大学というもの | The University

By Chan Li Ting, Cendana ’17

I originally conceived of the piece as a reflection on the tensions between the maintenance of one’s individuality and of the overwhelming pressure to conform to societal expectations during the job hunt, within a Japanese young adult who is about to enter the workforce. In the course of writing, however, I found myself reflecting on my own university experience, as well as the tension between the various hopes and desires that I had held when I first entered college.

Japanese

大学時代最後の春休みに就職活動をするために東京に行ってきた。日本へ行くのはもう7回目だったが、なんか、今回自分が東京で働けるだろうと初めて気づいたので、日本の社会人をちゃんと見にしたのも初めてなのだ。思いついたのは、渋谷や原宿でぶらぶらしていた学生と大手町で働いていたサラリーマンとの違いだ。

大学生時代に自分を探すために何でも試し、個性を発揮していたその人は、就職活動が始まると、みんなと同じくスーツを着て、髪を黒にして、仕事を探す。こんな景色、どこから理解すればいいだろう。。

それで、大学はどんな空間であるかと考え始めた。多数のシンガポール人にとって、大学は就職するためにスキルを身につけるための場所かもしれない。ただし日本人は必ずしもそのように思うとは限らない。。確かに、いい大学に入れば、いい企業で就職できる、と多くの日本人の学生が思うはずだが、その学生たちとの関わり合いの中で、彼らにとって、大学で勉強したことはそんなに大事なものではない気がした。、

そして、自分の大学の経験か、振り返った。リベラルアーツの大学に入り、新しい活動に参加するなどそれは自分を探したいと思ったはずだ。はじめて大学に入った私が、、こんな教育を受けたら、いいキャリヤに繋がると両親に説得した。しかしそれは本当の理由なのだろう。。多分自分の心の一部には、人生にできなかったことを試し、本当の自分を探すということがあったんだ。

それで、大学とはどのように考えばいいなのか。就職のために入るものか、それとも人生に最初の反省できる場所というものか。そもそも、その2つの考え方は相容れないなのか。多分、ある人にとって同じものなのかもしれない。それはラッキーなのだろう。

もうすぐ卒業する私にとって、社会人になるのに対して、たしかに不安を抱えているが、就職と全く関係がないことを大学時代にしたのは後悔しない。後悔したくないんだ。

English

In my final spring break as a university student, I went to Tokyo for a job interview. Although this was my seventh trip to Japan, I was able to observe the typical Japanese office worker for the very first time – perhaps because I could actually imagine myself working in Japan. What came to mind was the stark contrast between the students leisurely strolling down the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku, and the average Japanese businessman working in the Otemachi district.

The very people who tried everything and anything in order to find themselves and express their individuality during their university days, would wear the same black and white suits, dye their hair black, and start their job hunt in the very same fashion when the time came. From where shall we start to understand such a phenomenon?

I then started to think about what the university is. For most Singaporeans it is probably a place where you pick up the skills needed for the workplace. But it is not necessarily the same from a Japanese person’s point of view. It is true that for many Japanese students, entering a good university is the gateway to getting a job at a good company, but from my interactions and experiences with them, it didn’t seem like what they studied at university mattered to them at all.

In this manner, I looked back at my own university experience. In entering a liberal arts college and trying out new activities,I probably wanted to find myself. When I first entered college I convinced my parents that the kind of education I would receive here would lead me to a good career. But now I wonder if that really was the reason why I chose to come here. Perhaps in some corner of my heart, all I wanted was to try the things that I hadn’t been able to try before, and find out who I really was.

How then, shall we think of the university? Do we enter it for the sake of our careers, or is it, for the first time in our lives, a place where perhaps we can seriously reevaluate who we are? Is it even right to divorce these two in the first place? These may be the same for some people, but I guess they are the lucky ones.

As a graduating student, I am still a little uncertain about entering the workforce, but I do not regret the things that I have done that aren’t in any way relevant to my future career. I don’t want to regret them.

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