South Korea Rocks


August 2, 2012 by travelinggrits

During my freshman year in high school, all students were required to take a course called “Strategies for Success,” in which we read the self-help text Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As you might guess, the class was mostly about how to survive high school and work toward being a responsible adult. (I am of the mind that these skills can only be learned through experience – but I digress.)

Needless to say, I never thought material from this book would inspire thought-provoking reflection, and I was mildly shocked when it came to mind today. I Googled the book to be sure my mental reference was correct, and yep: Habit 3, First Things First.

The metaphor used to demonstrate this principle was a person challenged with fitting a bag full of rocks and a bag full of pebbles into a bucket. The book explained that to fit everything into the bucket without overflowing, one must put the large rocks (the most important things in life) in first and fill in the gaps with the smaller pebbles (less important tasks).

It’s hard to believe, but the orientation period is halfway over – in less than a month I’ll be at my placement site. Last week, I completed a detailed preference form about my goals for the year and the characteristics of the school and community where I would like to live. I have confidence that the Fulbright team will place each grantee in the location where he or she can best carry out the responsibilities of the job and participate in desired extracurricular activities, but because we did not have access to a list of possible placements I have no idea about the outcome.

But all will be revealed on Friday. Since my arrival in Korea, I have caught glimpses of the country around me, but I have still been insulated within the training atmosphere in this remote location. When my name is called at the placement ceremony, I expect reality to strike like a lightning bolt. My placement will mark a tangible place to take root and live life to the fullest.

That being said, it is about time to write out a list of goals I would like to accomplish during my time in South Korea. The grant year will pass fast, and I have a large bag of rocks and pebbles. First things first, my greatest duty is to my teaching position and my students’ progress. I have some rather abstract and subjective ambitions, like leaving a lasting impact on my school through new programs and strong relationships. But I also have other measurable, concrete goals to accomplish that carry weight both personally and professionally. Some are one-time events; others involve much more of a time commitment. I must strategize now to put them together.

I am sure I will add to this list throughout the year, but this is a good start. And you, my readers, can help keep me accountable for documenting when I have completed them. Feel free to make suggestions as well!


6 thoughts on “South Korea Rocks

  1. Sarah says:

    What a great list! I hope you get to do everything you’ve dreamed of!

  2. sqrlymon says:

    I am moving to South Korea this month. I love your list and I have a new goal of learning a Korean instrument, thanks!

  3. Jackie C says:

    I read that book too! I think I was given it, as a high school graduation gift (one that I wasn’t thrilled about). Not one of my favorite reads, mostly because, like you, I really feel experience is the best teacher for these things.

  4. Larry Oswald says:

    Hi Christina, we have been thoroughly enjoying your articles and pics! Very interesting. Love, Larry, Nancy and Caroline

  5. […] whitewater rafting is my favorite outdoor recreational activity, and it was one of the top items on my bucket list for my time in Korea. The sky was clear, the air slightly cool with the first traces of fall. A beautiful day to enjoy […]

  6. […] biggest rocks on my bucket list for Korea focused on experiencing this country’s rich cultural history, whether through visiting UNESCO […]

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