Flower Blossomed Belatedly, but Firmly
Park Jong-hyun (Law, ‘96), the oldest candidate to pass the last National Bar Exam
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On November 7 of 2017, the Ministry of Justice has announced the final 55 successful candidates of the last National Bar Exam of South Korea. Due to the alternation in the way of selecting judicial officials from the bar exam to law school, the 59th National Bar Exam will be the last bar exam in Korean history. One of the 55 successful applicants was Park Jong-hyun (Law, '96), the oldest of all. News H met Park to hear his passionate story of his 15 year journey in becoming a judicial officer.
“The bar exam was my youth”
It was Park’s 15th year of studying for the bar exam. When he found out with his wife and family that one of the crowns for the last bar exam was his, he could not restrain his overflowing joy. “I do not know whom to thank, but I am happy that I was finally allowed to achieve my dream at the last possible chance,” said Park. When Park graduated from the Department of Law at Hanyang University, he joined the army. When he finished his two years of military service, he married his wife and began his journey of passing the bar exam. “After my discharge from military service, I pondered upon the importance of law in a civil society and concluded that law is the bridgehead of the country which made me challenge the exam,” revealed Park.
For 15 years, Park has regarded goshichon (area around Shilim-dong where people preparing for national exams live and study) as his home. Park’s studying pattern for the bar exam was organized and incessant. Park woke up at six in the morning to study at both the academy and the private group studying session. In the midst of studying, Park never skipped working out for 30 minutes to an hour. “This pattern was my life for 15 years and I was sometimes scared that I will not be able to get off this routine forever. At these times, my wife always stood by me, and I tried to cope with my fear because I didn't wanted her to see my vulnerability,” reminisced Park.
Patience with dignity sees the light
Park’s life motto is “Even if the world does not give me a chance, that is still my life.” With this in mind, Park always tried to patiently study and wait for his glory to come. “I thought being professional at knowing the world is one of the most imperative criteria in becoming a judicial officer. Thus, I sometimes worked at part-time jobs, and this also prevented me from considering myself a pity,” said Park. With such bright energy and attitude, Park tried to relieve his family and also root for his mates at the academy. “I think my family and friends at the goshichon were the main reasons that kept me on track, even when I had failed the second-round of the bar exam for six times,” smiled Park.
Park’s attitude as a judicial officer is a Hanyangian ideology- “love in deed.” “I will know what kind of officer I will become only after I graduate from the Judicial Research and Training Institute. But, this is one thing I know- that I should be assisting my service even for the smallest part of the society,” emphasized Park. Beginning next year, the National Bar Exam is being abolished, and the law school system is being adopted. “I feel extremely sorry for those who tried out for the last bar exam like me. I am sure that they will be able to gleam light on their life, with other paths too,” said Park.
Park is now going to enter the Judicial Researching and Training Institute to learn which kind of judicial part he is best suited for. “I hope that all my Hanyang juniors will never forget the spirit of love our prestigious school stresses, and if you are truly devoted to your role at Hanyang and the society, you will be able to bloom your distinguished flower,” said Park. “Keep fighting with your passion and with your youth. Please try to remind yourself that youth is not about time, but about your attitude and heart!”
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Jin-myung
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