My name is Komachi, and I came here from Japan. I just finished my first year of college. Last year was such a big year for me because it was the first time I left my country. I took ten classes in English. (Here in the United States, not many people speak Japanese). Language, culture, school, friends… everything was new. I wanted to figure out a way to see how I’ve grown since coming to Fontbonne University.
To see how I have changed from last year to now, I looked back on my diary.
4/12/2019 I am always surrounded by really nice people and I am very happy about that. But recently, I’m very bored because I was super busy in Japan, and I really liked it. Now, I have a lot of free time. I don’t even know how to use it. Also, I go into deep thoughts about a lot of things such as what is life and why I am going to school.
10/20/2019 This semester is much better than last semester because I am busy every weekend. I hang out with friends a lot. Now, I have some friends outside of school. That is good because I do not like to be stuck at school every day all the time. Also, it is fun to talk with those people because I can get different kinds of knowledge from different fields. Studying is hard. The essays are never going to stop. Even if I finish one essay, the next one is already waiting for me. I get it. I am a student and studying is my work.
12/16/2019 Last Saturday, my semester was finally done. I’m really happy and glad to be able to finish this semester. I appreciate that I am here. At the same time, I got used to this lifestyle. Next year, I want to start something new and I need to think about my future more.
After reading through some of my diary, I interviewed my close friends Josephine and Anna.
Komachi― “How have my communication skills changed between now and last year?”
Josephine― “I remember when you first came here, your personality was really friendly, but you seemed unsure and you stopped talking sometimes, maybe to stop and think. Maybe at the time, speaking English was still new for you. Also, you were not confident in speaking English, I think. Now, you can speak more smoothly.”
Anna― “When you came here, you talked a lot, and right now, you still talk a lot. I would say after the summer break, I definitely felt your English skills increased.”
Komachi― “Second question: How did my personality change between now and last year?”
Josephine― “You seem to know part of being an adult is being more responsible. It definitely seems like you have been more concerned about how much you work out and are more concerned about what you are eating.”
Komachi―” You are right [laughter]. I am trying to be healthier from summer break. At that time, I did not take care of my body at all. That is why I gained thirty-three pounds during my first semester. That was such a hard time for me.”
Josephine― “[Laughter] I get it. You realized it, and then you fixed your routine. I think that is good.”
Anna― “After you got used to here, you wanted to get more connection with people who are out of school and you got it.”
Komachi― “Now, I can tell 60% of my thoughts are in English. If it is Japanese, I can tell to them 120% of my thoughts. I am struggling with that. I want to communicate more. Can you give me a solution to that?”
Josephine― “Most obvious is to speak more English and I would say ‘read’ the book that at least you are interested in. Developing your interpersonal relationships is also helpful.”
Anna―“Speak in English. That is the closest way to increase your communication skills.”
It took half a year to get used to this new lifestyle here. After that, I became more satisfied with my life. As they said, I became busier with friends and more adventurous during my first year. After I finish these interviews, I was surprised to find that my personality did not change a lot. One thing that has stayed consistent since last year is the importance of school. For me, that means going to class, doing my homework, and passing the classes. I used a lot of time on my school work last year. This year, I want to use my time not only for school work but also for my personal growth.
My goal is to increase my communication skills. I want to be a person who can tell 100% of my thoughts in English. As my friends said, “speaking English” is the key to increase my communication skills. Sometimes I am afraid to speak my thoughts, but I would never grow without learning from my experiences. I keep continuing to try even if it is difficult. Also, I want to try something new. I do not even know what the “something new” is, but once I find it I will definitely try it.
I’m already excited about how I can grow up throughout this year!