What If I’m Not A Fighting Maroon?

There are nights when I wonder about what my life would be like if I accepted the challenge to be an Atenean or a Thomasian. Tonight is one of those nights.

Hey, being a Fighting Maroon is a privilege, but I can’t help but imagine life in other schools. So in this blog post, I will weigh the pros and cons of studying in Ateneo and UST.

What would my life be like if I studied in the Ateneo De Manila University? Well, based on my friends’ stories, I would probably go through:

  • Katipunan traffic (since kindergarten, man)
  • tough Math (THE HORROR);
  • tough English and Literature;
  • a lot of org(s) activities;
  • the struggle of getting my QPI at 3 or above;
  • wearing my ID even if I’m not in the campus;
  • short walks when classroom hoping;
  • free cuts because of a holy mass;
  • studying AB Communications to be a teacher
  • NSTP on Saturdays; and
  • having a bloc (and all issues concerning clingy or irritating blocmates) until sophomore year.

No doubt, Ateneo is a great school. It’ll probably help me transition from a pampered high school student to a confident young adult. The problem is, Ateneo’s tuition is…demanding. It’s like taking two years in my high school for one academic year in ADMU. Sure, there are scholarships, but my family’s background may be a bit of a barrier for me to get a scholarship. My grades aren’t enough for any academic scholarship. So finances is one reason why I’m not attending college at Ateneo. Another reason is that it’s not my dream school. If I had to choose from the three schools that I passed, I won’t choose Ateneo simply because it’s not my dream school. Period.

Now, what would my life be like if I studied in the oldest extant university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas? Well, based on the stories of my mom’s friends (some are UST alumnae and some have children who studied in the university) and not my friends (because I have no close friend in UST), I would probably go through:

  • traffic everywhere going everywhere;
  • “swimming” just to get out of school;
  • countless ghost stories;
  • uniforms;
  • seeing the same faces until I graduate; and
  • life in my original dream university in my dream course (secondary education).

UST is still part of the Big Four (UP, ADMU, DLSU, UST), but its students are often underestimated when applying for jobs where there are many competitors from the other three schools mentioned above. But I didn’t consider that when I chose to abandon my UST dream. What I considered is the fact that España Boulevard in the city of Manila is far from my house in Quezon City. No doubt, Ateneo and UP are closer to home. I was practical. Besides, I can always shift from BA Journalism to B Secondary Education once I get into UP. And hello, many tried to get into UP but failed. I succeeded, so why not take the opportunity? So I abandoned my dream of being a UST Tiger, and chose to be a Fighting Maroon.

I mentioned what would probably happen if I studied in other schools, but one thing is not for sure: would I be on a leave of absence for a whole academic year if I went to either of the two schools? Well, I guess not. Why? I feel like I would have more interaction with people in both schools. I bet there is pressure in getting into organizations, but I guess applying for orgs isn’t as tough as it is in UP. I can still be an activist in my own way in either of the schools. My life could have been better if I became a Blue Eagle or a Growling Tiger.

Every time I filed for an LOA, my mom would tell me that she thinks that not entering UP would have made my life easier. But I guess God has a plan for me in UP. I just don’t know what it is yet, but I know UP will make me a better and stronger person. Besides, I don’t need to graduate on time. I need to take my time.


Change of Plans

I am no longer transferring schools. I’m staying in UP for now. I hope you guys who expressed “concern” for me are happy. But to make things clear, I didn’t do this to please anyone. I did this because I am not able to transfer schools this coming semester. I am already bored at home, and I want to go to school already. I also consider the incident of not being able to transfer a sign for me to stay in UP.

Well, UP, here I go.

Wide Awake and Torn

My family and I went to a wake tonight. It was my aunt’s helper’s mother who died. But I’m not going to talk about death here. I’m going to talk about something else…rather someone…me. See, my aunt’s helper has a nephew who happens to be a UP freshman like me. We chatted about school a little bit, and then I ended up telling him and his mother about my plans of transferring to another school. Of course they felt like I’m wasting my opportunity. Who wouldn’t feel that way anyway? And so I told them this: I have a problem.

As I lay awake in bed tonight, I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I didn’t have that problem.I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I didn’t file for a Leave of Absence. I am kept wondering what my life would be if my mind is still focused on being an alumna of the nation’s National and State University. I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I never knew that I was depressed and bipolar. I am kept wondering about my whole life at the moment, and what could have happened instead if things went my way.

Could I have survived the org application of one of UP’s famous organizations? Could I have been a College or even a University Scholar last semester? Could I have many friends in school? Could I have handled the academic and emotional stress that my freshman year brought to me?

Transferring back to the school that raised me is my plan as of now. I just couldn’t take the emotional stress UP has given me. And I’m just in my freshman year! Of course the plan of transferring brings me pain, but the comments of people have on my decision pain me the most. The people giving comments without knowing my problems are piercing me in the heart without them knowing. It gives me so much pain when people judge without knowing the story of someone, especially if the “victim” has done nothing wrong to anyone. (I may be a hypocrite here, but it’s true.)

And so I lay awake, thinking, teary-eyed. Am I being too protective about myself? Am I not taking risks? Am I wasting an opportunity given to only a small percentage of the Philippine population? Am I being selfish? Am I being selfless? Am I making the right choices?

Sometimes I feel ashamed of transferring back to my old school. It’s not because of the school that I’m transferring to, but because of my “weakness”. People may see me as a weakling, and I accept that. I, too, think and know that I am still weak. That’s why I’m undergoing psychotherapy and taking medications. I just wish everyone knows this.

And so I lay awake, mind torn, heart broken. I’m off to my psychiatrist tomorrow. Maybe she can help me about this.

…or maybe this post is a fruit of my new medication?

Heaven + Hell = Earth

Being in a relationship feels like heaven and hell at the same time. Heaven, because of obvious reasons. Hell, because of relationship problems, personal insecurities concerning your partner, and other priorities. By other priorities, I mean school for us teens.

Being in school feels like heaven and hell, too. Heaven, because we get to meet new people and we get to learn the ways of the world. Hell, because of obvious reasons. Come on, why do we hate school?

Now, if you put being in a relationship and school, specifically college, together, what do you get? Earth.

Why Earth? Well, life on Earth is heaven and hell at the same time. You get both the good stuff and the bad stuff, one after the other, sometimes even at the same time. Balancing school and a romantic relationship is an earthly thing. There’s no such thing in heaven or in hell.

Now, how is it like balancing romance and college? I’ll answer that by telling you the story of my first semester of college.

Being the weakling that I am, I had a hard time adjusting to UP life. With the school nights came requirements and tears. Requirements came in naturally, as professors were required to have concrete basis for our grades. What I didn’t expect were the tears that rolled down my cheeks every night. Not being able to read the readings for the next Kasaysayan meeting was why I shed tears at night. And so I confide with my knight in shining armor, Kelvin.

The good thing about having a love life in college is that when you are close to giving up on your work, you have someone to push you to do better. You have someone who will inspire you to work. After all, don’t you want a future with your partner? So you’d work harder for the future of you two as a couple, or even as a family. You also gain a study buddy, especially if you and your partner are from the same school, let alone the same batch or same course.

There came a time when Kelvin would be the one to confide to me. See, he’s not good in Filipino, so he would plead to me so that I would help him with his requirements. But there were times that when he would plead, I would have something to do. And so, I would end up choosing him before me. Also, when he’s busy, I want to talk to him. When I’m busy, he wants to talk to me. When we would meet, we were both tired. And lastly, we once fought because of his wish to remove the Filipino subject in college.

The not-so good thing about having a love life in college is setting your priorities straight: you would have a hard time choosing between hanging out with your partner or doing your research paper. Also, you’re both stressed. How can you manage to keep constant communication? One more thing on stress: if you’re both stressed, you tend to have misunderstandings. Then, you would fight. Then, you’d feel bad and you wouldn’t want to be productive; double whammy for the both of you. But hey, if you love each other, you would endure that. You would, you would.

See, college is hard. Being in a relationship is hard. But both things are fun, too. Both will give you stress. Stress will give you a hard time, but no living person on Earth lives without stress. Just think of that the next time you and your boyfriend fight over a Geometry problem. Now that’s earthly.


This post was requested by a good friend of mine, Renee Rebong. 🙂