When Times Get Tough, Keep Pushing Through





I celebrated a birthday last week with a friend on my program as well as a couple of Japanese housemates. When we got to the topic of our classes, my friend and I told them about our weekly schedules, daily homework assignments, etcetera. After our explanation, our housemates looked pretty shocked. They responded with comments like, “That’s so tough!” and “Wow, CET is really that difficult? I couldn’t do that”, and so on.

After being here for about three months, and from feedback I’ve heard from past students, I understand that this program is difficult compared to normal class schedules and study abroad programs. I’ve also mentioned this fact about CET in a previous blog post , but I clarified an important point about this program: even though it’s a lot to handle, what you receive in the end will be worth it. I truly believe this, and I hope others on this program do as well. I also hope that, even though this program is intensive, it doesn’t hinder interested students in applying.

Compared to three months ago, my Japanese has improved immensely. While there are times when I can’t understand a conversation, there are other times where I’m speaking in Japanese without even thinking about my response. If I compare the amount of work I’ve completed since arriving in Japan to the homework in my Japanese class in America, the difference is huge. For example, by coincidence, the CET class and my Japanese class in America use the same textbook. In the fall semester of the American class, we completed four chapters. For the CET class, in three months, we just finished studying our ninth chapter.

While the rewards for this program are great, of course there have been times of burnout. Last week seemed like one of the worst cases for me personally this whole semester. I remember one night where I worked on class assignments for about six hours, and it seemed like everything continued to keep piling up. I could tell my mood went down, and I also got sick by the end of the week. However, compared to that time, this week has been much better. Not only am I on track with my assignments, but I am completing them a day ahead of time. This has allowed me to balance out my workload rather than carrying that stress of completing so many assignments in one night, and I’m glad I decided to do this for myself.

The point I want to make here is that, not even just within the CET program, but with life in general, is that there are going to be tough times, but those times aren’t permanent. This way of thinking is sort of common sense, but I think it’s easy to forget. During those times where we have a lot on our plate, we tend to think that this is going to last forever. If you think about the next stage coming up while you are experiencing something like this, I find that the responsibilities feel easier to handle. Never remaining in a permanent state, we are always growing and moving with time, and once we have succeeded in passing through the rougher patches, the lighter times feel great.

Despite getting sick, I spent most of my weekend enjoying the cherry blossoms that recently bloomed! It’s a popular event in Japan to have picnics under the cherry blossoms and spend the day outside with family and friends during this time. With all the stress of school last week, it felt great to take the time to relax and enjoy my leisure time.