HAVE YOU ever asked yourself, “what makes me unique?” When struck with this rather simple question, many of us need a bit of time to think. And this might be natural; it is a question that demands no simple answer. At a glance, we would often give general answers to this question, as we tend not to think about its profound nature. Although certain traits may be seen as basic and common among students, the different ways they are perceived by individuals can be reasons for their uniqueness. To celebrate the uniqueness that lies in generality, The Yonsei Annals delved into the hearts of Yonseians about what makes each of them special.
Lee Soo-yeon (Sr., UIC, Comparative Lit. & Culture)
“I've thought about this question for a while. I appreciate that it was asked at this point in my life, when I'm about to leave Yonsei for good and go on to the next stage, whatever that is. The answer I eventually came up with is that I can accept contradictions and ambiguity in life without the need to realign myself accordingly and be a consistent person. I'm actually pretty inconsistent. Most times, I'm able to bat for both teams when it comes to political stances, the new Aladdin movie, or interpersonal relationships. I can juggle different viewpoints, opinions, and theories without the inner struggle, without the crash and burn. This is at times useful as a literature major. This isn't to say that I'm unbiased but rather that I house different biases and they don't fight with each other. But sometimes what makes me special also deprives me of the experience of feeling so strongly about something that it makes me rethink who I am and makes me want to fight for it. There are times when I wonder if this trait of mine is a larger indication of indifference, ignorance, or irresponsibility. Still, even as I say that, some part of me still believes there are sights that can only be seen when you're sitting on the fence.”
Choi Jin (Soph., Dept. of English Language & Lit.)
“As the old saying goes, no one is perfect. Despite the inevitability of our imperfections, it is often difficult to come to terms with the flaws within ourselves. Accepting both strengths and weaknesses defines your individuality which serves as a crucial step to be happy with what you already have; I believe that my ability to do so makes me special. I’m aware that I cannot excel in every endeavor and that there are limits to my capabilities. However, I have learned that having such self-awareness of my weaknesses helped me accept myself for who I am and protect myself from self-blame. I am not perfect but it’s fine—flaws are perfect in their imperfection.”
Lee Yu-chul (Soph., Dept. of Mech. Engin.)
“I cannot guarantee that I am unique but I strongly believe my personal motto makes me special as an individual. “Opportunities only come to those who strive for it.” Therefore, I do my best in any given situation so that in the end I would not regret not having put more effort. I am someone who believes that hard work pays off eventually, so I am not faltered by not seeing the best results immediately. Such mindset guides me to strive for excellence: being bold and adventurous while at the same time reminding myself to be humble and patient.”
Park Ye-eun (Jr., Dept. of Korean Culture)
“I have no fear of traveling alone to whichever country it might be. I've just recently started traveling around the world and so far, I’ve met the most amazing and interesting people. I could tell you for sure that meeting people gets very addictive! I've traveled with family and friends too but I realized that when travelling alone, I can use most of my time doing what I sincerely want to do. Though being alone in an unfamiliar surrounding may be frightening, there is nothing to be afraid of once you just know the ‘right’ way to travel.”
Bae Sang-ryeung (Soph., UIC, Political Science & Int. Relations)
“I think it is a hard question, because most of the qualities I believe to possess are inherent in others as well. But if I have to choose one, I think perseverance is the key driving force that defines who I am today. When I usually want to accomplish something, instead of rushing myself into action, I would set up long-term goals to progress towards the accomplishment, step by step. People often wonder how I can manage so many things at once, such as academics and debating, and they probably assume that I have the ability to spontaneously rush through everything in just a couple of days. But setting these baby steps prior to the final process really becomes helpful in both scheduling the daily routines and preventing excessive academic burden. Even without superhuman abilities or extraordinary talents, I think diligence and perseverance have really built the core foundation of my personality, my past achievements, and my future career plans which make me unique. To me, the definition of being "special" is not simply to excel over others, but to differentiate myself by believing in my potentials and values.”
Jung Jae-Hee (Jr., Dept. of Biotech)
“I think the concept of being special is very complicated. In one way, we are all humans, making us no less special than others. However, in another perspective, our very existence can make us special as we differ in some ways: all of us have unique backgrounds, undergoing various events that shape us differently into who we are today.
I think I’m special because I never give up. Starting university was a huge change for me─fullof new and unexpected events. Just like everyone else, I had to face multiple adversities that came with numerous lessons in life. Through such experiences, I have honed my skills in not being easily swayed by others. I constantly reflect on myself and my past experiences to learn and change, which makes me special as an individual.”
Han Jae-hyun (Fresh., UIC, HASS)
“I try not to be obsessed with negative feelings and try to live with all the positivity in this world. With the passion in my heart, I try to share this gift, encouraging others in their daily hardships. I aspire to become an inspirer, a true evangelist of happiness. I feel a sense of accomplishment—a powerful impression that my sharing is worthwhile—when I witness how others’ lives have changed after I have met them. Sharing positive energy is the essence of my life, and the core of what makes my life special.”
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Everyone has a unique trait—be it physical features or emotional traits, and these differences ultimately define us as individuals.
Now, it is your turn to answer the question: What makes you special?