Though my job is a psychiatrist, I also work as a professor at a university, and I'm quite busy as I take part in various duties within the campus apart from teaching classes and doing research.
The other day, I was in charge of duties related to interviewing students, where I had to ask many pupils the kind of things they want to study in the future, the kind of jobs they are looking for and other questions. Before starting, I was a bit down as I thought it would take a long time and I'd be worn out.
But as the interviews began, my mind completely changed as it was really interesting to hear answers from the students. One of them told me they became concerned about how foreign workers who come to Japan are treated, after studying about labor issues. "How should we welcome foreign workers as members of Japanese society? I want to do a job that could help solve those issues," the pupil said enthusiastically.
Another student told me they were shocked to find out during class about the daily struggles of sexual minorities including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They are now carrying out interviews on such people and searching for the causes of the problems. The student dreams of working at a trading company, but besides that, they said they want to keep on thinking about issues surrounding sexual minorities.
I realized that a lot of other students are also studying and making efforts with the intention to do something for others rather than themselves. Such people do not even consider their efforts as a chance for business.
I've heard people describe students nowadays as practical, and that they tend to first think about how they can earn money or get a job in relation to their interests, but if nothing else, most of the students I talked with did not fit into this stereotype.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with a youngster having the ambition to establish their own company and grow their own business. It's not bad at all for such people to have the desire to become widely known in sports or creative fields either.
But in reality, there are a number of young people wanting to do something for others, especially for minority groups and people who are having to deal with difficulties in everyday life.
Those students may end up becoming occupied with their own affairs once they graduate and start working, or start thinking that they might as well become "winners" in society. But even so, I'm sure that the students' desire to help others will live on inside their hearts, and contribute to their kind actions and consideration. I would like to support the efforts of such students.
(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)