Chilly Wind of Unemployment
All the streets are already in an atmosphere of Christmas. Various kinds of trees and Santa Claus dolls are displayed in shop windows and carols ring out of the shops.
Regardless of that, however, the campus is filled with darkness and melancholy. It's hard to find smiles on the faces of students, especially soon-to-be graduates. The unprecedented low employment rate is more chillier than the early winter wind.
The difficulty of finding a job had an influence on special lectures which will be given during this coming winter vacation. Dongguk Univ. is offering some courses aimed at seniors about Information Technology that is considered important in the job market. In addition, there will be an employment lecture next semester focusing on practical information about job-hunting and will be a two-credit course.
All students are affected by the high jobless rate. They're seldom willing to join in student activities. School papers, including the Post, and clubs have difficulty in recruiting new faces. Students are locked in fierce competition with each other for good marks to gain an upper hand in getting a decent job.
This current on campus makes me look at some people who are going against the times, especially "Freeters." The June 13 issue of Newsweek explained them as follows: "Freeter is not just an employment category but a lifestyle. Freeters work only when they need cash, hang out, travel whenever possible and celebrate their rejection of their parents' old workaholic lifestyle."
Some Japanese freeters write down "freeter" in their resume, and it is recognized in Japanese society. However, Korean society looks at them as slackers, or backsoo in Korean, due to its Confucian ideology that a man should have a good job and lead a family.
I'm not suggesting that you should live like a freeter. I just have a high opinion of them for enjoying what they want to do. It could be meaningful to take a look at another lifestyle while most university students want to lead a stereotypical life. The uniformity of Korean society excluding various ways of living may have put youngsters into a spiral of unemployment.
Choi Jong-taek firstname.lastname@example.org
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