At the 72nd commencement ceremony held on August 29, valedictorian Park Sung Tae (Department of Economics), selected valedictorian of the summer graduating class, addressed the 2,526 graduating students and their families. Park spoke on the adversity that he had faced and how SNU helped him to overcome his obstacles. He started his speech by addressing the students and offered his sincerest congratulations.
Park then delved into his personal story of hardship. Growing up under the care of a single mother, Park was bullied and stigmatized since childhood. In addition to the perpetual financial difficulties his family faced, his mother lost her hearing due to a brain tumor. These struggles took a toll on Park’s mental health and at one point he even considered suicide. “That was a time when I could not find a single reason to be on the earth.”
Despite the odds, Park was able to overcome his struggles and eventually completed his studies at SNU. He was able to was able to earn scholarships each semester to cover his tuition fees, allowing him to pursue his interest in the field of economics. He attributes his accomplishments to the university for providing him with the opportunities to have diverse experiences such as the SNU in World Program, exchange programs, and an overseas internship.
He also expressed gratitude to the countless professors and staff for guiding him throughout the seven years of his academic journey, and helping him believe in his limitless potential.
Lastly, Park thanked his mother for supporting him whenever he lost hope. Although his mother’s health has deteriorated, she has continued to watch over him, and her resilience and unwavering support has inspired him to be strong. “I hope that now that I am stepping into society, you will be able to lay down some of the burdens you have been carrying with you. Thank you, Mom.”
Written by Yu Young Jin, SNU English Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Lamar Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com