Every semester, the Leadership Center offers special lectures on everything from playing the saxophone to coaching and speech presentation skills. Lasting about ten weeks, these classes give the students a chance to learn something other than science and engineering-related topics during their leisure time. These classes are in no way related to students’ GPAs, and both undergraduate and graduate students can sign up for them. The KAIST Herald interviewed Hyun Sook Park, an adjunct professor at Chungnam National University (CNU), who has been running the course “Love and Marriage” since the 2010 Fall Semester. Flaunting her nickname “Three-minute Click,” this popular professor believes “mature” love is the key to acquiring happiness and also something that should be learned through experience.
Nice to meet you. Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Hyun Sook Park and I am an adjunct professor at several universities including CNU. Currently, I am teaching “Love and Marriage” every Wednesday as part of the Leadership Center’s series of special lectures for KAIST students’ leisure time.
How did you begin teaching at KAIST?
I first met KAIST students when they took courses at CNU during the summer and winter vacations. I enjoyed teaching these students and the feedback from KAIST students was so positive that I decided to bring myself to KAIST to teach. The students were very supportive of this idea, so I contacted the Leadership Center and opened this course two years ago.
How are the classes organized and conducted?
I use a variety of methods: videos, self-assessment tests, group discussions, guide to useful dating skills and couple counseling. Using these different methods is practical, useful and fun. Students can discuss and share their own stories with their classmates – how their relationship began, how long it has been and their own tips on love and dating. Sometimes students even bring in actual cases of girlfriend-boyfriend fights; this way, everyone can relate and listen as if it were their own problem.
Your nickname at other universities is “Three-minute Click.” How did you get this nickname?
When I teach at other universities, my courses fill up very quickly. I got this nickname because if the students do not “click” to register for this course within the first few minutes of the registration period, they will not be able to sign up for it.
Can you recall any unusual feedback or memorable episodes from students?
Students typically love my class since being in a relationship is a topic everyone is very interested in. Personally, the most memorable event is when I ended up marrying two of my own students on their wedding day! Many couples take my course together at CNU, and it was a very interesting experience.
Today we tend to label various types of relationships - CC (campus couple), DC (long distance couple) and more. How should we handle or react to these different types of relationships?
Regardless of the type, being in relationship itself requires a lot of commitment. A “campus couple” may seem the most ideal to some people but it requires just as much effort as others. Love has to be taken care of and looked after; only then can it turn into long-lasting love. Without responsibility from both parties, love can be broken easily. It’s a hard job.
Will this course eventually be offered at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences as an elective course?
I hope so. One thing I have been trying to do for the past couple of years is to spread word about this course among KAIST students. Currently, it is a course only offered at the Leadership Center so it is entirely for the students’ own benefit, and not for credits or letter grades. I was also very disappointed when the Leadership Center began charging students 20,000 Korean Won for this class last semester. Having to keep the class to a small size of around 25 students is a bit disappointing, especially when students do not show up to class. I will work hard to make this class be offered as an elective course for KAIST students in the future.
What is your idea of an ideal marriage?
Marriage is about respect, caring, positivity, compliments, practice, learning, conversations and continuous love between lovers. However, the most important factor of all is being able to feel happy through mature love. Through marriage, one can feel the satisfaction of a successful life that he or she may not have felt through work. Happiness, rather than achievement, is essential in marriage.
What is the main goal that you want to achieve through teaching these courses?
I want to help my students become mature individuals who are able to love in the same mature way. I desire to have my students feel truly and genuinely happy when they are married or in a relationship.
Do you have any advice for The KAIST Herald readers on marriage?
As college students, try to meet a variety of people. Dating is a part of marriage training as well as a great learning process. Being in a relationship will be a huge lesson for marriage later on in life. It is also easier to see and date different types of people when you are young. When you are older, things get complicated. So go ahead and begin dating!
Do you have any last words?
Love takes skill, technique and practice. This course will help you acquire those skills. Most of all, start dating as much as you wish while you are still young. Don’t lose your chance!