Eugenia A. Medrano
- Director, Continuing Education
- Temple University, Japan Campus
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 45 (as of September 2018)
My first encounter with Japan was in my childhood days. My father had a Japanese business partner who became a close family friend and always sent gifts from Japan that my siblings and I enjoyed. When I was 10 years old, my father took the whole family to Japan for a vacation (traveling on a Norwegian ship for a couple of days and landing in the Port of Kobe).
“Follow your bliss.” A quote from a famous mythologist named Joseph Campbell.
Life is often likened to the wheel of fortune, meaning that in life we have ups and downs. But if we put ourselves at the center (bliss) of the wheel rather than the rim, then no matter what life deals us we are in the field of our bliss. This has always guided me in making life decisions.
I am not sure if any great achievement stands out in my career. I have been in the field of education for more than three decades, first as a teacher and later as an administrator. The opportunity for helping students attain their personal or professional goals is limitless. I am happiest and proudest when former students happily share their achievements with me and I can think, “I was part of that.”
It’s funny that I am being asked about my goals, as this is exactly what I ask students while guiding them in choosing courses that could help them in their careers. I do come across some older students whose answer is, "I want to enjoy life and part of that is learning something new." I think I share the same feeling.
Of the things I've learned in life ... there will always be ups and downs — that's life. Remember to find the center of your wheel of fortune and stay with it. It will help you make decisions in life.
For newcomers to Japan and for those who don't understand or speak the Japanese language, make an effort to do so and interact.
Lastly, always maintain your sense of humor. It makes people around you relax and like you. Language barriers go down; plus laughter prevents wrinkles on your face!