3 Things I Want To Tell APU (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University) Students Before I Graduate
Hi guys, I’m Shen, a Malaysian blogger.
Last week, I attended the class “Introduction to APU” as a guest speaker to share my experience with freshmen in APU. It had been 2 years since I last attended it.
I’ve learned a lot of things from “Introduction to APU” and APU environment. Because I really wanted to repay something to my uni, I accepted the offer with no hesitation. 🙂
I spent times to organize my thoughts and experience. Finally I concluded it into 3 things that I really want APU students to know. I know this is just my personal experience and perspective, but they are the things I sincerely hope all APU students can know.
English has been my biggest difficulty. Please bear with my poor English. ^^”
3 things APU students should know:
① Find your value
② Love people
③ Input -> Output
Who is Shen?
Just for your reference to consider if the things I say here can be applied to yourself or not. I will write down my past experiences.
After high school graduation,
- 1 year in Tokyo Japanese language school
- 1.5 year in a Japanese company in Malaysia
- 4 years in APU
- During APU, 1 year exchange in Kyoto Ritsumeikan University.
These are the jobs I have done before.
- Convenience store staff
- Restaurant waiter / kitchen (multiple restaurants)
- Translator / interpreter
- Chinese / Japanese teacher
- Purchasing department in Japanese company
- Japanese Marketing for golf course
- TV show collaboration
- Online Advertisement
- Tour guide and tour coordinator
- In APU, I have done RA, SA, TA, basically all A lol
- 13 times Multicultural Weeks
I received the Ando Momofuku International Scholarship in 2012. My current major activities are Naruhodo Blog, Shenlimtv YouTube channel, and tour guide in Japan. Some of my recent activities are, a collaboration with a TV show in UK (scheduled on air in 2015), and travel package arrangement for my ShenLimTV viewers.
For my future activities, I will try out different things to spread international love to the world by delivering the fun of multi-cultures and languages.
3 Things I Want To Tell APU Students Before I Graduate
① Find Your Value
I have made this kind of video before. “What Is Your Value?”
The meaning and purpose of studying at college differs from person to person. Some people may study for professional skills, some people for knowledge, some people for networking. For me, I go to college for 1 reason, “Find my value”.
Still remember my friends said this to me after a long time since we met.
“Hey Shen, you changed!”
“Before, you tried out everything, like everything! but it was hard to see a core for everything. Now, you seem to have a core. And you decide what to do based on that some kind of standard in your heart.”
Ah I see. I think the “core” my friend was talking about is, “value”. I had been asking “What should I do?” for the past years, trying to find something I want to do.
But when I noticed it, everything I did, had no consistency.
This is my opinion. I do not think asking ” What you wanna do?” is the right question. I think we all should ask ” What you wanna be?”
If you are finding something you wanna do, when you get it done, you feel satisfied with the fact that you have done it. However, defining what you wanna be, on top of that, decide what you wanna do can prevent you from being satisfied with just 1 thing done. Because there are thousands of things you have to do to become the person you wanna be.
Tree of Life
I pasted this drawing in my room. I call it “Tree of Life”. :p
Root = 「Belief」
Trunk = 「Value / Vision」
Branches = 「Career / Things you wanna do」
Leaf & flowers = 「Rewards」
Fallen leaves = 「Warning that reward will fall down 」
I used to do only the branches. I do RA, TA, participate all kind of multicultural weeks, I wanna make film, create a web service, work for big company, earn big money, bla bla bla… The things I wanted to do were just irrelevant to each other.
Of course, I learned a lot of things from doing those activities. But if you ask me “what you wanna do with those experience?”… hmmmm…
Well, the trunk was not grown well in the first place, of course you will get lost in your future.
Luckily, I found my trunk. It is “Spreading love to the world by telling the fun of multi-cultures and languages”.
My YouTube videos provided me the chance to find my value. As I make videos on YouTube, I receive many comments and feedbacks from my viewers. Then I came to know what I’m suitable for, and what I’m not, what I like and dislike, etc. It’s like a mirror. I was able to stare at myself because of my YouTube videos. (This relates to the 3rd point, input -> output)
Finally I found it. I love multi-cultures and languages!
Anyway, I decided to make it my trunk. Once the trunk is decided, the rest becomes easy. Whenever I get job offers or invitation to join certain activities, I ask my self,
“Does it match my multi-cultural value?”
If not, I don’t do it.
If yes, you ask me to do 1, I do 10 for you!
Try to ask yourself “What is my value?” Then put it into words, make it 1 sentence. Tell people about it, decorate it in your room, include it into your school paper, where ever you go, make it known by others.
There is a term in Japanese 「言霊」 (Kotodama, the spirit of language). Language is amazing. It influences our mind, trigger our action. The action we take will make our words into reality.
It’s okay even though you don’t know if it’s your right value. Just make it up first. Looking back now, I still remember I made up a fake value 2 years ago, just to apply the scholarship. I said “I wanted to become a film director, make films which deliver the multi-cultural message to bring peace in between Malaysia’s different ethnic groups.”
Amazing right? 😀
② Love People
I always tell my friends this example. People change because of 2 reasons: read a good book, or met a good person.
I always hear questions like “what is good about APU?” The answers can be English & Japanese bilingual classes, taking leave of absence from school only for 10k yen, chances to improve language abilities, etc.
However, the best thing about APU for me is, “People”.
The people here are not the normal people. They are people from over 80 countries all around the world!
Try to recall those episodes in your life which have made some big changes to you. Don’t you realize that every time you decided to make a change, it must have been inspired by somebody’s words or behavior?
What changed me?
In fact, I decided to start my YouTube channel because my German friend told me this.
“Shen, you are a happy person. You should try the entertainment industry! You can make a difference.”
I decided to make my blog because my Malaysian friend told me this.
“Shen, I envy you so much. You live in Japan! Write down your Japan story, I will be your first reader!”
I could become a tour guide in Japan because one of my video viewers told me,
“Hey Shen, you wanna try to be a tour guide? I’m sure you can make our guests happy!”
Every time, I started a new thing because of somebody’s hint. That makes what I am now. In this international school APU, we can expect more amazing people!
I Changed Her Life?
A Japanese girl visited my hometown Melaka in 2011 spring. 1 year later, she decided to go study abroad in Canada. 1 year later, she decided to write her thesis about “Chinese Malaysian society”.
“I was really shocked by my poor English ability when I visited Malaysia. I decided to go study abroad in Canada because I want to be able to talk with my Malaysian friends next time I visit.” She told me.
“Because Shen’s friends are all very nice to me. That’s why I decided to research about Chinese Malaysian society.”
“I want to make a business in Malaysia one day.”
Oh my god! I can’t believe the 1 week Malaysia trip had influenced her life decision so much. Really touching my heart.
We never know when we will meet a person who gives us hints to make a decision to change our life.
To love people, you need to be curious about people. There are over 80 countries students in APU, in other words, there are over 80 different “common sense” in APU.
Are you sure that thinking with your common sense is correct? 80 people with 80 different standards, in APU, we don’t have “common sense”. This is the best part about APU.
The more you know, the better chance you see a different world. Knowing a different culture and language is a good start.
I have made videos with Taiwanese, Japanese and Indian, Mexican, German so far.
Love Talk with Japanese Girl
Taiwan Chinese v.s Malaysia Chinese
Hinglish v.s Manglish
Malaysia vs Germany vs Mexico – Animal Sounds Challenge
I received a lot of positive comments like this through these videos.
“I feel like going to Japan! I wanna study abroad in Japan!”
“So happy to see Taiwanese & Malaysian getting along well with each other! I want to know more about Malaysia!”
“Wow I didn’t know about Hinglish. I want Indian friends now!”
These messages are curiosity! My curiosity towards Taiwan, Japan, India has triggered more curiosity from others. Imagine in 5 years, 10 years, or what ever years, if one of these commentators really do come to Japan for good, that is a new possibility for Japan!
Being curious about people, can create new possibilities that you don’t see. 🙂
③ Input -> Output
Everybody has people we respect in our heart.
Look around us. Movie stars, author, entrepreneur, professor, seniors, classmates, etc, there are many great people around us, right?
But have you thought about this question? What do they have in common?
1 thing I can safely say is that, “they are people who do a lot of output”
Pass It On
I was inspired by a quote in the movie “Lucy”. It says that 1 thing we human being have been doing since ancient times is to
“Pass it on.”
Don’t you agree with this phrase? Look at our daily routines. What we are doing is exactly to pass it on to the next generation, isn’t it? In other words, we are doing our best to make a better world for next generation.
I believe the great people we admire are doing good things for others. That’s what makes us admire them. They are not only doing input (improve themselves), they are also doing output (contributing).
We have been educated to “input knowledge” throughout the 12 years education since kindergarten. Don’t get me wrong. Input is very important too. Without quality input, we cannot have good output.
What I’m trying to say here is that, many people tend to aim for college graduation, without realizing their potential to output during their college times.
Actually college students are at a perfect stage to start outputting. But somehow, we lose our confidence by thinking that “we are still students. It’s not the time yet for us to do big things.”
Remember those great entrepreneur who made their giant company in their college time? Apple? Facebook? Microsoft? They all dropped out from college. They challenged their output during college times. I’m sure you can find more examples in various fields, not only IT industry.
The “Hikitsugi” Culture
Japan has a very good culture – Hikitsugi (handing over one’s duties). For example the part-time job in a convenience store and any organizations you belong to. Japanese people tend to pass their experience on to who is going to take over the job. They make manuals, checklists, memo, arrange meeting with the next person in charge.
We don’t need to be in a hurry to output something. Because as long as you try to pass your experience on to the next person, you are doing a good output.
Of course things like starting up a new organization, new company, are very great output too. But to be honest, not every one of us can do such a big move, right? In my case, I choose to write blogs, make YouTube videos to share my perspective and experience. There are a lot of methods to output.
Just think “what can I do to pass my experience on to the next person?”, then everything you do will be a great output.
Try to observe those people you respect / admire, I believe you can observe their effort of passing something on to others. 🙂
3 Things Are Connected
It seems irrelevant but actually everything is connected.
I am a person with full of curiosity. I like to make new friends, learn new cultures and languages. There I met somebody who told me to start outputting my Japanese stories.
I started my blog, YouTube channel, tried to output something useful to others. In the process, I started to realize what I like and dislike, what I’m good and bad at, through the feedbacks of my audience.
Yes, I found my value.
When my value is decided, I became more enthusiastic to input and output more stuff relating to my value. I started studying media knowledge and languages, and make videos related to them. There people who share the same value with me gather around me. I guess this is what they call “birds of a feather flock together”.
When good people gather around me, I get hints from them and make new step again. This is exactly the cycle I’m experiencing right now.
Because I love languages and cultures, I think the best method of output for me is to write it down like this. I sincerely wish APU students, or soon-to-be APU students can read this article and get to realize these 3 points.
① Find your value
② Love people
③ Input -> Output
Of course, reading books also provided me a lot of hints to change. I would like to recommend 3 books that changed my life. They are:
① 「The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People」 ー Stephen R. Covey
② 「Rich Dad, Poor Dad」 ー Robert Kiyosaki
③ 「僕たちはいつまでこんな働き方をするのか？」ー 木暮太一 (This one is a Japanese book)
Please feel free to read them if you are really interested. 🙂