Chapter 2

The Story of a DIS “Comeback Kid”


At first, I considered it a good choice: to follow a path already walked on. I left DIS in 2019 to transfer to a Korean school after seven years here. I returned all my textbooks, cleaned my locker, and stepped out of the gates – filled with fear of an unpredictable future.

A few weeks before the final decision, I threw a tantrum in the car: I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone and give in to change. I took a sideways glance at my parents. Their faces showed minimal emotion with sure composure, but it was beyond my awareness that they were as afraid as me.

My father tried to stay objective. He advised, “There is a smooth road, supported by many examples and sources. Then there is the ambiguous, rough road that may bring you immense success. But nothing is guaranteed.” I convinced myself that his advice led me down the “safe” path. So my mom made some phone calls, and I marked my last day of DIS on the calendar. I knew I would miss my friends and all the good times. However, when I left, along with all the memories, I faded away.

So where did I end up? At a Korean middle school. Do I regret it? Never. My decision to be “safe” brought unexpected challenges, adventures, and opportunities; it really depends on how you see it. I left with ambiguity but came back with ambitions. But not because of Korean school, my time outside of the classroom proved most fruitful.

In my first year, I guided myself through hands-on experiences. Rather than sticking to books, I embraced new skills and hobbies. I listened a lot, especially to the people around me. Whether I spent time studying or relaxing, each and every minute held value and momentum. 

The following year, my perception of the world elevated. I prepared for the Korean midterm and final exams. But most importantly, I met new people with different stories and backgrounds. These interactions helped my vision of the world grow larger. 

Now, the question that needs to be asked isn’t, “What should I do with my time?” Instead, I’ll rephrase it, “What will I do?” There’s no “wrong direction” on my journey. The so-called “elite course” did not exist in the first place. I spent those two and a half years away from DIS without plans but never without intentions. This endless journey made me who I am. In the end, I questioned myself once again: “What will I do?” I wasn’t afraid to face new challenges. I could fall, but it would merely be another Odyssey. 

Back in 2019, I needed guidance about the path ahead. I had no vision and no long-term goal in sight. While others may call these past few years a mistake, they are the groundwork for my future. During my time away, I had more time on my hands. I took time to introspect and finally decided what I wanted for my future – a more creative learning environment and a wider variety of opportunities. Korean schools hold flaws: rote memorization, restriction of creativity, rigid conformity, and larger classroom sizes. With that in mind, I once again had to decide: I am going back.

Through these experiences, I came to realize that it is my life. I am the one who makes the choices. Not my parents, not my teachers, and definitely not the prejudices that surrounded me. It is just me and the decisions I make. I might have yet to finish my journey, but now, I have a plan. My time spent discovering my identity and place in the world brought me back here to DIS. 

Chapter 2: It’s good to be back.