My final and best student life at Meiji Gakuin University


Jeremy Sugo excels at finding meaning and purpose in everything he does. Even when his goals change, he positively accepts himself and immediately engages in anything. He has engaged in his studies and his part-time job from that stance, and thereby solidified his ideas about his future. Here, he relates the mindset he arrived at after honing his English, law, and presentation skills.

Jeremy Takeki Sugo Fourth-year student, Department of Global Legal Studies, Faculty of Law Jeremy Sugo enrolled in the Department of Global Legal Studies from a desire to utilize his English language skills and learn how to use law as a tool to protect himself and his loved ones. He has been eagerly studying various areas in domestic and international law, including corporate, environmental, and EU law, and he participated in a seminar on criminal procedure in his third year. He has also had various part-time jobs, including being a tutoring school instructor and staff at a bridal company and a restaurant. His motto is “Goals over dreams.”

This is the place for me to learn!

While researching various universities, wondering which would best allow me to improve my knowledge of both English and law, I came across Meiji Gakuin University. After watching a video on the University’s website, I was impressed by the appeal of the Department of Global Legal Studies and the future goals of one of the students there, and I decided, “This is the place for me to learn!” Fortunately, I was able to connect with that student through Facebook. When I told her I wanted to attend an open campus event, she readily invited me that very day. For an open campus demonstration class, I participated in an international private law class taught by Prof. Miho Shin. We talked about the case of a German citizen committing a crime in Japan: which country’s law will such a person be tried under, Japan’s or Germany’s? As someone with a strong interest in crimes committed by foreigners, a situation expected to rapidly become more common as Japan becomes increasingly global, I found this demonstration class very interesting. I also spoke with students in the department and with Profs. Fumihiko Takahashi and Mitsuru Abe, who were present at the event, and I found myself attracted by the friendly atmosphere of the Department, which completely and positively changed my image of law as a stuffy field.

Growing through online courses

My college career started in April 2020 with online classes. I’d entered university thinking I wanted to spend time in friendly competition with my friends and instructors at the nature-rich Yokohama campus, so I must admit my enthusiasm was dampened. For a year and a half, I lived a life where my academic guidance, early courses, meeting friends, everything took place online. The more I thought about face-to-face activities, the more boring my online activities felt. However, I did my best to find my own purpose, telling myself that overcoming this tiresome experience will result in growth, that when I go out in the world I’ll have to do things I don’t want to do, so this experience will prepare me for that.

Most of my online courses consisted mainly of submitting essay assignments, so I ended up writing a lot of essays. It was hard work, but I believe it was a good experience for me to learn the basics of essay writing, such as logical thinking and writing a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. My courses also gave me many opportunities to speak out. Because of my name, my English instructors often called on me, asking for my opinion. I was nervous about speaking in front of a large group of students I had never met in person, but after a few times, I became more confident and aware of how I could get my point across. I have thought before about key presentation skills, but in the end, I learned that getting the hang of it requires a lot of practice.

I also learned many things during the spring semester of my second year, during which I was still taking online classes, but I still felt that nothing beats meeting in person. That was my honest opinion. But that feeling helped me to attain a special feeling for my face-to-face classes, which gradually started in the fall semester of my second year.

A recommendation for part-time jobs

What you want to do can change during the four years of your college life. I wanted to experience a variety of jobs before entering the workforce, so I devoted time to several part-time jobs, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. My first job was as an instructor at a tutoring school, where I taught language arts to junior high school students. There, I constantly tried to devise appropriate teaching methods for each topic, such as how I could make Osamu Dazai’s short story Run, Melos! interesting. I made a conscious effort to conduct my classes while confirming each student’s response to the extent possible, rather than simply lecturing to them.

My second job was as a wedding ceremony model at a bridal shop. There, I played the role of the groom for customers observing a mock wedding ceremony to give them an idea of what their wedding would be like. I also helped to staff wedding receptions. While working part-time as a wedding model became a routine job for me, each event was an important, once-in-a-lifetime occasion for those wanting to have a ceremony. Through considering how to do my best in my daily work, I learned many basic skills I will need when I enter the workforce, such as respectful, humble language and customer service skills. What I learned has already been very helpful, such as when communicating with professors in my university courses and friends I made in my department. I’m currently working my third part-time job, at an izakaya pub. There, I’m experiencing work in the kitchen and the serving area.

Through my part-time work experience I learned that I like to make people happy, that it warms my heart and makes me happy when others are pleased with my work. I also learned the importance of care, consideration, and presentation skills by thinking about what it takes to make that happen. I believe that teaching, wedding modeling, and customer service are all similar to giving presentations, in that there’s a limited amount of time to convey information to others and have them understand.

Mobilizing all of my experiences

Feeling that I had acquired a solid foundation in three areas—my English language skills, improved presentation skills, and an established mindset about my career—I focused on Global Legal Studies courses from my third year through the spring semester of my fourth year. Those courses allow students to study the laws of various countries in English, including private law, environmental law, and U.S. environmental law, and to present the results of their studies. While studying U.S. Environmental Law, I learned about U.S. cases in which federal and state laws solve legal problems differently. According to the establishment of federal and state laws, were the federal government to commit some injustice, state governments could do nothing about it. Writing down the applicable parts of two sets of laws required for resolving such issues and structuring them as a pyramid was very refreshing, and I felt as if I had been exposed to a new, three-dimensional perspective of the law. Classes were held later in the day, during the fifth period on Tuesdays, but I eagerly looked forward to each week’s class.

Another unforgettable course I took in the Department of Global Legal Studies was on corporate law. As a B-to-B case study, we learned how to conclude a contract for a project and conducted mock negotiations representing the sides of actual companies. Taking the concrete example of one company investing in another to construct a building, we divided into teams including a president, legal and finance department representatives, and a business strategist. Each team had six members and two to three weeks to perform thorough discussions within the team before negotiating with another. No matter how well we convinced ourselves, we had to explain our position in a way the other team would understand, and doing so requires a legal basis. It also required generally complex corporate law and a presentation in English. It was truly an experience that mobilized all of my previous experiences. The relief and joy I felt when I finished the presentation, completed the course, and earned the course credits gave me great self-confidence.

Law, English, and doing for others

After graduation, I plan to work as a flight attendant for an airline. Through my college studies, I developed knowledge of law, English language skills, and presentation skills. By working part-time, I also realized the preciousness of making people happy. Though I won’t be sure because I haven’t started working yet, I believe my career path after graduation will answer questions I have asked myself by combining all the experiences I had during my student life. We see airplanes in the sky all the time, so they feel familiar to us, but they aren’t nearly as familiar as trains and buses. The experience of flying on airplanes fascinates me, because they mix the ordinary with the extraordinary and cross international borders as well. I am also currently learning sign language and Spanish to expand my capabilities as a flight attendant.

A flight attendant is someone who can bring a smile to anyone’s face. I can say with confidence that my student life at Meiji Gakuin University, where I was able to establish this goal, was definitely my final and best student life. Now, while looking forward to graduation I will cherish the few remaining days of my student life.