Yuri Okura, who is a graduate of Tamagawa Gakuen and currently in her fourth year at Rikkyo University Law School, concluded this year’s Global Career Course. She spoke to the students on the theme of “The world and the self you can create by keeping on trying” based on her own goals and dreams.
“I have only been alive for four years longer than all of you, but as a senior who continues to work towards my dreams, I would like to talk about “how to find your dream”, and “how to develop your dream” based on my own experience.” Ms. Okura spoke with a bright voice and with a smile on her face.
Maybe because her age was close to the students, they listened to her words in a relaxed way.
She took part in various activities inside and outside of the campus during her time at middle and high school at Tamagawa Gakuen. She was involved in things like Round Square, English speech contests, English business contests, and so on. “I want to contribute to society as well” she said. Ms. Okura began to think strongly about her future after an encounter with Craig Kiel Burger, the founder of the international cooperation organization “Free the Children”.
She believed that the law is very important to change society, and decided to become a lawyer and entered Rikkyo University’s Law Department.
She participated in a women’s leadership development program presided over by the US Embassy, studying legal philosophy and gender in university’s seminars. She worked to establish a student organization aiming at developing a society where women can find their dreams and shine by building important events where people could learn and work together. She worked very hard on things that she was interested in, and expanded her activities even more at university.
“By experiencing challenges that were both big and small at this time, I was able to meet various kinds of people, have various experiences, and build a solid image of the future I want to create.”.
Then, after her experience participating in the United Nations Youth Volunteers in Fiji for 5 months in her 3rd year Ms. Okura was able to confidently decide her image of the future.
At that time in Fiji, where the rate of violence against women was high, a project to encourage economic independence for women entrepreneurs and to solve problems related to the issues was under its way.
Ms.Okura was working as a public relations officer at the United Nations agency and worked on recruitment and acceptance of volunteers, and she gained the opportunity to interview many Fijian women about what kind of entrepreneurship support was needed.
“Through the interviews, I saw many women who started their own work were shining. The way they live autonomously by making handicraft items looked like they were having fun and finding a sense of freedom. It was international lawyers who made worked to provide this type of entrepreneurship for those women.”
From this experience, Ms. Okura began to have a dream of “improving the world as an international lawyer by supporting women entrepreneurs”.
“I had been experiencing a lot of challenges challenges, but from then I began digging and working to achieve my dreams.”
After Ms. Okura returned from Fiji she decided to take a law school examination to make her dream of becoming an international lawyer come true. In addition, she applied for the Miss International Japan contest so that the profession of a lawyer would be something girls could see as a future career path and also to convey the importance of volunteers to more people.
As a result of practicing repeatedly and strengthening her speech skills and poise for the contest, she was chosen as fifth place for the Miss International Japan contest and also entered law school which she was aiming for. She moved forward steadily step by step.
“I think there are two stages to build a career; one is to “work for big and small goals” until your dream is found, and the second one is to “keep making big and small efforts” if you find your dream.”
Ms. Okura tried a lot of things and found her dream of becoming an international lawyer. Currently, she has set her goals as “passing the bar exam” and “passing the New York bar exam” and she is continuing to toward realizing her dreams.
“The last thing I want to tell everyone is “if you have a chance to do something, absolutely go for it! “. If you do a variety of things you will be able to see what you want to do and learn what kind of person you are. As a student who has nothing to lose even if you make a mistake, it is a great time and lots of opportunities will come to you! “
Her words were conveyed without hesitation and were full of confidence backed up by energy and the experiences she had.
“How can I have the courage to take one step forward?”
“What kind of work does an international lawyer do?”
“I want to do a lot of things, but I do not understand what I want to do …. What should I do?”
After the lecture, a lot of students gathered around their senior and many questions were asked.
Many students gained courage from Ms. Okura who responded to their questions seriously and with a sense of humor. They all left the room with big smiles.
Ms. Okura is continuing to do her best.
She has delivered a message of the feeling you can get by working toward your dreams to younger students who are considering their careers and futures.