2021年度学位記授与 公衆衛生学研究科修士課程修了生代表 答礼のことば（2022年3月10日）
Sayo Tanaka Master of Public Health Student Representative, Graduate School of Public Health
When I applied to St. Luke’s International University in 2019, I never thought that the first time I would meet the majority of the faculty and student body in person would be postponed until here at graduation. COVID-19 has caused almost all classes to be replaced virtually and events to be canceled. It must have been the most unexpected for international students who wished to come not just to study, but to meet new people and explore Japan.
There is a quote from Dr. Seuss: “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”
Although the two years of graduate school were not in the style I expected, I can say with confidence that the experience wasn’t any less than the education before the pandemic. In fact, the unusual experience and adjustment have made us stronger in so many ways.
This was all possible because of the tremendous dedication and effort of the faculty, staff, and fellow students, who were flexible, understanding, and enthusiastic at the same time, even during restless times like now. On behalf of the graduating class of 2021, I would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Dean Takahashi and all the members of the faculty and staff for their devotion throughout our journey. I would also like to thank my classmates for creating an encouraging atmosphere that looked out for each other at every step of the way. The supportive faculty and friendly classmates, who all had a common goal, made learning possible by shifting to online classes from a very early phase.
I think everyone will agree that there were times when we wished for a normal school life. But here we are, completing all the courses, receiving “high-quality graduate education in public health that meets global standards for the training of professionals who can contribute to improving the quality of health care,” as stated in the mission of GSPH. We all deserve to celebrate and be proud of ourselves because we now hold a Master’s in Public Health. The world is still in the midst of a global health crisis, and we are all capable of taking on obstacles during this pandemic. The many challenges that we faced during our school life have never happened before, and we overcame them, making it worthwhile.
We have studied together sharing the same time, and now it is time to depart on our own paths. I believe that our potential to make this world a safer, healthier, and better place is enormous. Studying virtually not only got us a master’s degree, but also let us become masters in communication in various forms. I hope to maintain the relationship we built, in order to contribute to public health by enhancing each other even after graduation, wherever we are in the world.
Congratulations to everyone.