final Thoughts…

In mid June, I was standing in front of podium, trying not to be as nervous or insecure as possible. No matter how much I tried to “act” out and hide those conflicting feelings by physically straighten up my back and shoulders, my audience—the top elite students at Apgujung high school—were smart and keen enough to notice my anxiety (plus, I am horrible with acting in general). Then, I spitted out the first sentence, “Wow. I don’t know how I got up here but, a few weeks ago, I was a student like you who comes to class to hear someone else and still I am.”

In order to get their full attention, I had to engage them and maximize a frequency of interaction between me and my audience (it’s the lesson I learned from being a student president at my high school. Hooray!) So, I started to throw questions to them and recognized their answers one by one. Their different thoughts, perceptions, and ideas were presented as I was convincing them that there is no stupid answer but only different from one another. After breaking the ice of awkwardness (not quite to be honest), I got into the real topics (those Mr. Park suggested me to cover), such as my decision for studying abroad at age 15, my personal way of motivating myself, and why I had to choose this particular research.
Long story short, I can’t quite recall what had pushed me to insist my parents so desperately on letting me go abroad, but I remember wanting it more than anything else. Somehow, I knew intuitively that I could bloom under American education (*WINK*). After leaving my parents, I confronted all sorts of difficulties, including homesickness, which stroked me extremely hard. Initially, I did not seek for any help or advices from my host family, friends, or teachers. Then, I found myself going deeper into the swamp I was trying to escape from. Ultimately, my ego took me a longer route to realize the true power of conversation. Just by letting my concerns out to others whether they listen or not, I was greatly consoled. Ever since, my way of overcoming difficulties, motivating myself, and “living” a life became a conversation.
As I move to a bigger community, I became indescribably amazed by this simple fact: everyone is different! You may think it is a mundane fact, but, to me, it has been like a master ingredient that savors every question I raise. And the first one that I’m savoring with is my summer research on ‘How education shapes students’ perceptions of disability.’

It seems like I let out too much again. Eh hem. Back to the day I made a “speech,” I am still not sure whether my audience fully understood what I was trying to say in general because I tend to throw multiple things at once when I become nervous. I practiced my speech numerous times beforehand but I don’t know if I’d entertained them, advised them, or possibly inspired them in any ways, to be honest. However, one thing I am very sure about the talk and the summer research is that I talked with my passion. Students clapped and I bowed.

On the last note, I would like to express my great appreciation to those who advised me to walk along this path I’m walking on today—my parents, professor Dickter, my friends, and all my participants and their school advisors. Such an extraordinary opportunity through Sharpe will empower me to reach for more in the future with self-confidence.