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“There were No Obstacles to Stop the Dream of a Law Student”

“There were No Obstacles to Stop the Dream of a Law Student”

Posted January. 29, 2003 22:29,   


Mr. Sohn entered the Busan High School in 1969 after he graduated both elementary and middle schools in Ulsan as the top student. His family was poor under the care of a single mother. Therefore, instead of having a quarter near the school, he commuted from Ulsan to Busan by taking the train, which left at 4:50 in the morning. This round trip commute took more than 5 hours everyday. However, he had never been absent not even once and he still remained the top in his academic classes.

It was in July 1970, during his 2nd year in college, when the dark clouds covered him having a dream and a vision. The train, which ordinarily arrived at the Busan Station at 7:15 in the morning, had stopped at the Dongrae Station due to the storm. When it passed 9:30, he gave up going to school and transferred to the train heading back to Ulsan.

However, when he saw the train reheading to Busan, he hurriedly got off and grabbed on to the handrail to get on the train. But his hands slipped off the handrail due to the heavy rain and his life has been completely changed since then. He lost both of his legs due to this incident.

He voluntarily withdrew from school after a year of rest and then he passed the high school graduation qualification examination. However, there wasn`t much he can do. So he started the private tutoring of the students in the neighborhood in order to make a living. Gradually he became a stable private teacher and was even able to get married in 1975. Because he taught earnestly ranging from elementary students to high school students, one time, he became the `famous instructor` of having over 100 students.

However, another misfortune awaited Mr. Sohn. Because he worked from 6 o`clock in the morning to 11 o`clock at night everyday teaching students, he collapsed due to exhaustion in 1980. His weight reduced from 52 kilograms to 30 kilograms and he had to spend 4 years fighting the illness alone.

After the recovery, he started a jewelry shop with the help of his sister in 1986 but because he signed a financial responsibility contract for other, he got into having a debt of over 173 thousand dollars. Even his house was given up to the auction. His youngest daughter got an approval for a College of Pharmacy in Daegu in 1997 but she had to give it up due to lack of the enrollment payment.

Mr. Sohn, barely continued living with the help from those around decided, “I must not give up like this,” and he started tutoring again. Since then, he sent all of his three daughters to college.

His grown up daughters wanted his father to achieve his once lost dream. His daughters started suggesting, `Go to college before it really gets too late!`. From 2001, Mr. Sohn started preparing for the college entrance examination while tutoring in order to achieve his dream from 30 years ago. After all, he received 331 points on the college entrance examination and was accepted from the College of Law at Seoul University as a disability special entrance.

“I`ve recently changed my artificial legs which I`ve used for over 25 years”, stated Mr. Sohn. It`s because of his desire to climb the stairs at Seoul University faster. He affirmed that “disability is just one of the misfortunes experienced in life.” He also stated, “there isn`t anything impossible to achieve if challenged with dream and courage.”

“There was a time when I regretted why I`ve not started studying again sooner but I haven`t thought that my physical disability is an obstacle for my study. Since I`ve been living my life with the help from people, I desire to dedicate rest of my life in helping others”, he stated. He wasn`t ashamed or embarrassed to show his artificial legs during the photo shoot.

jrjung@donga.com buddy@donga.com