Today, the third Thursday in November, is the day third year high schoolers have been dreading for their entire school lives: Korean College Scholastic Ability Test day. Right now, thousands of Korean high school students are writing what most Koreans consider to be the most important test on the most important day of these students’ lives. Their scores on this test will determine what universities they can get into next year. And getting into a good university is very important here. No pressure.
This day is not just about the students though; the whole country is involved. Friends and family have given the students good luck gifts, like taffy. Mothers of students will be praying for their child all day long. Here in Seoul, many companies allow their employees to arrive late to work so that the roads can be clear for students to get to the schools on time. I watched a news program that metioned there were more frequent buses and subways this morning to transport the students to the test sites. According to my Korean friend, there are police on the road, sirens on, ready to escort any late students. She also told me that no airplanes can fly now because the noise is too distracting.
I have the day off work today because my middle school is being used by first and second year high school students who are not writing the test. The news program also said that high school juniors commonly sleep over at the schools so they can be there in the morning to cheer on their seniors arriving to write the 9-hour test. There was even a red carpet laid out for the seniors!
Korea amazes me.
Good luck, students!