Don't let your guard down

Friday, July 2, 2021


Before we know it, we find ourselves in July. Vaccinations at Mita Campus, which started on June 21, are proceeding smoothly. According to the KEIO UNIVERSITY COVID-19 WORKPLACE VACCINATION INFORMATION PORTAL, 31,400 people have already made reservations as of July 1. From what I've read on the internet, the whole process seems to be well organized and very efficient (even though I haven't gotten mine yet). As stated in the announcement by the Keio University Infection Response Center for COVID-19, vaccinations are not compulsory, but voluntary and at the discretion of each individual.

Some courses that were originally "on-campus" at the start of the spring semester are now being offered in classrooms again. I was also able to see my students in the classroom for the first time in about two months. During the semester, we had to make adjustments due to the frequent changes in the course format, but it was still nice to see (in-the-flesh) students and colleagues on campus. Walking around the campus full of greenery in the midst of the sunny rainy season is especially relaxing.

But we must remain vigilant even now. I am very concerned that with the starting of vaccinations, many have become lax in their ways. Entering the campus through the designated gate, wearing a mask, and being careful when eating and drinking with others. We must continue to follow this set of rules to prevent infections. In addition, if you test positive for COVID-19 after undergoing a PCR test, a report must be made to the Health Center. This will be followed by various exchanges, so please deal with these in a responsible manner.

Unfortunately, there have also been reports of complaints. Some students, perhaps in reaction to their stifling environments right now, are engaging in selfish, undignified actions. Often this involves causing a ruckus at gatherings involving the consumption of alcohol. In the most heinous cases, this can involve being rushed to the hospital after drinking too much, and behaving abusively towards the medical staff treating them. This is just too shameful.

As you well know from experience, one's day to day actions will ultimately come back to haunt you in one way or another. We have to keep an eye on each other and be patient for just a while longer.

On the other hand, I feel that our campus life would not be complete without the time to meet and talk with others. There are many ways to foster new connections, but "seminars," where we meet faculty members and students through common research themes and approaches, play a particularly important role. There is no doubt that these experiences will broaden your life as a student. In particular, I think first and second-year students are looking for opportunities and ways to learn about these seminars.

The Seminar Syllabus, which will give you a clue about what seminars are, is being prepared for release in mid-July. When the Seminar Syllabus is released, please take your time to read through it (it should contain information about course requirements, etc.). Individual information sessions may be planned, so it is best to contact the faculty member in charge or the members at your affiliated department.

And I expect that the next few weeks will be especially busy with the submission of end-of-semester assignments. I recall that this was a hot topic last year. As I traced my memory, I found that at the end of June last year, a document titled "Problems with online classes: For faculty and staff members" compiled by the Student Counseling Room of Keio University was distributed. Around this time last year, just two months after the start of online classes, I compiled a list of students' comments about their problems.

I went back and read the document again. While I'm sure that some of the problems have been resolved through the experience of the past year, I imagine that the situation of "having a lot of assignments and feeling overwhelmed by constant deadlines" is making a comeback. Although teachers also need to be considerate, pay great care to the content and due dates of assignments. Notifications may not always be received. In addition, changes and corrections may be added depending on the situation. Please check SOL (Class Support System), the Keio University Student Website, and your e-mails frequently.

When we feel pressured about an assignment, we tend to think only of ourselves and forget to care for others, or we become desperate. Don't keep it bottled up all by yourself. Talk to someone about it and you will feel better. (The SFC Wellness Center provides counseling services for students on issues not limited to concerns about assignments.)

Well, tomorrow is the Tanabata Festival. I'm worried about the weather, but I wonder if the fireworks will go off without a hitch. Let's forget about our assignments for a while and look up at the summer sky together, even if it's through a screen. This should leave you feeling (somewhat) refreshed and ready to face the remaining weeks of the spring semester. Don't let your guard down.