Passion Really Does Pay Off

When I walked into my second class today, instantly I could feel the carefully cultivated positivity being sucked out of me. There was something about this freshmen girl’s class that just wasn’t right. The usual chatter that preceded every other girls’ class was missing. There was something negative in there.

Rather than succumb to it, I tried something new that I have been doing lately. When a class is in a rather bad mood, I try to be as positive as possible to sway the balance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. So I continued with the lesson about self motivation, which was entitled “How to be a Genius” because genius is a word they are very familiar with. The results were trivial at first, then slowed down toward the end like a car running out of gas. When I had finished the lesson there were probably only seven girls actually listening, seven sleeping, and the other ten with blank looks on their faces. I was disheartened to say the least, so I decided to be honest with them.

“Do you know that I only have four more months with you here? In four months, I will leave Korea and probably never see you again!” A few of the blank faces shifted. “I know, you’re life is not fair! You work too hard, and you are expected to know what you want to do in life right now and you are still so young! I didn’t know what I actually wanted to do until I came here and I am 24 years old!” There were no blank faces anymore. “In the time I have left, I want to help you as much as I can. So, I am going to teach you everything I know. Hopefully, something will help you choose your path in life… If you don’t want to listen, that’s you’re choice. I can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself.”

After my CoTeacher Nora finished translating, there was a long silence. I sat down on a chair in front, facing the class, rested my chin on my hand and stared back at them with the same blank face they had given me. You see, in Korea, high school is by far the most stressful time in a person’s life. These days, students spend upwards of twelve hours a day at school, and sometimes even on Saturdays. They spend all that time studying for their SAT equivalent test, the SooNung. Korea takes this test so seriously, that on the day of examination, planes are not allowed to fly during school hours so as not to disturb the children. The score then determines what majors the student is allowed to choose from.  Those majors in turn decide what universities they are allowed to apply to. And literally their ENTIRE LIFE depends on what university they get into. So, most of them are forced to decide what they want to do in life at the age of… 14? 15? 17?

The bell rang and I simply waved goodbye. Slowly they shuffled their way out of the classroom. After all of them had left, I had started cleaning up and pushing chairs in when one of the girls, who had been listening the whole time, came back into the room. Even before she spoke I could feel the determination behind her words. Her grammar wasn’t very good but I could tell what she meant simply by the order of her words. If her English were perfect, what she said would have gone a little like this:

“Teacher, I want to say thank you. Before today, I chose a dream just because when I was growing up, adults always told me I had to know my dream. But now, I know that it’s okay if I don’t know what I want to do. If I don’t get into the best university in Korea, that’s okay. Now I know that what I learn is more important that where I learn it.”

Then, she did something that is very strange in Korean culture… She reached out and gave me a quick, awkward hug, as if she had never given one before, and walked away. As soon as she had turned the corner to leave, tears welled up in my eyes… I leaned my head against the nearest wall and cried tears of joy.

4 thoughts on “Passion Really Does Pay Off

  1. The Importance of Love by Leyla Ergun.

    Love is a strong feeling of affection for yourself and others, your environment and the world.

    Love is a positive emotional state causing peace and happiness within a person’s heart and mind and promotes good health.

    Actions driven by love are always good and true, that is why love is very important for everyone and everything.

    Love can make us want to sing, dance, smile, and shed tears of joy, help others and so much more.

    Love is a powerful and good emotion that everyone needs to feel. The love from one person can affect the lives of many others and can arouse the presence of love in others.

    Love can be awakened and accessed through our senses such as: sight, touch, sound, or through a person’s presence, known as their aura.

    Love lifts a person’s spirits and can change a person’s mood from sadness to happiness; it elevates people to carry on.

    All human beings and animals have the capacity to love and feel love; we are all beings of love: to give and to receive love.

    Love can be perfect or it can be ordinary, it is vast. When love is perfect, your heart and mind become one, and consumed with love.

    When Love is perfect, it is the ultimate experience of Love, which is a state of purity within oneself, and is reflected in the purity of our body, heart, and mind. When all three are consumed with love, one’s definition of right and wrong becomes naturally heightened and defined, and this helps everyone to make the right choices and decisions throughout their lives.

    It is the Love all people have inside, which helps bring people together, and is vital in forming long-term healthy relationships with people in society.

    When we feel love, it inspires us to care; and that is the meaning and the experience of life.

    Love is a feeling that needs to be protected in order to stay true, strong and well defined.

    To protect its integrity: the purer the love, the superior the good knowledge born from it; giving greater benefits for all.

    Love is an essential part of all of us to help live our lives well, as it regulates the emotional state of our body and keeps the body in balance.

    Love is a crucial part of our existence; it is what all people want to feel on a subconscious level. When the subconscious merges with the conscious then the gift of love can be fully appreciated and understood.

    It is not uncommon for love to sometimes get confused and mixed up with other feelings such as lust, which can make the experience of love an emotionally painful, regrettable and empty one in some cases, but purification is the cure for such instances, and will put a person back on the clear path to love.

    For further reading, a good book that talks about love is The Reason by Leyla Ergun.

    Love on

  2. The best feeling in the world is when you make a connection, especially heart to heart. She will remember you for the rest of her life as i do the person who spoke to my class when i was in high school

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