Scattered Pieces

These are the words I held back

The Journey of my Faith

April 7, 2015. I was watching a TV show when I felt a sudden urge to check my school’s online portal for grades. I had been uncomfortable the past few days because my grade in Organic Chemistry, a subject I found difficult back then amidst hours of studying, was due for release. For days I had been praying hard for at least just a passing mark but it was not meant to be. I sulked about it for days because my applications for med schools were going to be affected and it was already the second time I flunked a class. I was so hurt by everything. My intentions were sincere and I was left wondering if my prayers just fell on deaf ears and if there really was a God in the first place.

April 7, 2017. Clearly April 7 is a significant day and I wonder what’s going to happen on that day in the coming years 🙂

Anyway I realized how petty I was two years ago for complaining just because of a failing grade. But that experience was not enough from preventing what was to happen.

My appeal for admission on my dream med school was rejected and I partly blamed the Lord for it. I knew I was at a disadvantage. I didn’t have superior grades from my college years and from the medical admission test but the Lord somehow gave me a shot at the interview (which is I believe where I blew it) and then on the appeal. Usually applicants are no longer qualified to the interview phase if they score low on grades. I was crying out to the Lord that maybe he shouldn’t have given me a chance to be interviewed at all if His plan did not include me being admitted to my dream medical school.

So I was at it again. I heard Mass but I was only physically there. I took the Holy Communion but I never prayed for anything. I also declined to take part in the praying of the rosary whenever my parents asked me to pray with them.

July 11, 2017. I have not given up on my faith and I have learned so much from those two experiences as well as everything that accompanied it. You don’t always get what you want in life and there’s always a reason for that. It won’t make sense in the start but the answer will come in time. Sometimes we never get the answer and it’s simply the trust in Him that keeps one going in life.

Personally life gets simpler once you stop expecting too much. After the appeal was rejected, I pleaded one more time to show my dream med school that I really wanted it there. Still, it wasn’t granted but I am alright thanks to a good social support system. They helped me not to expect to a fault and to see what has happened in a different light. Maybe my current med school is a sign that is where I will shine the brightest? Highly possible especially since I have felt for some time now that the Lord is pushing me into this direction.

Talking to the Lord has become more meaningful. Lately I have always been praying that things turn out fine in med school and in my personal life for the next four years. Guidance, assurance and comfort have been the main themes in my prayers and it makes my life more manageable to a significant extent. The extremely heavy feeling in my chest and heart goes away and I usually find myself feeling better after praying. At night talking to Him helps me calm my nerves especially if the heavy feeling is back.

More importantly I learned that strengthening one’s faith will have to involve questioning it at one point in life. Darkness will always precede the light and it will continue to do so until the end of time.

Likewise I do not expect to be in the light for long. I will stumble again inevitably especially now that I am entering a new phase of my life. There will be new bumps, both the expected and the unexpected, along the road and the questioning and doubting will start all over again. Despite these, I remain calm.

But I know myself. I will break down once life presents to me its newest challenge, one that I have never encountered like before, but I want to remain hopeful and optimistic that everything will be alright in the end. I just have to trust the process and remember it in my heart that the saddest, most challenging moments also have a meaning in life and are also opportunities for one’s faith to grow and mature.

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11th Hour

Med school is just a month away and I can’t stop thinking about what’s gonna happen in the next four years in terms of basically everything. Social life, grades, resources, time management, rest, the people I love. Everything.

I’ve visited a lot of websites giving tips and I’ve read them all. I know med school will require sacrifices such as sleepless nights and less time with family and friends. I know that the material that will be tackled in med school will be tougher and longer, making the establishment of good bonds with classmates and batchmates a must.

I have also been acquainted on the background of my med school. The school has a high attrition rate due to its high passing rate at 75%. This means that you need at least 75% just to pass a subject and anything below that places you at a danger of becoming an irregular student. The 2016 freshmen population, which started out at 700, has now been reduced to just 550 after one year. The rest have either become irregular students (with failures) or dropped out of the school. And it doesn’t end there because it only gets harder and harder as you go up the ranks.

Classes start at seven in the morning and end at four in the afternoon more or less. To top it off, lunch break isn’t really lunch break when there are shiftings, also known as quizzes, in any subject. The hour long break becomes 30 minutes when shiftings are scheduled. Students will really be on the losing end since there’s barely enough time to study and squeeze in adequate rest given the schedule. Time management of the student will be tested greatly.

Needless to say my med school is tough and I wonder how I’ll make it.

My batch, 2017 freshmen batch, has a population of 869 students and it is expected to reach 900, leaving me overwhelmed. The school isn’t that big and I wonder how everyone, including the upper batches and the other courses (we share the school with students from Physical Therapy, Medical Technology and some other courses), will fit especially during lunch breaks. Where do you go for some peace and quiet in the campus when you’re all cramped up in the cafeteria, the library or the hallways?

I guess that is the part where you will have to come together as a batch. Websites giving tips keep on saying how it’s crucial to come together and help each other out for so many reasons. You get to study together, you share resources and you pull each other up in the process. That is also something that gets me thinking all the time. By now I am pretty sure everyone here knows I like to veer away from the crowd. I like to be alone or sometimes in really small groups of friends. I like the idea of helping each other out, but I have to be realistic about myself. I like being alone and independent as it enables me to have a better focus on my studies. I can try my best to be supportive IN CLASS I guess, but it’s gonna be a different story outside of it.

Then there’s the academic load itself. I have been doing some advanced reading as early as late June to get myself familiarized with the material. Doing it has given me an idea on how I should develop my study habits when I officially start med school. The material isn’t entirely new, but not easily understandable. The pace in my advanced reading will not be enough if I don’t want to get left behind (1 chapter per subject), but I don’t wanna force it right now. I am, after all, still in vacation mode and I want to enjoy the last month with my family because I know I will be spending less time with them soon.

It makes me so uncomfortable especially with the unpredictability of life. All I know is that my parents will continue to work day and night for the next four years just to support me in my studies. The rest we leave it all to fate. Last month my cousin, who is a senior at my medical school, lost her father. The tragic part is that he was so young and lived a simple and healthy life. It was all so unexpected. I get so crippled with fear when I realize it can also happen to my family. On dark days I feel like a helpless child attempting to dispel the negativity to no avail. Sometimes it seems easy to just quit early but I can’t do that. Everything that I have done since 2013 will lose its purpose and I can’t just let my dreams die. I actually broke down one day and revealed this to my parents, who promised me that we will all reap the rewards of my hard work in med school after four years.

All these reservations boils down to my desire to be a good provider while doing the thing that I know will make me happy. I’m entering med school because I want to be a doctor and being a doctor places me in a win-win situation. My being a dermatologist/psychiatrist will allow me to have a sense of fulfillment within myself and I can provide a good future for my parents and special sister along the way. I am willing to bite the bullet and get broken by med school. All these for family. I just hope we all keep safe. Unfortunately that’s out of my hands and I’ll have to leave it all up to God and believe that everything will be alright.

On to the next hurdle

Med school is coming up in a few months and there are two things that I can’t stop thinking day by day: getting over the anticipated demoralized phase and the adjustment phase

Anticipated demoralization. That’s what I call it after accepting my fate that I will not be studying medicine in my dream school. Don’t get me wrong, okay? I am demoralized right now, knowing that so many of my friends will be studying in top medical schools or their choice of medical schools while here I am forced to stay in this one medical school where I don’t even see myself being successful.

But that’s one half of the equation. What I’m anticipating (but hoping it won’t happen) is when things finally become too much for me and I just start losing it. It’s the point where everything comes crashing down. The heavy workload of medicine in general, the lack of rest, the feeling of loneliness (maybe), the realization that most of your friends are in better medical schools, the realization that you’re not really a bright person.

In my mind, the logical side of me is telling me not to make a big deal out of this whole situation.

“Hey, self, don’t think about the whole “you’re no good” just because you’re in this school while others aren’t. Our goal is to become a doctor, not a branded doctor. Does it really matter if you come from a particular school? Well maybe now it does, but in the future? I don’t think so, man. We’ll all be doctors no matter what! Chin up, man!”

I’m completely aware of that and I think it’s a good thing that there’s a part of me that’s already looking on in the future.

But I also can’t just ignore the reality of the present.

There’s also me thinking about the adjustment phase because we all know that medical school = new environment = new people = adjustment…again. I have already accepted the fact that I don’t possess the qualities that society wants. I’m not outgoing, people oriented, very involved in the real world and I definitely don’t see myself doing something about it soon. I just wonder how long it will take me to adjust to a new environment. Also how am I going to adjust? Am I going to be that person who will desire company but will also be a slow to warm up person? Or am I going to be that independent person who will be seemingly better off on his own (but not really)?

Only time will tell.

A Questionable Decision

Yesterday I received an email from one of the medical schools I applied to, the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH). I was able to qualify for the interview phase, but was unable to make it to the final list of accepted applicants for the coming school year.

I immediately made a letter of appeal for reconsideration after seeking advice from a current professor in the ASMPH. I submitted the letter to the Admissions Office on March 13, 2017 and I regularly called their hotline to get updates. I was informed that decisions on appeals will be emailed personally as soon as the committee has a decision hopefully by April 5. On my second call, I was told that they will probably email decisions to those who appealed (not accepted) and to those who were waitlisted (accepted, but placed on the waiting list) at the same time.

Personal take: ASMPH, shouldn’t you be approaching the waitlisted applicants first since they are technically accepted? Why consider granting admission to those who appealed and to those who were waitlisted at the same time? Isn’t that unfair to the waitlisted applicants?

Fast forward to April 7, the day I got my rejected letter of appeal. Here is the email from the admissions office stating why they cannot grant me admission:AdmissionsEmail

ASMPH rejected my appeal for reconsideration primarily because of my overall admission score not meeting their cut-off. Well, ASMPH, isn’t that the point of making an appeal for reconsideration? Applicants present new information that the admissions committee has yet to know about when writing an appeal. Usually these kinds of information are ones that could provide an angle as to why the applicant ended up with his/her credentials. Anything that was not typed on the application form that the applicant believes can help overturn a previously made decision. If the appeal is successful, rejected applicants are moved into the waitlisted pool of applicants.

When the ASMPH mentioned the overall admission score, it appears that their admissions committee never took into account the contents of my letter. The overall admission score is already a given and that is what probably led to me not making the final list of accepted applicants in the first place. This is exactly what I am appealing about and yet you’re using this as the reason as to why my appeal for reconsideration has been rejected.

Then there’s that reason about the slots being filled up by the accepted applicants. If all the slots were filled up by the accepted applicants, then why are you still entertaining appeals from rejected applicants?

I talked with my friends about this and I got some interesting information. My friend, Anja, has a friend who was previously waitlisted. I found out about this through her tweet before talking to her about it.

Ysa2

My friend, Anja, confirming that her friend Ysa got waitlisted

Ysa

Anja tweeting about her friend, Ysa, finally making it to ASMPH after being waitlisted.

 

Based on my friend’s tweet, it’s safe to say Ysa was informed about the change in her status from waitlisted to accepted by April 3 4:10pm

At this point, I will no longer put names of my friends in order to protect my identity. I decided to talk to my other friend who was also waitlisted and congratulate her since I was assuming that the waitlisted applicants should have been approached by now. It turns out, however, that it’s not so.

Friend1

My other friend telling me she got waitlisted in ASMPH

Friend2

Her email from ASMPH

Friend3

April 7 5:15pm and she hasn’t received an email from ASMPH about the update on her waitlisted status

 

Lastly, another friend, let’s name this friend as TS, texted me that she has a friend who received an email from the ASMPH the same day I did. Her friend was also rejected but is now given a chance to be admitted to the ASMPH.

Trix1

TS telling me her friend, who was originally rejected, sent an appeal and got moved to the waitlist pool

Trix2

And she says her friend just got an email from ASMPH the same day I did.

With these images, it is clear that something is wrong in the ASMPH’s system of taking in applicants for the next school year. I can accept the rejection on my appeal as I know my credentials aren’t exactly excellent, but this whole experience leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The admissions committee could have just said that a second look at my credentials was done with respect to the contents of my letter of appeal. They could have just said that they still can’t grant me admission without the reasons they stated because in the letter.

The ASMPH is my dream medical school and I am positive others have the same sentiment and are also going to great measures to get into the ASMPH. However, with the latest developments, I can’t help but feel disheartened by the ASMPH’s recent actions.

Sorry to say this, ASMPH, but I think I deserve better than this.

To the one who always feels lonely

Everyone has their own fair share of ups and downs in life. For some people, however, it feels as if there’s just too much sadness in their lives. You may feel as if your existence is defined by the pain that only subsides once you temporarily leave the realm of consciousness. It may seem as if the soul is wandering along a tunnel in what seems to go on and on.

These feelings are valid; they will always be. We are all going to get hurt one way or another, which allows us to feel our own pain and nurse the wounds inflicted to us.

But I want you to know that you never have to be alone in this journey. You are also allowed to cry for help. I know it seems like a daunting task, but I need you to trust me on this. Speak up and don’t ever mistake your reluctance to open up as a sign of weakness. It’s not, my friend. It is rather an act of courage because you choose to face whatever issie you have inside by going out of your comfort zone and by trying something different.

There will be times when no one seems to be listening amidst your pleas for help. Don’t let this dishearten and further dampen your spirits. I need you to hang on and keep fighting. Because in the end, I can assure you that everything will be worth it. Sooner or later someone will  hear you crying for help. It could be  your family, your friends or perhaps even a complete stranger. It can be anyone! I can also assure you that they would want to help you see the light amidst the darkness that seems to engulfs your existence in this world.

Again, I ask you to acknowledge your pain, cry for help and hang on. After all, you never give up on someone you love despite the circumstances that threaten to take you into free fall. That someone is none other than you. Don’t ever give up on yourself and on your quest to be happy and full of life once again. Don’t ever think you’re not making any progress because you are not alone, even if you believe you are. I want you to tell yourself that there is at least one person out there who cares for your well-being. You have me and I hope you will always remember that.

Take care and start smiling, my friend!

With love,

My Thought Depot

1814081210-walk-with-the-knowledge-that-you-are-never-alone-quote-1

Images from:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitney-caudill/being-single-how-to-handle-loneliness_b_3461062.html

https://www.f5quotes.com/download/5PcwIzL

 

Lost In Life

Yesterday we went to an outreach program hosted by my aunt. The event took place at a public home for girls who were either picked up from the streets or left by their parents who could not take care of them. When we arrived, they were all in the mess hall having a snack and they were just about to finish. We spent a couple of minutes watching and entertaining some of the kids before we all went to another room where the program was supposed to be held.

Inside, my aunt formally introduced all of us (my family, her family, another uncle and another family from her husband’s brother) before having a mini speech dedicated to the kids. Once that was done, we watched all of them perform several times before giving out the donations.

The kids were so full of energy! There were a number of kids who caught my attention in particular. The first was a young girl who was involved in almost all of the performances. I swear she could be a professional dancer if she would just continue dancing and performing at the level I saw. Then there’s this young girl who may have Down Syndrome. Apparently, she was there because one of the houseparents of the public home was working. Maybe the houseparent could not afford to leave her home, I guess. Lastly there was a 15 year old girl named Aya. They named her Aya because all she could ever pronounce “Ay”. Apparently she’s been staying there for 8 years already. They found her wandering in the streets one afternoon. They asked around the place where they found her but no one claimed to know her. They even made headlines just to find the kid’s parents but to no avail.

Thinking about all these stories makes me sad, but hopeful. I believe they are there right now because they can’t survive outside. Inside the public home, they can be taken care of. Someone will attend to their needs, ensuring that there’s a balance between leisure and work. Inside, they can get to study, do different household chores, strengthen their value formation, be taught catechism and relax. By adopting this mindset, I was able to be optimistic towards what was happening to them.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same to what is happening to me. At 20+, my life still has no purpose. I still have no purpose while others are starting to find or have already found meaning in their lives. It makes me jealous of everyone around me. My dad organized a similar event for his 50th birthday and another aunt and her entire family organized the same event for children with special needs. It must have been so uplifting for my dad and my aunt’s family to do such a thing. And what about me? What have I done to contribute to the world? Nothing.

I want to do something similar to what was done. For once, I want to stop getting caught up in my own world. What I’m feeling and going through will always be valid, but I see that it’s going to be unhealthy if it’s all going to be about me for the rest of my life. Focusing primarily on myself won’t bring me satisfaction and happiness, but maybe I can find what I’m looking for if I step out of my own boundaries. I’m thinking of spending a day with kids with special needs as well since we have special kids in the entire clan. By default, I’m a serious person and I would often try to be as rational as possible. With them, however, everything is thrown out the window. It’s really emotional fireworks around them like cuddling, hugging, tickling and saying words of affirmation. More than that, I feel like I have a connection with them. When I’m in their presence, it’s like everything is calm and serene. Communicating with them doesn’t become a task that entails responsibility, but an enjoyable activity that comes so naturally over time. (I’ll dedicate a post about my affinity for special kids in the future).

I don’t have plans of telling my parents about this. If I do, my dad will find out and I’m only going to be overwhelmed. I don’t want to be continuously nagged about the topic. I don’t want to be reminded about my goal all the time when others think I’m starting to forget my goal. I don’t want to be continuously told what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. I want things to happen without generating pressure and that’s going to happen if I plan with the help of my mom and maybe possibly my aunt and her family.

For now I just plan to lay low. I’ll probably wait for a few months before I open up to my mom about this.

Everything in its own place and time.

Image from: https://talahado.wordpress.com/2014/01/

Quick Update

Hi all! I apologize if I haven’t been updating my blog for the last two months as I have been busy juggling academic work, org work and most importantly my preparations for the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT).

Anyway, the NMAT took place last Sunday which means I now have more free time on my hands. Hopefully I can update you all regularly with the latest development (I actually do plan on writing a new blog post right after this quick message).

That’s all and hope to see you around!

For The Sake Of My Future

Yesterday, I went to school to pass a letter signifying my intent to take extra classes for the first semester. These classes are going to be credited but are not going to be part of my degree since I already graduated with one. The deadline for such requests was last June 30 but the staff said I can still submit a letter for the dean’s approval. However, they said that there is no guarantee of acceptance since those who submitted past the deadline had their requests rejected.

You might ask why I’m planning to enroll again when I should be glad that I am finally done with college. One reason is for the pleasure of personal enrichment. Counseling Psychology and Hypnosis, the classes I plan to take, are two interesting topics for me. Back in my undergraduate years, I was not able to take these electives due to conflicts in my schedule and I had to settle for a different elective.

The bigger reason is I need to join student organizations in order to have a fighting chance for application in my dream medical school. To join organizations, however, would mean that I have to be enrolled in the school.

When I found out about this, I had contradicting decisions. One half of me wanted to forget about it because it would mean spending more money for tuition. Instead of spending, I could probably earn money by looking for a part-time job while I wait for med school classes next year.  The other half of me wanted to go for it because I want to have experiences in student organizations. I don’t want my interviewer during med school application to ask me if I became active in org life and I would be saying “No”. That would really pull down my chances of getting into that med school since my grades, one of the biggest factors in deciding who gets in, weren’t that high when I was still an undergraduate.

I was so undecided with what to do that I had to talk to some friends. I asked a friend for suggestions on what orgs I can join. She suggested that I join a particular org that teaches catechism because the people there are very friendly and welcoming. She also said I won’t regret I won’t join. I was inclined to join this org since of all the orgs she mentioned, this was the one where she sounded really thrilled and excited. She was messaging me in all caps all the while complete with emoticons. For the other orgs she mentioned, it seemed as if she lost the enthusiasm so I could really tell that she loved that org that teaches catechism.

This led to me ask another friend. I had to ask advice whether I should join that org or not because my mind is closed when it comes to religion or anything holy. I don’t want to be unfair to the vision of the org by joining simply for the people in it. I think that I am being a hypocrite if I teach something I don’t believe in. My friend said that I should give it a try. She said she was in the same situation and she eventually found herself liking what she was doing because of the people in the organization she joined. This was when I started mentioning all of my personal reservations. I mentioned how I can see my socially inept personality will ruin everything for me. That my awkward behavior and resting bitchy face will push people away from me therefore inhibiting the forging of friendships. Ultimately I envision myself being alone in the org and not being able to enjoy its activities.

From this point on, things got very emotional between us which is extremely uncharacteristic of me since I don’t let myself appear vulnerable in front of friends. Painful memories of the past were relived and were associated with my present internal state. In the end, she told me that everything will work and that I shouldn’t lose hope. With words of encouragement and a late realization that I am already thinking of the scenario on the assumption that I will be able to enroll (which is wrong), I decided that I would give it a try by writing  a letter stating my intent of enrolling again.

Now here I am typing away and waiting for approval. The school staff said I would be able to find out today if my request is approved or not. I actually plan to call as soon as I finish this post but I don’t want to think that my request is going to be approved. I believe that the reasons I mentioned for enrolling again are not worth considering given that I submitted way past the deadline. Besides, I also think it could be done in another time maybe next semester. Still, I don’t want to be completely negative about the situation.

 

Ghost of the Present

Sometimes I’m just really tired of living because of the different layers of negativity clamping down on my soul. There’s the complicated dynamics I have with my parents, the frustration I have with my friends and then recently the death of a good friend.

For now, the issue with my friends and the death of one friend are what currently bother me. I am heavily frustrated with the way my friends have been treating me. It feels like I’m not a very significant person in their lives judging from the way things have been turning out. There’s my  blockmates aka my first set of friends in college who were in the same course as I am. We were basically together until I had to shift courses. My time with them was greatly reduced and very limited time was spent (like only meeting in the hallways for fleeting moments) and this went all the way up to graduation. I only got to talk to them for a long time only when graduation was done. I met two when we were at a restaurant having lunch. During those times, we talked about current issues like politics before exchanging grad pics with specialized messages. Another one I talked to on Messenger with promises of hanging out after so many years.

I was really happy that I was able to talk to them again and also because I was touched with their specialized messages at the back of their grad pics. In the end, however, I was disappointed not just with these people I met but with everyone. This is mostly due to what I saw on Facebook. Another block mate hosted a graduation party and I found this out only when the party was soon going to take place. Call it low but I was really expecting that I was going to be invited. This guy, after all, was also my friend back in high school. There was no invite yet one of my thesis mates, whom he has known only for the year, was invited.

Another source of my disappointment was from the fact that the promise of hanging out was never fulfilled. I could ask and follow up again but my past experiences with that remind me to do otherwise. It will never push through. In the end, I did not do anything. I just simply let it as it is because she would remember her promise if my time with her really matters. Now that I’m looking at our messages again, I can say that they’re just empty words. Including the specialized messages that they all gave to me because their actions seem to contradict what they said in their messages to me.

There’s also several friends whom I consider close because I have been consistently opening up to them about my secrets and hidden feelings. I often fill them in on what has been going on with my life and now I am beginning to regret doing so. I want my secrets back if I don’t see them doing the same to me. I’m not expecting them to tell me everything but at least give me a general gist of their life. I am, after all, interested to know how they have been doing lately. But there’s none. I know nothing about their lives since they’re not talking to me.

Again, it is so frustrating. The way I regard them as a friend is not the same as to how they regard me as a friend. I am honestly thinking of slowly moving away from them. Truth is I have begun to unfollow their posts on Facebook and I have also begun to turn off chat because I am only going to get hurt and jealous when I see the next post that shows my friends being together. As for the chat messages, I’m turning it off so as to avoid conversations that will simply lead to empty promises. Besides, we are all going different ways now that college is over. I don’t see any reason to be filled in on their lives especially when I won’t be seeing them again.

It’s not that I don’t care about our friendship anymore because truth is I really do. I had always tried to get together with them but somehow the plans end up not pushing through. Common excuses include unavailable due to school work and also due to personal commitments. I don’t blame them for that, okay. I can’t take that away from them but I do believe they can suggest to meet on a different day. I mean you’re not always busy, right? But there were no suggestions. Each conversation I picked up simply ended like “oh sorry I’m busy on that day”. No “but I am free…….are you free on that day?”. Nothing.

And that is why I choose not to do anything this time. Because I know what’s gonna happen. I will get my hopes up and then it will only be crushed later on.And I have had enough of having to go through that. So goodbye, friends. Last week was pretty much our last meetup. You will no longer hear from me except on Twitter. From now on, I will simply be a ghost friend to all of you. You will know I am around but you will never see me nor hear from me.

Thank you for all the memories. It was fun while it lasted.

PS. I will talk about the other issue on a different day. It’s getting late and I have an early class tomorrow. Besides, I don’t want to put in two very different stories in one post since this post will end up being too long.

A Tough Road Ahead

redbrickI am all alone in my room where no sound can be heard except for the steady humming of the AC unit and of course the sound of my fingers typing on the keyboard. As I look around me, I cannot help but be unaccustomed to my environment as I keep on looking for chaos in my room. I expect my bag carelessly laid on the floor and several piles of readings and notes scattered on the bed but these are nowhere to be found.

That is when I remember that I am officially done with college save for grad practice and clearance. Unknown to everyone else, the thought saddens me greatly as I am about to leave my second home in over a month. The school means so much to me especially because of so many memories, both sweet and bitter, associated with the place. It was the school where I experienced what it was like to be part of a minority, to feel emotionally isolated from most people and to experience tons of heartbreaks/failures along the way. However, it was also the school where I was able to find real friends, to be more frank and assertive, to always try to strive to be better and to learn from all my mistakes. There was happiness, sadness, love, heartbreak, success and failure.

More importantly, however, there was growth. Now I am able to find meaning in all those heartaches I got academic wise and non-academic wise. My failure in Organic Chemistry paved way for me to retake the course and have a better understanding of the subject matter. In a way I am thankful for the failure because had I passed it the first time, I probably would not have remembered anything about Organic Chemistry. With this, however, I am proud to say that I can still remember a lot of reaction mechanisms and technical terms which I think will be helpful for me as I begin my review for NMAT.

I was also able to address my personal imperfections over the years. I came into college as one who was highly insecure about oneself. I used to feel that the world revolved around me and this was evident in the way I interacted with people in social media. I always felt that people were always referring to me whenever I would open my account to see negative posts. I was also a person who often needed assurance from people. I entered college with pressure as I was accepted on a special condition and expulsion would be the punishment if I failed to carry out my task. Because of this, freshman life was characterized with pressure and I nearly gave in during the first semester. It had come to the point where I was beginning to doubt my capacities but with the right people and environment, I was able to pull through and make it all the way to senior year.

Lastly, the school taught me to be more human in a world where it so tempting to be cold and impersonal because of life’s atrocities. It is here where I take pride at the fact that the school required us to take 12 units of Theology and 12 units of Philosophy.

My philosophy courses gave me an explanation as to why things are the way they are in life. Now I know why the people we see seem to act like robots whenever they are at work. Now I understand why people can become very impersonal and objective when placed in different institutions. Now I know why death should never be feared. Now I know why religion isn’t always valued by everyone. Now I know where people could be coming from when they attempt to reason out in situations where morality/ethics may have been violated.

On the other hand, my theology courses taught me the Catholic way of what it means to be a human person. Here, I found out what it really means to love my neighbors as well as to know what faith really is. These courses provided me the blueprint of how I should deal with sexuality, marriage and family life. Most importantly, I was educated on how we should be men and women for others. It’s not just ourselves who we should really be looking after especially when we have everything to achieve our dreams. Our marginalized neighbors, on the other hand, have the opposite conditions. These are the people who have so many needs and are crying for help yet we continue to ignore their pleas until now. Theology imparted a message that it’s about time this changed and our responding to their needs with compassion is a good starting point.

In the end, I see studying in Ateneo as a gift and a curse. It is a gift because it really brought out the best and worst in me. This school pushed me to strive to be the best and the people I met inside were responsible for bringing this about. Thank you, school officials, friends, professors and even the workers of the school. I learned about so many things and it’s not only limited to Theology and Philosophy.

But like I said before it is also a curse. An education in Ateneo is rare and unique. I think there is no other university that has the same style as Ateneo’s especially in the required Theology and Philosophy courses. It was ME who will be equipped with the knowledge that will bring about the desired change in society but NOT EVERYONE ELSE. Sadly, I will encounter people from the real world, the workplace, who won’t have the same values as I do and I can’t blame them. After all, we will all come from different schools and so the concepts I learned in Ateneo may not have been taught to them. And that is tragic.

Despite this, I think all hope is not lost. We may fail repeatedly in trying to bring about change especially when we don’t have much power to do so but I believe the most important part is someone has been educated and that would be US, the seniors from Ateneo, and it is imperative that we continue to try instilling our values and not lose hope because we are society’s only hope.

Thank you, Ateneo, for the wonderful four years of education. Rest assured that I will not let everything go to waste. I will fight and I will not lose hope.