Japanese Wellesley Student Writes About Her College Experience for “The Japan News”

Kaori Hayashi speaks with a friend
September 18, 2017

Wellesley’s emphasis on the power of women is a major reason Kaori Hayashi ’20 decided to leave her home in Japan to attend the college. Now in her sophomore year, she said that, although she was a bit uncertain at first, she’s had absolutely no regrets about her decision. 

Hayashi, in a recent article in The Japan News, wrote that Japanese people often have a negative impression of higher education at an all-women’s school. “However, it has a significant impact that even I did not imagine, teaching women to be major influences in making differences in the world,” she wrote. “I witness student organizations led by women, physics and math classes filled with women, and alumnae working as leaders of companies and political parties.” Hayashi added that when she started at Wellesley in the fall of 2016, she was “stunned” by the enormous emphasis Wellesley puts on empowering women.

Hayashi said that Wellesley allows her to pursue her combined interests in the traditionally male-dominated fields of neuroscience and philosophy. She said that if she’d attended college in Japan, her potential might have been thwarted by social pressure.

“As I realized the comfort of studying what I want to and taking leadership in the community, I realized how pressured I felt when I was in a coed environment,” said the student who dissects sheep brains, records neural excitement, and reads and writes papers about the reality of time. Hayashi told Daily Shot writers that, at Wellesley, since there are no males in her classes, she feels much freer to pursue academic excellence and success.

Hayashi also told Daily Shot writers that she is engages in a wide array of conversations that she would never have in Japan. “I talk about sensitive racial, sexual, and class issues, things that would never arise in my homogeneous home country,” she said. “But it’s these kinds of conversations that really bond people, not in a superficial way, but a genuine way. I am accepted exactly as I am. And for the first time in my life, I can say that I feel comfortable pursuing what I like and being who I am.”

Wellesley College is a place where she can be her true self in a beautiful environment, Hayashi wrote in The Japan News. “Wellesley’s motto is Non Ministrari sed Ministrare: Not to be ministered unto, but to minister. The place you belong might be somewhere you can truly believe in the power of women.”

See Kaori Hayashi's article as it appeared in The Japan News.