Alumni Voice


“A pandemic is not the end of the world ~strengthening social skills while meeting less”

Seira Mizusawa

University student (Faculty of Law, Department of Politics)

COVID-19 has affected our lives in many ways. We need to wear a mask all the time, we cannot travel like we used to, the media warns us with reports of the number of cases and casualties. However, the biggest difference for me was not being able to meet people. I was supposed to start a whole new life at university, making new friends, learning knowledge only universities will provide us, and experiencing so many unknown yet exciting things. The pandemic has toppled all of my plans and has casted a shadow over what was expected to be a bright future. To be truthful, I have not been able to make use of the spare time created by staying home. Instead, I was overloaded with long courses and homework, and did not have any time to use for myself. I did not spend my summer vacation well either, as all I did was staying at home relieved by the fact that I did not have to worry about the overwhelming workload I experienced during my Spring semester of university. I was unmotivated, and my loneliness of sitting in front of the computer every day did not help my dissatisfaction.

 This changed with the beginning of my Autumn semester. It was announced that some lessons will be held on campus, and I was delighted that I will finally be able to make the most of my time as a university student. However, things did not turn out as I expected. Even though I started to go to university on some week days, it only seemed like a time-consuming burden on me because we were basically doing what we could on online platforms like ZOOM face to face, and I did not feel a significant need to take a risk and getting out of home. As I pondered why this was, it occurred to me that it was because I did not have any friends. I was not the type of person who could easily make friends especially if it is suspected to be a long-lasting relationship, but my face-to-face courses were the only chances of actually meeting new people. So, I mustered the courage and talked to people around me, which is not the type of thing I would normally do. With this I was able to make friends, and it was much easier than I suspected it to be, and my friends appreciated my actions telling me they wanted to do the same but could not find the opportunity to do so. This experience taught me that in a situation like this, we cannot just sit waiting for something to happen. We need to take action, and if we can do this, it will make a definite change, and even sometimes quite easily. After this, I have organized opportunities to chat on ZOOM or meet up a little before class starts so that we can get to know each other better. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I probably would not have been able to talk with so many people in my class or be the one to think of activities everyone can enjoy doing and inviting members. The fact that opportunities are limited motivated me to use them efficiently. These small events did not succeed at first, but I was able to learn from it and improve my skills of organizing and hosting them, which is a very valuable experience for me.

 This change has affected other aspects of my life as well. I started to attend ZOOM conferences which talks about social issues and try to connect with people who have the same kind of interests as me. However, I am not just jumping to all opportunities hanging in front of me. I have also learned to take a step back to think if it is really necessary to join or not. I have gained the ability to sort my priorities and choose my actions wisely, including rejecting offers. This has enhanced my skills to manage and use my time wisely.  The corona virus has had a negative impact on our society, but we can also consider it being a chance of our own growth. It is important to adapt to changes flexibly and change ourselves as well according to our surroundings, and this is also a good opportunity to use our creativity and think of what we can do and make the most of our time.





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