iUniversity Tokyo (iU), which opened in April of 2020, recently celebrated its second year! Unfortunately, last year’s entrance ceremony was not held in person, due to the pandemic situation.
However, on April 1st of this year, iU was able to hold an entrance ceremony. Before the ceremony, I was thinking, “It is been a year since I entered iU, so what is the point of having an entrance ceremony now?” However, after the ceremony, I realized that I was glad to attend. Yet, perhaps due to the influence of the Covid-19, those who attended did not spend much time at the ceremony.
Regrettably, I was not able to listen to the “President’s Song,” which I was personally looking forward to hearing. I was able to hear the Chancellor’s and the President’s speeches in-person for the first time. The band “Shonen Knife” gave the audience lots of energy. Also, I was able to hear the iU school song for the first time live on stage. We all had a great time together. Most importantly, because it was over a year ago, I had the opportunity to celebrate the hard work and effort of the school for making this come true. During the past year, all staff and students worked tirelessly, more than I had imagined. It certainly made me realize, once again, how amazing iU is.
Now that I have reminisced about the entrance ceremony, I would like to look back on my first year as an iU student. And, if I had to sum up my experience and impression of the entire first year in one sentence, it would be: “It was more fun than I had expected.” Of course, I struggled with some things, for example it was my first time to take online classes. Yet, that was the start of my iU life.
Actually, it took me a very long time to get used to learning via a computer. It was also my first opportunity to talk with new people online.
“Building relationships online”
When you first try, it is not as easy as it seems. However, now that I am used to learning online, I have learned that it is easy to hide yourself. You can hide who you really are. So, I wondered how I can build relationships with people in such a situation. Still, it has been great to have friends who care about me and with whom I can share my problems with. I feel that it is important to cherish such encounters and to also learn to break through any online barriers, without fear of being invisible to others. I am truly grateful for my friends.
Now that I’ve talked about my struggles, let’s talk about the classes.
In the past year, the classes at iU were full of surprises. First of all, I never got bored in my online classes! I had a strong feeling that university classes would be boring —just listening to the lessons. But, at iU, this was not the case at all. Most classes are student-centered, self-directed, and group oriented. This kind of active learning environment for students is very good.
Secondly, I have felt that there is an emphasis on real-world learning. My prior image, of typical university classes, was one focused on rote-learning and pursuit of specialization. However, at iU the emphasis is on pragmatic useful learning. Certainly, one of the biggest examples of this is my ability to follow the class goals. I mention this, because I am not normally very good with certain subjects. In high school, I could not even keep up with my math classes. Yet, at iU, I enjoyed learning math in my classes, because of the practical approach. Faculty facilitate classes on displaying how knowledge is actually in society, and how to analyze and understand mathematical formulas. However, this type of learning is not limited to math classes alone. Faculty teach practical skills that we will help students when we enter into society.
Lastly, it is about the creation of innovation. There is a class called “Innovation Project” (IP) which was recently ranked by iU students as their “most favorite classes.” This course, offers students the ability to plan, create, and practice innovation. Unlike other classes, students actually create their own projects from simple ideas. I find this fascinating, and I think it is the reason why this class was ranked number one in iU.
(more information is here)
“Innovation project”, the most popular class
The iU philosophy is “Enjoy change, learn by yourself, and create innovation”.
In our classes, we follow the ethos of “learn by yourself” and “create though innovation,” as well as “enjoy change.” During my first year, I think I was able to enjoy the changes I experienced such as becoming a university student and living the university life online; even though it was painful.
This year, I will become a sophomore. I would like to enjoy new changes that will come my way, and I would like to live a rich college life, while making personal changes. A change that has recently occurred, is that my classmates have changed. I do not know several students, in my new classes. However, I would like to enjoy innovating something new in my new environment and creating new relationships!