Per angusta ad augusta. This is Latin for “through difficulties to greatness,” or “through rough ravines to hallowed heights.” It is not possible to achieve great results without suffering by squeezing through narrow spaces. Having this maxim engraved in one’s heart will help the individual overcome times of hardship.
The current atmosphere at KAIST is disheartening due to the passing of four students and a professor who were all dear to the KAIST community. The current period for KAIST can be perceived as the downturn of a sine graph. Everything has the capacity for periods of ups and downs over time, just like a sine graph. Therefore it is likely that after this period of difficulty, the graph will turn back up and the future will become brighter. Therefore concerning the current school atmosphere, everyone should endeavor to keep up a positive spirit rather than be swept away by a tide of sadness.
Per angusta ad augusta should also be applied to exams and compulsory courses. Often for students, the biggest difficulty they face during a course is exams. On the surface, the main purpose of exams seems to be simply to add stress to students while forcing of the increase of competition to deprive the students of the joyful aspects of education. However, if students think of exams as hurdles that must be leapt over to achieve their goals, they may be able to observe a more positive side of exams. Although the exams are stressful, they can help students measure their own abilities and identify their weaknesses in a topic being studied. Therefore through difficult paths, people can reach a state of self-realization and improve themselves at the same time, so the students should always think about where these roads with irritating obstacles lead to before despairing or giving up.
Another issue KAIST students have is the question of why they must take certain courses if the contents taught are not directly associated with the students’ respective majors. For example a student may question, “Why must I take Humanities and Biology courses? I do not seem to need to know economics nor properties of living cells to design aircrafts. Therefore isn’t taking these extra courses an unnecessary waste of?” It is true that from one point of view the contents of the non-major courses are irrelevant to the students and the courses themselves are simply nuisances. On the other hand if the angle of view is slightly shifted, it is possible to notice that the courses have ulterior positive purposes.
As students graduate and take on various jobs and projects, it is likely that they will have to work together with people from other departments. Most large-scale projects depend on the extent of confluence between diverse ranges of areas. Therefore having some background knowledge of the areas outside their own expertise may be beneficial in establishing a successful symbiotic relationship between the researchers. In addition, learning Humanitarian subjects can expand students’ pool of general knowledge, which may assist in broadening their perspectives of the world around them. In the short term it may seem like some paths chosen are a jungle of uncertain ravines which can only be painfully tread upon. However, students should keep in mind that in the long run these very paths could be leading towards an ultimate transcendental destination.
It is true that people can choose not to walk the difficult path in order to avoid hardship. Everyone has the freedom to choose, and no choice is “wrong” as every path leads to a destination. However choices lead to a combination of both gains and losses. In other words, there is an opportunity cost to every decision. Therefore, “correct” judgment is the choice that allows one to gain the most, relative to the opportunity cost. Consequently, if the outcome is worth it, one should ask himself, isn’t it worth enduring the hardship? Per angusta ad augusta.