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Entrance Ceremony for 2019 Held
On April 1, 2019, Aoyama Gakuin University held an entrance ceremony at the Aoyama Gakuin Memorial Hall in Aoyama Campus. AGU welcomed 5,131 new students including 4,585 undergraduate students, 330 graduate students and 216 professional graduate students. At the ceremony, President Yoshikazu Miki gave his final welcome speech as President to the new students. He began in English.
"Dear incoming students, congratulations on starting your new life at our university. On behalf of Aoyama Gakuin University, I would like to welcome you and congratulate you on your enrollment while sharing my heartfelt joy with your family and all others concerned."
(In Japanese) I know I probably should carry on in English, however my ability of English prevented me from expressing my true meaning and as this will be my last speech as AGU President, I will speak to you in Japanese.
At my previous address to new students in 2016/17, I stressed that the democratic system can easily fall into populism unless members of the public such as yourselves can make sound judgements using accurate information based on academic research. I mentioned that because the voting age was to be lowered to 18 years old in Japan.
Then, at the last year’s entrance ceremony I urged new students to consider three specific tasks to be achieved by graduation; i) reading at least 100 books every year, ii) getting certificates relevant to each student's area of study, and/or iii) taking part in study abroad program AGU offers with some 150 partner international institutions. Vice presidents and myself explained these tasks in German, French and Chinese at the time. We did so because we wanted students to understand there were numerous languages spoken in the world other than English.
I would also like to add here that AGU will launch our first Legal Interpreter Training Course this year, starting things off with Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. This is a collaborative program with the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Now, what should I tell you this year at your entrance ceremony?
There is no doubt that how you spend the next four years at AGU will determine the rest of the long lives that await you. You have two choices: to spend the next four years working hard, expanding your potential, and enjoying a fulfilling life after graduation, or to spend the next four years just having fun, barely scraping by with grades just good enough to graduate, and spending the rest of your life struggling. The choice is yours.
You will find at Aoyama Gakuin University numerous keys to open the door for your future. I really do hope you find a key. One of the best ways to discover a key is through our lecturers. If you come across a lecturer you find fascinating, do find out his/her research area. With luck, you may come across a lecturer who researches hard and give an interesting and unique lecture. Read his/her research paper. You might find an aspect of yourself you never knew existed.
Studying at university is exciting and fun. Human beings only know a fraction of universe. Why are we here? What is life? We still don’t know. Please follow your instinct and curiosity, and find lecturers who will inspire and stimulate you.
Outside our campus, there are many things that will stimulate your everyday life, too. If you observe them with honest and open-minded eyes, they will benefit you. But if you look at them insincerely and selfishly, they will corrupt you. It is a fine line. Find things that will nurture and help you to grow.
Lastly, some of you might want to take on a part-time job alongside your academic work. As one last word of advice, I recommend avoiding it if at all possible. Every year, there are always some students who work part-time, causing their day-night cycles to become out of sync, neglect their study, and ultimately are unable to make it to graduation. These students have sold the most precious time of their lives for a paltry wage of 1,000 yen per hour—what a waste! Please cherish these four valuable years to come. Then you can live a life of promise and fulfillment after graduation.
(In English) "I earnestly hope that your four years here at Aoyama Gakuin University will be an invaluable and unforgettable experience, and I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations and warmest welcome to you all."