"In Korea, there's a hawk called 'Naksangmae'. Direct English translation would be 'fallen and injured hawk'. It has long been considered as the epitome of braveness and tenacity."
In the summer of 2009, my heart was inflated with grandiose confidence and pride when I registered for Korean college entrance exam. I was already qualified as high school graduate when I was 13 by teaching myself, and academically eminent among my friends. I had no doubt that I will be admitted by the university I applied for.
However, what left behind after the exam were the despicable test result that proved my immaturity, arrogance, naivety, and insensibility of reality, scorn, and everlasting trauma.
Thereafter, time had no meaning to me. It was merely a combination of capricious numbers that changes time to time. I couldn't talk with my family, my friends. Even their comforting words sounded as disdainful mockery. I built a wall around me and locked myself in a quarantine to be isolated from other people. I was ashamed of myself.
One night, I was watching 'Hitman' and surfing online. My everyday life was so enervative and repetitive that hardly was I excited even by doing numerous tasks simultaneously. It had lost its vigor long ago. Suddenly, my eyes were dragged to several keywords on the monitor. They were neither the words of Timothy Olyphant saying "how about we die with dignity?", nor were the words of a news reporting actress A's coming-out. They were words on a blog about animals. Wow, I never thought I was interested in reading philosophical descriptions of animals. However, 'broken beak' and 'shredded wings' were unusual enough to pull my attention together that has torn apart by languor. It was a short passage explaining a bird called 'Naksangmae'.
Feeding her young, mother Naksangmae drops the foods out of the nest on purpose. Then, little birds have to get out of their nest to feed. Often, however, young birds fall off from the cliff where the nest is located. Their small beak is crushed, frail wings are ripped, and tiny legs are broken. Unable to move an inch, they lie still in baffling helplessness, terrified, frustrated, for several day without eating anything. Then, they realize that they have to move forward in order to survive. Crawling up to their nest, most of the little birds die out from hunger, injure, and cold. But they never cease to advance. They continue to chase after a ray of dim light that shines upon them.
Reading the passage, I felt strong and lasting tremble from the deep down of my heart. I stunned; I was the fallen little hawk. Then, I was resolute to face the path in front me. I had broken the bound that restrained me from advancing. I could not let the first fall drag me into the eternal lethargy. Surprisingly, when I was determined to confront the inevitable risk, I was not nervous, but felt bizarre euphoria running through my vein. I was not bewildered, but was excited; my heart was fueled with passion.
My nest was in the higher spot than I had expected. I registered for 5 AP exams for the coming May, and made up my mind to go back to school, finishing seven years of self-teaching. Actually, before then, going to American university was just a vague goal for me, which consists of accumulation of my scattered dream and will. However, it became clear to me. Taking 5 AP exams with no more than four months left to prepare without any help seemed relentless. But when the results finally came out, I was one step near my dream, near my nest. I didn't reach my nest yet, but I found myself enjoying this arduous adventure.
Next summer, as soon as I reach my nest, I will find myself fallen off the cliff again. But I'm not afraid. Because ordeal is a necessary condition of growth and maturity; and life without growth and maturity is impossible. I will never hesitate to confront the distress, but will step upon it and make it a springboard for my future and ambition.
"....then, finally, when those survived little hawks mature, they become dominator of the sky to whom no beast dares to challenge, conquering the frightening height."