"Action speaks louder than words." Although this phrase is widely used among many people, most people fear something new. However, this person has an open-mind when it comes to attempting groundbreaking challenges. As a representative of UnivTomorrow, he always encourages university students to seriously ponder their desires. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met up with Shin Iktae (SHIN) to hear his story.
SMT As current manager of UnivTomorrow Research Laboratory, you have helped to provide useful lectures and tips for university students in the magazine. What is the ultimate purpose behind publishing UnivTomorrow?
SHIN When most students look around for magazines, their choices are so narrow that it is hard for them to get exposure to various kinds of articles. Diverse magazines exist for older generations, but magazines geared towards university students are scarce. Since typical magazine articles cannot arouse sympathy from university students, most students do not often subscribe to them. In order to solve this problem, our laboratory tries to produce magazine that fits students’ point of view. UnivTomorrow focuses on articles that catch the interests of university students such as current events, columns, and trends. Our goal is to make students subscribe to a magazine that truly reflects their minds and thoughts.
SMT You have continued to provide mentoring programs and lectures such as Dreamforest and UnivExpo. What is the motivation behind such activities for university students?
SHIN There are few cases of students creating new things and ideas on their own. In most cases, they get much help from professors and other leading companies. This makes students dependent on others and be stereotyped. rather than passively participating in internships or trainings hosted by enterprises, I wanted them to autonomously design their own projects and programmes. Most university students are uncertain about their futures and dreams. I think they can grasp the path to their dreams by creating and nurturing ideas on their own, and I want to lead them down that path.
SMT You majored in the Department of Mass Communication at Yonsei University. What kind of student were you throughout your university years?
SHIN Basically, I tried to challenge almost everything. I loved to try new things and design special projects. When I worked as a departmental student representative, I founded a variety of unique clubs and programs. rather than passively concentrating on my studies, I tried to create something new. Although there were many times when my purpose went athwart, I never gave up. I think these trials and errors during my university years worked as a nutritious element making me the person I am today. I want to tell students to be active and creative and continuously seek the extraordinary all the time.
SMT Since you frequently meet university students during lectures, you must have a set of values that you wish to relay to students. What do you think are the three most vital things students should experience during university?
SHIN The first thing should be leaving home. In order to plan and direct new things, you need to change the ordinary things. Leaving the comfort of home can be one way to change your life. It seems trivial, but real change starts by breaking walls around you. The second thing is to develop relationships with as many people as possible. As you meet and form connections, you can reflect on yourself. You can realize how you act or feel by encountering many people. Lastly, students should experience making something on their own. Attempting something new will indeed be hard at the beginning. However, students can make themselves develop by facing both success and failure.
SMT What are your plans now? Are you going to continue off ering activities and giving lectures at universities?
SHIN At the moment, I am planning to concentrate on mentoring programs. I would also like to continue lecturing at university, but I firmly believe mentor and mentee programmes really help students. I am thinking of a program that connects older alumni with currently enrolled students to give university students the opportunity to receive tips from elders who have firsthand experiences. I think sometimes the real story of one’s experiences can be much more helpful than a long lecture. My goal is to activate a mentoring system that extends to all students.
SMT Your values are quite open minded and active. Is there any other advice you would like to give university students?
SHIN I hope students emphasize the importance of activism. Most students are afraid of trying something different, so they are always hesitant even before starting the challenging. “Failure is the mother of success” as the saying goes. As one will have many experiences in life, he or she can develop a more mature perspective, which leads to progressive thinking. I hope students jump into new challenges and enjoy groundbreaking events during their school years. No matter what the outcome will be, small trials and errors are remarkable nourishment for the future.
Shin Iktae [SHIN]
• Current Manager in UnivTomorrow Research Laboratory for the twenties
• Operating an university portal community website Outcampus since 2009
• Published 3 books and 2 columns about the life of twenties
• Working as a consultant in YongDream-Center hosted by Donga-ilbo
• The secretary-general in Campus Life Exhibition