Xin Yee Tee
Live in the moment
Message to freshmen who are going to Boston soon
Keep a diary
Conversation is like catching a ball
Before the interview
Xin: If you have been reading Biz Times before, you must recognize Ayaka, because she wrote many articles for Biz Times. She was the most active writer for Biz Times. Also, she was the only writer who told me how she wants her article to look, from layout to everything.
Before interviewing her, I was very excited about what she would tell me, about her Boston life. We know each other very well, we both belonged to wing 6, were in the same section, and both of us have taken the IELTS test and suffered a lot. That is why I have been looking forward to having this conversation with her. I know I am going to learn something from talking to her, as I always do.
Xin: Thank you for being here with me today! I would like to ask you to share your Boston life! But before that, can you tell me what you have been doing after we came back from Boston?
Xin: Yes, anything!
Ayaka: Since I came back to Japan I do not have opportunities to speak in English. But I really want to speak more in English, so I started my new part-time job in Ikebukuro in a “Izakaya”.
Xin: Izakaya? (Izakaya is a type of Japanese bar)
Ayaka: Yes, sometimes foreign customers will come and I often use English with them. I think it is a good opportunity.
Xin: But it must be a tough job, I heard from my friends that working in an Izakaya is very tiring.
Ayaka: It is tough. And I think I will not be able to continue this part-time job too long. Because from January, I will join the TUJ program, as you know. I will have to start in TUJ twice a week. It will be difficult for me to balance my job and studying.
Xin: Are you looking for a new job?
Ayaka: Yes! Tomorrow I will have an interview for a new part-time job.
Part-time job vs. Study
Xin: Do you think it is possible to take care of both a part-time job and studying?
Ayaka: Yes, it is up to your time management.
Xin: But how do you deal with all the reports and assignments? Because I have a problem that I can’t finish my reading assignment before class, even though I have not been working a part-time job. It is hard for me if I want to balance between part-time job and studying.
Ayaka: That’s true, I think so too. So, being flexible is very important to start something new.
Do you think it is necessary for you to study in Boston…?
Xin: Well, I’m doing a very simple survey, do you think studying in Boston is important to you? Will you say yes or no?
Ayaka: Must be yes!
Xin: Must be yes? Your reaction is the strongest one I have ever had so far!
Ayaka: Yes, definitely a big yes! Because I believe I have improved both my English skill and communication skill. Also, I’m not afraid of being alone now, I think I can stand it even if I am alone in my life.
I realized how important friends are to me. I challenged the IELTS test, as you know. Hikaru is my best friend, we helped each other and achieved our goal! Also, I realized the importance of my family. Like my mom, she always takes care of everything for me, like the household. I admired her a lot.
That’s why I think Boston life was awesome to me.
Xin: You are the third person I interviewed, and all of you tell me that you have realized how important your family is to you!
Ayaka: Yes, they really are.
Xin: So, how has Boston life changed you?
Ayaka: Emm…it is really a difficult question. I always know that the experience of Boston life will lead me to a shiny future, however, it is not something that I can feel and touch, now.
Xin: So it is not clear to you now?
Ayaka: Yes, I think maybe later I will realize the changes.
Xin: I think life in Boston was hard for you. You always worked so hard.
Ayaka: Yes, you too!
Xin: Emm…to be honest, I’m not sure if I worked hard enough. Maybe I should work harder.
Ayaka: You are always being tough on yourself, I think. Everyone knows you are a hard worker, but you don’t know how hard you have worked.
Human relationships in Boston
Xin: Actually, studying English was not my main purpose to go to Boston. My real purpose was to learn more about human relationships. At the end of the day, I asked myself if I achieved my goal, I think the answer is 50/50.
I think I was a success as a wing leader, I gained confidence from being a wing leader and was trusted by my wing members. But as a friend, as a people, I don’t know if I did good enough to build some friendships.
Ayaka: I think you did good enough.
Xin: I think I went to bed too early every day, that is why I lost many chances to communicate with my friends.
Ayaka: Friends in your wing.
Xin: Yeah. I think it takes a lot of time to build a real friendship.
Ayaka: But we hung out twice in Boston!
Does studying in Boston make your life better…?
Xin: Do you think your life became better after going to Boston? Or nothing much has changed?
Ayaka: Yes, yes!
Ayaka: Emm…I think I have learned how to treat people around me better. Also, I learned how to build a strong relationship with people. This is a precious to me, and I think this will relate to something in my future, which is very important.
I think we can learn a lot after we start working and become an adult. But no one will teach us communication skill or common sense. That is why it is important for us to learn human relationships or build some common sense when we are still a student. I have always been focusing on these things when I am studying in university.
Xin: Yeah, I agree with what you say. And I think you have done a good job for this. You have built some strong friendships with your friends in Boston.
Ayaka: Thank you!
Xin: But at the same time, you worked really hard in Boston. Do you think the class in Boston was hard for you?
Ayaka: Yes, it was hard for me.
I think the real challenge is to focus on studying when people around me are having fun. Many of my friends hung out after class with friends, but I had a lot of homework and presentations to work on.
It would be easier if people around me were doing the same things. In Boston, there were 2 types of students: people who work hard on studying, and those who play hard.
And within people who play hard, there were people who could study efficiently and there were also people who stayed up all night for homework. So, from those students, I have learned a lot about myself: if I doing things in an efficient way and what type of study style I belong to. It also helped me to find the best way to study for myself.
Xin: You make a very good observation!
Ayaka: Thank you! The environment is important, but if you are not in a good environment, you have to make yourself focus on what you want to achieve and what you should do now.
Message to freshmen
Xin: Before we end this interview, can you give any advice to students who are going to Boston for next semester?
Ayaka: Sure! Keep a diary!
Xin: Keep a diary…?
Xin: Can you explain a little bit more about your advice (Laugh)?
Ayaka: My advice is to keep a diary. Because communication is like…catching a ball. So, it is important to catch the ball that people throw to you.
Xin: Catching a ball, interesting!
Ayaka: And so, practice is very important. I think keeping a diary can be a very good practice for that. You can manage and think about what you really want to say. Even in Japanese, it is hard to talk and send your message to people correctly. In English, it is even harder for us. Therefore, we have to practice a lot.
From keeping a diary, of course we can memories a lot of vocabulary, and it also helps with your writing skill. More importantly, you will learn communication skill from doing that.
In Boston, there are many chances to talk to people in English. But you have to know what to say. So, I think keeping a diary helps you to build up your own topics and opinions.
I strongly recommend people to keep a diary while they are in Boston.
Xin: Well, that is all for today! Thank you and I wish you all the best in the future.
Ayaka: Thank you!
After the interview
Xin: As I expected, I have learned a lot from talking to Ayaka. To me it was beyond an interview. I think from the conversation, you can feel that she always sees things in an interesting way, and has deep observations on things that happened around her.
I think she will always be the most active author for Biz Times in the future, too.