As a rising sophomore student at Tufts University, I have a lot to look forward to. That being said, I decided to take a semester off from college.
Why, you ask?
From the moment you graduate high school, society expects you to go straight to college. First of all, I am not a strict believer in societal norms. Secondly, why can’t we take the time to explore what’s out in the real world before college?
Everyone is so boggled down with the mentality that you have to go to college right after you graduate, and then right after you graduate you have to get a job and settle down. But why? That's just following the social norms. There are ways people can do things differently that will work for them and make them successful and happy. I talked to people who took random semesters off from college to do something bizarre or something to explore their passions about and they said it was the best decision of their college career.
I know plenty of people who have told me of their decision to take a year or a semester off from college to go and explore. They told me it was the best decision of their life and that they would do it again. However, I also know plenty of people who never took a semester or year off from school and also loved it. To me, those who took their time to themselves were the ones who stood out. They took a chance and loved it, while the ones who did not… well you will never know.
That is why I decided to take a semester off from college. I want to see what other opportunities there are for me. I want to see beyond what is there for me other than college. I I want to take a chance and explore something out of my comfort zone.
So, that’s it for some of the reasons why I decided to take a semester off.
But let’s move onto the important topic! What am I doing during my time off?
Well, I am interning at a non-profit organization called Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK for short. It’s a organization based in California that rescues North Korean refugees who are hiding out in China and helps them trek a 3,000 mile journey in now what is called a modern day underground railroad. LiNK helps to get them to safe land and also helps resettle the refugees in South Korea or in America. We also try to raise awareness for the North Korean people and raise awareness for human rights.
The position I have is as a Rescue Teams intern. I basically reach out to all the Rescue Teams all over the world. Rescue Teams are groups that are community run - whether at colleges or high schools or anywhere. There are currently over 250 Rescue Teams. These teams are the ones who promote awareness in their communities and also fundraise. Rescue Teams have helped to rescue about one-third of the North Korean refugees, and LiNK has rescued about 540 refugees in all.
I have been receiving training on how LiNK saves the refugees and how they work the modern day underground railroad, and it’s just amazing. I’m super stoked to actually have a say and lend a hand in making this all possible!
So far, so great. I don’t regret my decision at all.
Here is me in front of a collage of the North Korean refugees LiNK has rescued.