A Tough Road Ahead
I 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.