Sep 25, 2020
On behalf of everyone at APU, I extend my sincere congratulations to all of you on your enrollment.
Members of the class who enrolled in April 2020 are also joining us for today's celebration. It was very regrettable that we were unable to hold an entrance ceremony in April because of the coronavirus, but we can now celebrate both spring and fall classes in this joint ceremony. Once again, my congratulations to those who enrolled in April 2020, as well as those who are enrolling in September.
Originally, I hoped that all the new students and their families could gather here in Beppu with faculty, staff, and senior students to celebrate together, but because there are still many students unable to enter Japan, we are holding this entrance ceremony online. Even under these challenging circumstances, I am very happy that we can hold a ceremony to celebrate all of you who have chosen to enroll at APU. The faculty and staff of APU all join me in wishing you welcome. Naturally, until a vaccine or treatment is developed, we must live with the coronavirus. Classes and extracurricular activities at the university will need to be limited for now, but even so, APU is prepared to support all of you. If you have any problems, please let university staff know. I am both happy and excited to have you join APU.
I would like to talk to you about three topics today as you embark on your academic life here at APU.
First, the years when you are 18 or 19 are a very important time for developing study habits. According to modern neuroscience, your curiosity and your interest in learning are all at their peak at around 18 or 19. The foundation of learning at university is to acquire the ability to think logically. If you develop strong study habits during this time, you will be able to continue learning for the rest of your life. What's more, data shows that people who continue to learn for the rest of their life enjoy a richer life. I often say the way to learn is through people, books, and travel: Meet many people, read many books, and travel far and wide. I hope that you, too, develop a life-long love of learning. Above all else, universities are places of study. As far as books, I’ve created a list of books I would like you all to read. Those of you entering graduate school may be a few years older, but I hope that you also start your own lifelong learning by building on the experience and knowledge that you have developed so far as you pursue your academic disciplines.
Second, I hope you will discover your aspirations and interests during your time here at APU. APU is a small world; a “Young United Nations,” if you will. Half of the students at APU come from more than 90 countries and regions around the world, with different values, perspectives, and common sense. Surely, this is a microcosm of a global world. I think there is no better educational environment than APU for you to find how you want to challenge your life in the wider world. APU faculty and staff will do their utmost to support you in your learning and in tackling your challenges. The best life is one in which you challenge yourself with the things you want to do. Whether it is in academics or in extracurricular activities, find what you want to do, and challenge yourself.
Third, I want you to make friends. I think that friends are the most important and dependable part of life. And since you are here in a "Young United Nations," you can make friends from all over the world. When I am at a loss or am feeling down, without a doubt it was the encouragement of my friends that helped me. I believe that three things that enrich life are the feeling of lifelong learning, the spirit of challenge, and friends. I hope you will find and realize these three important things in your life at APU.
Once again, congratulations on your enrollment. My door is open; please feel free to visit anytime.
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
September 25, 2020