Office of Student Life

Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program

A Word from the Wise - Minji Jeong

April 20, 2021 by Staff

What is the best piece of advice a mentor or mentor figure has given you? How has this advice impacted your life, decisions, and/or goals?

A few names and advice crossed my mind as I was thinking about mentors. But the person that’s had the most impact on me as a person has always been my mom. Besides her positive outlook on life, open-mindedness, quirky dance moves, and so many more, she has taught me the most important thing that always has been and will be an anchor in my life.

“No matter what the result is, even if you don’t do well, it’s always okay as long as you tried your best.” This was one thing she would always remind me and my brother of since we were little kids. In South Korea, which is where I grew up until my freshman year of high school, academics are extremely competitive from a young age. Higher education is regarded as a high priority for Koreans and a lot of people’s lives revolve around education. Academic success is heavily emphasized as it does propel a great number of aspects of life such as socioeconomic status, social prejudice, and even marriage prospects. This often leads to children and teenagers facing a great amount of societal pressure to succeed academically and even to unethical actions. Growing up, I did feel this societal pressure to be the best in school and go to the best college possible, but my mom always reminded me to not define myself by a grade. Furthermore, her advice led me to be driven by my motivations and not by anyone else’s.

This also prompted me to constantly try new things with less fear. I won’t lie and say that I don’t get scared at all when facing a new challenge, but what my mom has taught me transformed how I view and cope with failure. I shift my focus to the process rather than the results even if I don’t get the outcome I desired. I learned to give myself a short amount of time to be emotional, rant, or whatever I need to do to let it out then quickly shift to reflecting on my actions and improvement areas. Even if I tried my hardest and failed, I always took away something from that experience. This helped me to move on without feeling disappointed in myself and to continue to challenge myself.

At a lot of moments in our lives, we’re pressured to be the best while the amount of effort we put in doesn’t always get much spotlight. My mom has always taught me to value my process over results even if others value my results over process.

What is one of your biggest lessons learned since becoming a student at OSU? What is one piece of advice you would give incoming buckeyes?

My biggest advice to incoming buckeyes would be to keep trying new things. I think this is the way you’ll grow and learn the most but remember that it’s always okay if you don’t get your desired outcome! Also, having access to education and the diversity of thoughts that Ohio State offers is a huge privilege. Use this as an opportunity to be an even more open-minded person while being open to meeting new people. Lastly, don’t forget to always look beyond Ohio State and use your time at college to leave a positive impact on others.