I used to think high school was really, really hard. My Freshman year, Mrs. Coyle told us we had to write a five paragraph essay, I thought, "Oh, what agony! Who could ever write a paper that length?" I moaned; I kicked my feet; I complained constantly; I completed it. Looking back, I think this experience was why I later had to write multiple 20 page papers and an eventual thesis (which, I might add, can be checked out of the Graduate Theological Union's library for no cost for all of you people who are salivating over a chance to adore my writing for 80 and some odd pages...the line forms behind...well, me. Oh, you've read it? Wow! Wasn't it great?)
My point here is not to brag about my accomplishments, (but isn't it funny how I still managed to sneak them in there? That's a little trick I've picked up.) but to compare my high school experience with those I have noticed here in Korea.
High school is intense. Nothing like High School Musical, which is surprising seeing as HSM is so similar to U.S. high schools... Korean high school students go to school early in the morning, and they stay until 9 or 10 p.m. They go to school two Saturdays of every month. Many of them study English, Japanese, and Chinese. Also, can you imagine studying Korean history?! I think U.S. history is hard enough, and that's only a few centuries! Korean history goes way back. Imagine learning about a few thousand years of history. And then retaining it.
In their senior year, all high school students have to take a college entrance exam that is epic in every sense of the word. They study for months. Their score decides where they can go to college, which then influences where they can get a job. Wow. That's a lot of pressure.
So whenever your loved ones complain about how much homework they have, tell them the story of the Korean teenagers who have to dedicate their lives to school. I like to bring it up to David every time we talk. I figure it helps make him culturally aware, while also sending a subtle and silent clue that he should stop complaining. (He never reads this blog so I think I can be frank. But now Mom's going to show it to him. Shoot.)