Ephemeral yet permanent: Graduation at WasedaFri, Sep 20, 2019
Graduation is a form of closure, but it is not a closed door. It is an opportunity for graduates to choose and navigate their paths. On September 15th, Waseda students from across departments gathered at Toyama Campus before dispersing to faculty ceremonies. The graduation brought together students, families, and friends from around the world as they reflected on their journeys and prepared for the future.
The ceremonies’ diversity was notable in the nationalities and faculties represented. Waseda University boasts the largest number of international students among all Japanese universities: overseas students enrolled in full-time degree programs and exchange students combined. To better accommodate students from overseas, it has intakes in both fall and spring semesters. Therefore, Waseda University holds graduation ceremonies twice a year at the end of each semester (the former tends to have a more diverse student population). Graduates surrounded the Okuma statue at Waseda campus with their diplomas in their hands. Students wore attire that represented their countries; many Japanese and international students wore hakamas, kimonos with long-skirted garments worn over them. The faculties represented were diverse as well, ranging from Political Science and Economics to Computer Science and Communications, demonstrating the vast range of fields students pursue at the university.
Graduation is as much about preparation as it is about reflection. One of the slogans this year was “The Future Awaits.” Formal in prose and optimistic in nuance, it simply means, “Get ready to solve the challenges ahead.” Whether it be personal or professional challenges, the road ahead will most likely have ebbs and flows. Social issues, too, will require much work and integrity from the younger generation. The bar is high for Waseda University graduates, given their expertise and experiences. Sahana Venugopal, who graduated from the School of International Liberal Studies, says, “I hope to use my degree and the expertise I received from my teachers and seniors to further educate myself, confront injustice, and lead an ethical and honorable life.” Her pursuit to address issues of our time demonstrates the seeds of potential students planting in and out of the Waseda community. Alumni also attended the ceremonies. JeEun Jey Yoo, who graduated from the School of International Liberal Studies back in September 2018, celebrated her friends’ graduation. She says, “I want to keep challenging my current perspectives and hopefully keep reminding myself to never be comfortable with where I am.” Although graduation may be an end of a chapter, learning and growth continue beyond academia.
Congratulations, graduates! We have one chance– one life– to leave a mark in this world. Let’s make it count.
*This article was written and contributed by the following student.
Marina Yoshimura (4th Year Student)
School of International Liberal Studies