2018.04.03 Hello, ICU life!
I walk down the halls of Honkan nervously and stop before entering the classroom. The small classroom is filled with buzz, everyone talking and laughing together as if they were all already friends. I gulp at the door but put on my smile and walk-in, introducing myself to the girls sitting near the entrance.
As ELA classes start, I learn that many of my section mates were from the International Christian High School and have known each other since before. I don’t let my awkwardness and shyness get to me and talk to them instead of giving up on getting to know them. I also joined a club in May after going to shinkan at Hanami. I walked down the many booths with my dorm friends and stop by all the clubs and circles that interest me. I spend time with people from my dorm, classes, and club, getting to know people and making friends.
Freshman year was about challenging myself to open up to new people and finding communities at ICU! I’m glad that I stayed positive and continuously made sure to make efforts to build new friendships.
I got used to my new life at ICU and can confidently say that I have a couple of communities that I belong to. One regret in my freshman year was not participating in study-abroad programs. This year I want to go, so I apply to the JICUF Global Link: New York program.
Best decision of my life! I make life-long best friends through the program and meet amazing graduates and associates who taught crucial lessons of pursuing their dreams and missions. It was a time that got me thinking of how I wanted to spend the rest of my ICU life and what experiences I wanted to have.
A lesson I particularly remember was from a man who worked at the Japanese embassy. He talked about how seeing the world during his days in university influenced who he is now. The man shared his story of volunteering at a banana plantation in Africa for over a year when he was in college. He said he didn’t know their language, norms, or culture but jumping into that environment was life-changing. Hearing his story made me want to challenge myself in a completely new environment which is why I applied for the study abroad program.
Global Link made me realize that I also wanted to see more of the world and not be afraid of trying new things. I continue to meet and build new relationships, evolving my community.
After the long selection process, I find out I’m going to Goldsmiths to pursue my interests in journalism. I meet the other three students selected to go to Goldsmiths and we become close even before going. I realize I have to start thinking about what I’m going to do after graduating from ICU because I hear from my senpai’s that job hunting while abroad can be stressful… Personally, I want to intern at a global company in London, and hopefully from that connection find a job, but I know life isn’t that easy so I begin preparing and applying for opportunities while I am in Japan.
Life at Goldsmiths is so much more than I imagined, classes are interesting but stressful, and the people I meet are stimulating! I try to balance job hunting with study-abroad life, so go to Boston Career and London Career for job opportunities in Japan. Luckily, I was able to catch the eyes of a few companies. I travel around Europe with my friend who studies in Switzerland and we talk about wanting to come again with our friend to Japan.
I know that my experience at Goldsmiths is going to be something I treasure forever.
While in Goldsmiths, I got a message from my senior thesis advisor, telling me to begin thinking about topics and finding journals in spring. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone I met at Goldsmiths but we promise to meet again. After coming back to Japan, I’m swamped with things I have to do for my senior thesis. Senior year is the best because I barely have classes so I hang out with friends and travel around the world. I make so many memories and the fun time pushes me to get my senior thesis over and done with. After turning in my senior thesis on 2/1, the fun began! I travel back to Europe with my two friends, and we tour around Europe; France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and so on. We all saved up for this trip and have a blast! I spend the rest of my days up to graduating making memories with my friends, doing things that we can only do now, as college students!
I didn’t waste a second of my senior year traveling around and seeing the world with my own eyes. It’s the only year where you have so much time and can do anything that you want. I did everything that would be difficult to do once I started working.
I am weeks away from graduating and this will most likely be most last article for HCICU. I wanted to make my last article memorable and meaningful so it was really hard figuring out what to write about. I decided to write about this make-belief ICU life because I wanted to reflect on the regrets that I had throughout my ICU life. While COVID-19 did take away many opportunities, at the end of the day the pandemic is not the sole source of the things that I could not do. Despite not spending my freshman year during the pandemic, I still had a hard time building connection. Looking back, I wish I had been more willing to step out of my comfort zone.
When you ask adults what they regret about their young days, many say “I wish I studied more.” If you recent college graduate, I think many will say “I wish I met more people.” Meeting and establishing relationships is difficult, whether online or offline and if I had the chance to re-do my ICU life, I want to meet and talk to more people.