My name is Taeree Kim and I am a first-year enrolled in the Humanities program at Davidson College for the 2020-2021 school year.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea and was raised in a small town called Fuquay-Varina in North Carolina.
My main interest is considering the intersections between science and H(h)umanities in a complimentary fashion– one can not and should not exist without the other.
I will be a Fall fellow next year.
From Seoul to Fuquay
World 1: I was born in Seoul [pronounced suh-ool] South Korea. My family came to the States in 2004 with hopes of bringing the Art of Taekwondo to America. Raised in a Korean household, cultural values were incorporated into our daily lives. Korean language, Korean food, Korean smell, Korean sports, Korean church, Korean school, Korean groceries, Korean music, Korean this, and Korean that. Born but not raised, I feel that I am merely a tourist in Korea.
I was two years old when I moved to the States.
World 2: I was raised in a small town in North Carolina called Fuquay-Varina [pronounced fyoo-kway vah-reena] The inhabitants of this town are the type who play golf but struggle with paying bills from time to time. I would best characterize my town as stuck in its past and present. The familiarity of Fuquay is like none other. Truly iconic in the best and worst way possible: wouldn’t change it for the world but couldn’t wait to leave.
Struggling with identity is a common practice with immigrants who are stuck between worlds.
Not enough. Not Korean enough to be Korean, not American enough to be American– or so it seems. My mannerisms closely reflected a hybrid of my two worlds. A single identity emerged: Korean American.
A foreign vessel
body clashes with the mind
don’t know what I am.
TaeKwonDo and Cheerleading
I have been practicing the art of Taekwondo for the past 17 years. My biggest influences coming from my parents, my sah-bum-nim or Master. Needless to say, respect was ingrained at an early age.
Absorb, analyze, attack, repeat. Martial Arts is a subjective manipulation of the body. You are responsible for your wins and losses. A personal sport like none other. Accountability was a huge aspect in accepting my body. I could not blame my coaches or my opponent for my misstep, only myself.
I never envisioned myself trading my modest Taekwondo uniform for a Cheerleading crop top and skirt. Like my self-identity, I feel that I have entered a different world. What am I? A collegiate Cheerleader? A Taekwondo master? Can I be both? Can I accept myself? My body? The answer I am discovering is a hesitant yes. Existing in both worlds is possible I’ve been doing it all my life.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
A book that has caught my eye is Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. Ultimately, our body is made of cells, cells undergo meiosis, cells die, our body dies. Mortality is our biggest enemy and death is inevitable. The systems of the body are meant to keep you alive and is subjective to the person inhabiting the body. I found the stories of the elderly in nursing homes to be fascinating and tragic.
I enrolled in Humanities because of a very convincing GroupMe message during WebTree season. Prior to WebTree, I would have never guessed the academic rigor and standard that this course upholds throughout the most challenging circumstances. Coming into college as an intended STEM major, Humes has shaped the way I view the world and myself. Within the first three weeks of classes, I abandoned my STEM mentality and adopted a more humanistic approach at my overall goal: to help people.