With the March 11, 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami, so much that we had always taken for granted fell apart. The future was uncertain, and we were as if adrift in a boat, feeling our way through thick fog.
Hope is hard to find in this day and age. Kierkegaard wrote that “Despair is the Sickness unto Death,” yet if “hope” is the opposite of “despair,” then hope can be considered the path of life. Lu Xun, often called the father of modern Chinese literature, ends his short story “My Old Home” with the following passage: “I thought: hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many men pass one way, a road is made.” As more people embrace hope, so is hope born for society at large. I know many students who took hold of their dreams during their time at University, and went out into the world with hope in their hearts. The power of hope unleashes the potential that lies dormant within these young people, giving them the strength to live and inspiring them to acts of courage and valor. It is those very times when the future is vast and unknown that hope gleams most brightly.
There is much to learn as a university student. Here at Meiji Gakuin University, we do our best to offer our students a variety of opportunities. For students wishing to study at overseas universities, we have an excellent study abroad system. Those interested in volunteering can become involved through our Volunteer Center, which we established well ahead of other universities as a leader in volunteer activities. These are merely examples. Seek out an active, positive student life and you will find countless opportunities. Cultivate your intellect, your physical strength, your communication abilities, your endurance, and all other basic skills. Most of all, no matter how difficult it may be, learn another foreign language in addition to English. Language ability is the most fundamental of foundations. When we study a foreign language, we improve our skills in our native language as well.
Meiji Gakuin is a university founded on Christianity. The Bible states, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Perhaps what is important above all else is learning how to love one another. We have to learn how to love to live as human beings.