The Granite Tower
IN KUSTUDENT LIFE
Time and Heart – The Most Meaningful Gift
Jeong Yeon Soo  |  lauren98@korea.ac.kr
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승인 2019.05.06  04:30:17
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As employees head off to their workplaces, they restlessly scroll down on their smartphones with their heads down, thumbing away on the screen. Students in universities are not so much different. As they hastily eat a bite of sandwich with one hand, they quickly finish their assignments on their laptop with the other hand. Students are always busy with their school work, extracurricular activities, seminars and internships, without having time to stop, take a break and settle down. They need some time to reflect on themselves as well as others who may be in need of their help.

 

   
▲ Logo of KUHS. Provided by KUHS

 

Korea University Hospice Society (KUHS) is the club in Korea University (KU) that allows students to take a step back from their busy lives and learn how to bring warmth to people’s hearts. Unlike other clubs that are usually run in relation to career paths, encouraging fierce competition among members, KUHS is a place to help those who are in need and to create another paradise for those who may be in great despair. The club is open to anyone who is simply willing to take at least two semesters to wholeheartedly help terminal patients, usually those diagnosed with cancer. All students are allowed to participate, regardless of their age, major or any other conditions. Time and heart are the only requirements; other than that, everything is set to be part of KUHS.

 

Only Volunteer Work? No, Fun Activities as Well

 

“KUHS is mainly divided into three sessions: regular meetings, regular volunteer activities and collaborative activities,” explained Namkoong Mi-so (’16, Life Sciences), the president of KUHS. First of all, members of KUHS hold monthly meetings to spend some time to learn more about hospice itself. They participate in activities such as watching movies, holding quiz bowls or visiting exhibitions to easily grasp the meaning of hospice.


During the regular volunteering sessions, students go to different cancer centers in the KU Medical Center (KUMC), Seoul Red Cross Hospital (SRCH) or Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) once a week according to their schedules. They become good companions of patients by massaging them or helping them with therapy programs run by each hospital. Lastly, members also collaborate with the hospice society in Seoul National University (SNU) by visiting SNUH on the last Saturday of every month to have some tea with patients and attend seminars on hospice.

 

   
▲ Members of KUHS spending time with patients. Provided by KUHS

 

Members of KUHS are required to participate in at least five or more meetings a year in order to become an official member, considering the fact that endurance and dedication are the important aspects of community services. The members engage in other fun activities such as visiting parks to photograph beautiful scenery on postcards for the patients. Because most of these terminal patients have difficulties with mobility, these postcards serve as precious gifts. “This activity is very valuable as it not only acts as a bridge between members of KUHS to become closer but also helps to break down barriers between members and patients, ultimately bringing a sense of amiability to KUHS,” stated Namkoong.


Dignity of Man, Meaning of Life


Above all, the most important part about KUHS is that it provides meaningful opportunities for students to think about life in general. “When people think of the dignity of man, they usually recall the birth of a newborn baby but not the death of a patient,” said Namkoong. While many people have negative stereotypes about hospice, simply accepting it as an easy relinquishing of one’s life, it is actually one of the important processes to prepare for dying well.


Because most of the patients at these centers have premonitions that they will die, they try to make good use of their time instead of meaninglessly waiting for time to elapse. It is a gradual process to calmly embrace one’s death, to be released of mental and physical pain, and to be ready for a great way to end one’s life, which is the true dignity one can show. By listening to the stories and peeking at the lives of terminal patients, students can have a chance to ponder “What is the true meaning of life and what should one do to be well off?”

 

   
▲ Members of KUHS spending time with patients. Provided by KUHS

 

This shows the value and direction KUHS ultimately aims to achieve: life with more sincerity. While there are many other community service clubs, KUHS is definitely different from them. It is not a mere help to people, but it involves someone’s life, witnessing the end of someone’s breath. Due to this distinct quality, it is sometimes inevitable for members to be with the patients during their last moment. Not only in terms of death, but because members are spending value time with someone, respectful and sincere attitudes are required at every moment.


“These days, many people seem to be busy with their own lives, unaware of their final destinations,” added Namkoong. Hospice volunteering is the type of activity that enables students to reflect on their own lives through the lives of others. By being with patients near the end of life, students should be able to realize how every day is treasured and never comes back. In that sense, KUHS could help KU students to view their lives with greater sincerity.


“Also, hospice volunteer is not as easy as it seems. Sometimes patients show strong repulsion, and it is certainly difficult for young people to be bold enough to console people at the last stage of life,” commented Namkoong with a great affection, esteem and confidence towards KUHS. It is not the desire to transform someone’s life but simple smiles and vitality that bring help to those patients. What makes KUHS meaningful and valuable is the attitude of members who are willing to share moments with someone who is in need of small help and find the true meaning of life by involving themselves in warm moments.

 


Recruitment Information

Recruitment Period: At the beginning of each school year (during the first week of March)

Requirements: KU undergraduate students who are willing to participate in hospice volunteering activities with sincerity for at least two semesters

Contact: 

•Namkoong Mi-so (President) 010-2289-1536

•Bae Moonkyung (Vice President) 010-9374-5734

•Pyo Haeun (Vice President) 010-7726-4620

Official Page: cafe.naver.com/kuhss

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