The end of 2017 is quickly approaching. As we close another year, it’s always a good time to reflect on ourselves, our lives, the goals we set for the year, and what we are thankful for. There are many reasons for giving thanks. Our main reason should be being grateful for life, no matter our situation. As students, we aim to do our best and study hard. Yet, as humans, we must look a little deeper introspectively. Let’s look at three different scenarios.
First, think of many students here in Korea who live at home with Mom and Dad, who pay for practically everything you need or want. You pay no rent, you have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a computer, television, maybe some wheels (a car), tuition paid for, dorm fees paid (if you don’t live in Jeonju), and an allowance for your spending money. All you need to do is study and get as good of grades as you possibly can. If you are in this situation, consider yourselves blessed and fortunate. You are privileged.
Next, some of us are put in situations where we are expected to grow up and assume responsibilities at home. Imagine living completely on your own -- working, earning, paying rent, and assuming responsibilities for bills, including your tuition, books, food, electricity, your phone, cable, internet, and more. No, that is not easy, nor fun. But it is your reality and you are facing it head on. Life is manageable.
Finally, visualize this: in more than a hundred countries around the world, there are students your age who would jump at the chance to attend university, to study and earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They would love to have the same opportunities you are fortunate to have. In some families, no one works. Many children don’t attend school. Instead, they roam the streets walking in-between cars, knocking on windows, begging for money, or they watch people’s cars and help them reverse out of their parking stall, waiting for a tip. A few tips a day pays for their meager lunch of some corn-on-the-cob, or a piece of chicken and a small plastic bag of something to drink. At the end of the day, they look for a cardboard box to flatten and lay down on to sleep. This is a look at the life of a poor person and the reality for thousands of youths in all corners of the globe: Southeast Asia, Asia, Central Asia, the Far East, Northern, Central and Southern Africa, South, Central and some parts of North America.
In all these situations, people live, days and years pass, and they get through all kinds of experiences, good and bad, with or without money. A positive side to any situation can be found, though it may take time. Finding what is positive in a negative situation could be, for example, being at the right place at the right time; being protected from injury or illness. There is a common thread in human life: gratefulness for what is. We have what we are given, so we need to just smile and be thankful, looking at what we found to be positive about our circumstances. There is always hope for things to be better. Consider what it is you are thankful for at this point in your life.