Growing up in Korea, my family did not have a lot of money. My father was a policeman, and was very good at his job, but we still had to struggle to make ends meet. As a result, we often made sure to never waste anything, and never take anything for granted - aspects of my personality I carry with me to this day. My father taught me the values of hard work and perseverance; I also learned patience and compassion for my fellow man from him. I also vowed to work as hard as I could to make a better life for myself, and to try the best that I could at whatever I set my mind to.
With that in mind, I moved to Canada in my teenage years to attend high school and university; I found myself fitting in quite well with everyone else. Learning about new cultures (American, Canadian, Japanese, French, native African, etc.) by interacting with my diverse group of classmates was a complete and utter joy, and opened my eyes to many aspects of other cultures of which I was heretofore unaware. I was even given the chance to share some of my Korean culture with them, sharing native Korean dishes and customs with them in turn. High school allowed me to gain a remarkable grasp on what the cultures of other countries are like, and my academics were fairly strong. In that time, I thought I knew what I was going to study for college - I was fairly confident that I would study math and statistics, since I thought that would be a fairly lucrative degree to have (as it applies to many computer science and accountancy occupations).
However, by the time I entered university in Canada, I was not sure what I wanted to study. The classes were extremely difficult, and I felt increasingly dissatisfied with what I wanted to do. I lost whatever passion I had for learning math and statistics within a year or two at university in Canada. To that end, I realized that I really did not know what I wanted to do. I realized I needed a change of scenery; as a result, I decided to come to Japan in order to rethink my life and career path.
As it is right now, I adore it in Japan; the cities are vibrant, the culture is impeccable, and the food reminds me of home while still giving me new kinds of experiences. Living in Japan has given me a taste of the hustle and bustle of city life, which I did not experience much of when I moved to Canada. In Canada, the pace is much slower, and expectations also seem lower - there is much less that is asked of you. However, in Japan, everything is moving so fast, and I absolutely love this incredibly high pace of living. There is always something to do, and the easy availability of new shops, new classes and new experiences has made me realize that this is also where I want to study.
Considering my applicability as a student for universities, particularly one as prestigious as Meiji University, has made me heavily contemplate my strengths and weaknesses as a student. My greatest strength is my dedication - I fully commit to whatever I set my mind to. From childhood, I have carried the same dream as I have now: to be a doctor. To that end, I attempt to manage my time as best I can to balance my studies, my life, my work and my son. Sometimes this does not work as perfectly as it could, but I do my best to try nonetheless. I am fully committed to the things I set my mind to, and I do not back down easily from a challenge. Sacrifices, in my mind, are necessary in order to accomplish goals; I never shirk from them just because the sacrifices are inconvenient. I can confidently say that I do not easily back down when I dedicate myself to a cause, a goal, or a career.
One of my greatest areas of weakness, it must be said, is my need to develop greater coping skills for stress. Because of a certain obsessiveness that occurs when I try to dedicate myself to something, I will often ignore or downplay the consequences of the sacrifices I make. As a result, I realize I need to start realizing when I am taking on too much at a time; I have to recognize that taking it easy for a bit is not a weakness, but a way to recharge and tackle the subject with renewed vigor. With that in mind, better coping strategies for stress
In addition to these pursuits, my interests are well-rounded and diverse; I am extremely physically active, and I spend a lot of time at the gym several days a week attempting to take care of my body as best I can. I love sports like the marathon, and as such I have taken up running, participating in several 5ks and other competitions. I also adore swimming, and often find it a relaxing way to let off steam and relieve stress; a lot of my spare time is spent at the pool and at the gym. Other than that, I also enjoy reading nonfiction and history, taking lessons for both language and business, and cooking healthy whenever I can. It is very important for me to do my best at everything I can, which is why I work so hard at all of these pursuits and more; I fully believe that there is nothing valuable that comes from a job half done, or an activity only given half your attention.
With these things in mind, it is very important for me to pick a goal and apply myself to it 100%. I have learned the dangers of letting one's motivation fall apart, and is a character flaw I recognized in myself, and have adjusted, long ago. I did not enjoy my experiences studying in Canada; while the social experience was certainly pleasant, the material was not challenging or engaging enough for me. However, those experiences are something I would not trade for anything, as it also made me extremely familiar with incredible people from a variety of cultures, which made me much more comfortable assimilating and accustoming myself to other ways of living. At the same time, I realized that I needed to go somewhere else, somewhere with more for me to do and challenge myself with; I believe that Meiji University (and Japan as a whole) is the place to experience and meet those challenges.