Life has always been filled with numerous surprises. Sometimes, the little things that we take for granted are the things that matter the most. Like any other individual, I am one of those people who give importance to detail. Every time when I open my wallet, a little tiny picture never fails to attract my attention. Four people are in it-my parents, my younger sister, and I. If I remember it correctly, I was twenty five years old and have just been discharged from the military service when the said photo was taken.
That was also the time when I was planning to move to the United States to continue my education. Relocating to another land and being far away from the family would become difficult, and the picture would become my only memory with them while I was away. The said picture also served as my inspiration whenever I was in doubt and feeling hopeless; and I would be reminded that everything would turn out alright. It was also the very picture that made me nostalgic about the particular period in time that forever changed the course of my life. 2 I am originally from Korea, making me Korean.
In our country, every man is obliged to indulge in two years of military service. At twenty two, I was still a university student and relied for the care and support of my parents. All my life, they have always been there for me attending to my needs and desires in life. However, they wanted me to become independent and learn to stand on my own two legs. I though about it and realized that entering the military would help me to fulfill this wish. The service would help me to improve myself and become an independent individual ready to serve my country.
More importantly, it became the opportunity for me to delay time and weigh my options before I graduated from college. 3On February 2003, I decided to put my education on hold and enter the military service. This decision allowed me to see that I was no longer interested in my intended major, which was Environment Science. I realized that the course was becoming more popular in our country, making it more difficult for me to acquire a job in the said field after graduation. In addition to this, I became confused about my future, for the economic outlook in my country was becoming hazy.
Certain situations have backed up my decision, making me tremble and think about my future further. I had to carefully whey my options, at the same time be prepared for what the future has in store for me. So I decided that it was just but proper for me to do military service for the next two years. 4Being involved in the military service meant that I had to be away from my family. It was the first time in my life that I had to survive on my own, and without the help of my parents. This instance allowed me to further think about the life that I was about to live.
I wanted to try new experiences that can help me improve myself and become a better individual. During these times of ordeal, my parents advised me to indulge in alternative service rather than join the army. Most people would opt to join the army, but I decided that it was better for me to take the alternative service; in this case was join the police. My parents and I agreed that entering the service would come to my advantage and help me to become successful in the future. The two years I spent at the Department of Police was a very useful experience.
Compared to being in the army and battling out in wars, my work was similar to that of office work. I also experienced stress from time to time, but I clearly understood that social life is also part of the military service. Furthermore, I realized that aside from my numerous experiences in the service, I had to expand my intellectual horizon further in order to become an important person in society after I have finished my military service. 5Two years have passed, and I was finally discharged from military service. However, I felt that something else was missing.
Serving the military for two years was not enough for me to become fulfilled in life. It was as if my purpose in life was not completely over. Then I began to realize that military service was not enough for me to expand my intellectual horizon. Although the rigorous trainings in the military have turned me into a manly figure, I felt that I was still an immature young man with a superficial view of everything. I struggled to help myself by going out and expanding my horizons, but still I failed. I pondered on my life and began to ask for the assistance of my parents.
I felt that it was necessary for me to study abroad and see beyond what is being laid in front of me. I convinced them that I want to find my purpose in life by studying in another country, and that I would be back in Korea sooner than expected. They agreed, and so I packed my bags and moved to the United States. So goes the rest of my story. 6As I look back on the decisions that I made in the past, I cannot help but feel proud about myself. For the first time, I was able to prove to myself that I could leave the shadow of my parents and stand up for my self.
I felt that moving to the United States was a fairly brave decision, for not all people would have the guts to move to a different country to enhance their education. Adjusting to a world that was far different from what I was accustomed to became difficult at first. My English vocabulary was limited, and I did not know enough people in the country. Unfortunately I received news that my father has left the company he has been working for due to the depleting economy, and has decided to open his own business instead.
For that time being, I had to find ways to support myself for that would mean that my father would have difficulty sending financial aid during my stay in the United States. I was being emotionally challenged, for I could feel the heartache that my family, especially my father was having at that particular time. He had difficulty sleeping, and would stay up even after midnight smoking cigarette one after the other completely consumed by his thoughts. Eventually my parents talked me into moving to the United States.
I saw through their eyes, and I felt that they were not yet ready for such brave move, with my mother trying to hide her fears. Again, I felt sorry for my parents and the condition that my family may go through. However, I began to remember the days when my parents would talk to me about seeking a better life, and supporting me when I decided to study abroad. 7I am currently a college student studying in the United States, fulfilling my dreams of someday becoming a successful individual. I am also a young Korean man who has finished mandatory military service for two years in my country.
The two years that I have spent in the service were the hardest in my life, although these experiences have contributed into who I am today. Time has passed and it has been three years since I left my home country. Still, I cannot forget the good times and bad times I spent with my family in Korea. The distance also allowed me to appreciate my parents more, and learn that life is short. I would forever be thankful for the opportunity that my parents have given me, especially in my quest for further knowledge in an unknown land.
Seeing the world in a different light may seem difficult for many, but I believe that now is my chance to shine and plan for my future. I know that studying in the United States would not be easy, and when this happens I would think about the difficult times I spent in the military. Doing so would make me believe in myself and in my capacities. Now, I believe that I am ready in all aspects. I have this unstoppable thirst for learning new and exciting ideas. I believe that completing my education in the Untied States would become a cool cup of water that will soothe the many years of thirst.