You still with me? Good. Let’s get right to it then.
Take a good look into the pensieve and see what I did in 2016. It was a big year of changes and milestones for me.
I didn’t want to waste the tuition money, since I didn’t really need to take any more classes to graduate, so I took whatever I had left available. In my final semester at Rits I took 2 classes only and worked practically full-time, up to my visa allotment. I saved up money for graduate school, not sure at the start of the year where I would end up yet. Offers were consistently rolling in, but I was still trying to wait for a few remaining decisions before making my choice.
Ultimately, I ended up accepting an offer at the Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. It was a pretty big shock to me and my close circle that I accepted a program in the U.S., since I was pretty set on the U.K. but that goes to show you how life isn’t always predictable.
I spent the first half of the year enjoying my remaining time in Uni and Japan. It still hadn’t hit me that I would be leaving the country in just a few months, without an exact timeline of when I would be returning long-term. I finished up my last semester/year at Rits without a hitch overall, except the paperwork. Oh my god, the paperwork in Japan never ceases to astound me. I quickly lost track of all the forms I had to file just to graduate and get my documents in order. Don’t even mention the headache that was the official government and private company paperwork that I had to file closer to my departure just to leave the country.
I visited my friend in Southern Japan shortly after I graduated and we celebrated my graduation, acceptance into grad school, and to a new chapter in life.
I had multiple part-time jobs while in Uni, but there were two that I considered to the be my primary jobs. One was with Ritsumeikan’s grade schools, primarily with one branch of their junior and senior high schools. The students there were amazing, and I loved working with them. As I was closer in age to them than most of their teachers, I was more of a senpai to them, particularly since most of them intended to attend Rits University. I still am in contact with a good amount of them to this day and love to get updates from them about their lives, especially their adventures abroad and with using English.
My main job was with a private language school in Kyoto and I loved it. The students and staff there were amazing and truly like a family to me. I was extremely lucky to have experienced working in such an environment and it may be what has caused me to have such high standards for my work environment/employers currently. So far, no company, branch, or employer has lived up to the same standards and it has been one of the biggest challenges that I have had to struggle with these past 2.5 years.
I left Japan at the end of July and it was extremely heartbreaking to me. Japan is home to me and always will be. It holds a significant chunk of my heart and my identity. It was the hardest move I have ever had to do—and as someone that had always been on the move, this came as a huge shock to me. I set up roots in Japan; I grew; I flourished—possibly for the first time in my entire life. It was hard and it caused a lot of struggles for me when I moved to the U.S.
The remainder of 2016 was spent adjusting to life in the U.S., especially living on the other side of the country than I was accustomed to and adjusting to the U.S. higher education system. Grad school started in August. Unfortunately, I had to miss out on my graduation with Rits because it overlapped with starting my new program—Wait, what do mean we have daily homework assignments?! I was originally selected as Valedictorian for my college and had to pass up on the opportunity when I realized that I would not be able to attend the ceremony.
I took a week-long holiday to England in October with one of my best friends from Uni, along with attending a conference while there. It was a much-needed getaway for my mental health and just for R&R—even with the academic aspects to it! We got to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child live and made half of the trip HP related. If you don’t already know, I am a huge Potterhead, so this was a wonderful experience.
It was wonderful to catch up with my friend, who was also attempting to adapt to her grad program in Canada, and we got to meet up with some of our other close friends from Ritsumeikan while there. Everyone at Ritsumeikan kind of ended up all over the world and it is truly wonderful to see how diverse we all are and where we ended up.
2016 ended with me applying to various internship programs for the following summer and just trying to make it through my master’s program.
See ya in 2017!
Check out what I was up to here.