A Vague Start
Nothing ahead was clear even after moving into the dormitory. I joined the IUDP program with a vague interest in Human Sciences and a vague interest of becoming a social studies teacher. But the program gradually cultivated within me a sense of awareness toward the outside world. By taking courses in fields of sociology, education, and other social sciences, I became curious about various social issues.
My particular interests were issues involving children, such as abuse and crime. A desire to help children fulfill their lives grew within me, and my vague interest of becoming a teacher became definite. Six months after enrollment, I started taking teacher-training courses.
The more I studied, the more aware I became of my ignorance. This convinced me that if I am going to teach about society, then I must look outside. Most teachers in Japan become teachers following graduation, so they have never stepped outside of the school society. This means that if I experience someplace different beforehand, then I would have a different story to tell. By my second year, I was determined to join the corporate world.
I started job hunting on my fourth year. Job hunting in Japan is unique in that its schedule is very structured. Japanese students typically start job hunting on the third semester (out of four semesters) of their third year. This aligns with the first semester of the fourth year for IUDP students, due to the six-month difference in enrollment.
The first semester of the fourth year is also when students start their graduation theses. I therefore had to juggle job hunting and my thesis. I had to research countless companies, conduct self-analysis, participate in internships, brush up my resume, and prepare for exams such as SPI and C-GAB. Progress on my thesis was slow.
Then, COVID-19 struck. Job fairs were canceled, and companies countrywide reduced available positions. I was rejected over twenty times. After two long months, I finally received a job offer.
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Student life was challenging. The teacher-training course required numerous extra classes. I had to juggle job hunting and my thesis at the beginning of a pandemic. But I managed to attain my goals, and I was able to set such goals because the IUDP program helped me find direction. I started off with an unclear outlook, but my student experiences shaped my interests and gave me purpose.
None of my goals would have been met without the help and generosity of the professors, staff, and peers. They have guided me in so many ways, and I cannot be more grateful.
Today, I aspire to become an instructor in juvenile reformatories. Although different from my original pursuits, what lies at my foundation remains unchanged: the desire to help children fulfill their lives. My hope is that our future generation comes to believe that the best days are ahead.