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Hwaam: A Friendly Reminder
[ Issue 125 Page 7 ] Monday, October 21, 2013, 15:26:38 Kibum Park parkkibs@kaist.ac.kr
Every time I tell people I live in the Hwaam dormitory, they either give me a look of pity or laugh really hard.  Hwaam is not exactly optimal: I need to take a bus everyday to get to class, I am limited in what I can eat for my meals, and I am stuck in a pretty isolated area of Daejeon. Despite all the disadvantages however, I still live quite comfortably. In fact, I will go one step further to say that living in Hwaam became an overall plus in my life. As I was adjusting to Hwaam, some thoughts popped up in my head. Most of them were not world-changing epiphanies but rather, friendly reminders that helped my life a little – little habits we should all keep in mind.
Small does not mean simple
I got assigned to Hwaam merely because I forgot to double check: I forgot to pay the fee and thus, I got assigned to Hwaam. It was not even that hard to do, and it was stupid of me to forget something so quick and yet, so important. All I needed to do was go to an automated teller machine (more commonly known as ATM), punch in some numbers, and I would have been done. Similarly, some tasks in our lives seem quite simple, but are never fulfilled or sometimes even forgotten. “I am going to exercise 15 minutes a day,” “I am going to finish my homework on time,” and “I am going to eat less sugar.” - all of these seem easy, but we never double check to see if we are motivated or even remember to fulfill these promises. Stress then builds up about how we keep forgetting to do them and then it becomes a jumbled mess. Think again and make sure you actually have the desire to carry these out, no matter how “simple” it seems.
Hearing is one thing, knowing is another
When I was getting ready to move to Hwaam, I dreaded of having to wake up early to go to class, walk 20 minutes just to go to a convenience store, and just being so far away from my friends. But that is what I assumed based on what I heard from others. Yes, the problems mentioned were there, but was it the pitiful dorm that was the problem as everyone assumed it was? Absolutely not. In fact, Hwaam has some features that in-campus dorms do not have, like a bathroom in each room, quiet halls, and even an elevator. In our lives, we talk and complain about elementary courses, like calculus or linear algebra, but they are really there to help people with their majors. The Happy College Life seminars did not exactly have a praise-worthy reputation, but it still did its job by introducing tips, advice, and people to our lives. Be sure to not just listen and accept it as truth: go deeper and find out what it is really about.
Time is precious
I usually spend an hour or two of every weekday sitting on the bus. Going back home to sleep, attending classes, even meeting with friends, I have to wait for the bus and then wait on the bus. For my evening classes and my Herald meetings, I would pray that they end at least five minutes before my bus comes; otherwise, I would have to waste another hour just to catch the bus. I cannot squander time. It is a precious commodity and the constant trekking made me realize its value. 15 minutes of Facebook is 15 you are not going to have for homework. That three hour nap will not feel refreshing when you remember you have a test coming up. Treat that time you have like gold. Just because you have it does not mean you should waste it.
Silence is weird but necessary
Since the population of Hwaam is quite minute, it is really quiet. I had mixed feelings towards this. There were a lot of times when I needed to be alone, but there were also times I wish I had someone to talk to face-to-face. The effects of being a mere few miles away from my friends were really noticeable after just a few days. I could not eat meals with them, I could not talk about what happened in class, and the times I could, I had to leave early. But there was balance. There were moments of great peace and moments of longing. It soothed my nerves to be able to hear my thoughts, but it also helped me realize how important being with friends really is. Most of you have social interaction down, but sometimes, you should take a moment to seek out a really quiet time and place (and no, your room does not count). Take the time to listen to the one person you might have ignored the most: yourself. You will be able to see what you want to do and what you should do.
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