When all of this is over, I just want to stand up straight, look my future colleagues, my parents whom I pretty much owe everything to, the people I serve, and above all, myself, in the eyes, and tell them as simply as how my heart is calm and content, that I upheld my honor through the years of recurring, dispiriting, unforgiving journey.

It’s been three years. I still feel gloriously in awe of how possibly, the universe read and prompted to accept my woes as a human incapable of living within the corners of good and just. Really, how in this complex and vast time- space continuum did I make it to one of the best universities in the world, when I’m an average, occasionally flunking, lacking, ordinary teenager? I sure could have been useful in the revolutionary path, considering I have quite a history of standing my ground to never, not in a million years, merely follow. Other than that, it was a mystery as to how I got accepted in the State University. In fact, three years after, I still wonder; I never imagined myself nearing the end.

I held on to my belief that my purpose in this life (because perhaps there is another I might get to live but definitely, my chances are slim) is to cure others of their inability to live and do daily work under normal conditions, or, conceivably, to help them live with that, to aid my countrymen in achieving a healthier life in terms where the marginalized is a priority. To succeed, in my terms, is to see others live more comfortably, to perceive others, the ones they care for and care for them included, breath more easily, because I have offered them years of mastery in my chosen field- medicine. I believed in that. Surely, there are times (probably more times than I have been assured) when I would get uninspired, unmotivated, only left with the scraps of my lapses and incompetence as an undergraduate. If I didn’t do good now by getting grades above satisfactory, what could I even help others with in the future? I could never settle for mediocre, or even less than perfect; medicine required precision, accuracy, ethical judgment; there is simply no room for mistake. Often times I would stare at my returned worksheets, exams, and quizzes, and wonder in the name of all goodness, what more shall I sacrifice to push myself harder than my limit, only to be good enough?

Here I stand, anyway.

Amidst the falling debris molded from constant grades close to three (or as we call it, the golden tres).

All my best friends, co- members in my organizations, my classmates, people I grew up with or met in college were naturally very intelligent, academics- wise. You can say I was insecure; mound of reviewers, hours of studying, moments I neglected sleep to craft scientific papers and finish exercises always weigh to nothing because I still get failing marks in return.

I knew I was not stupid, though. This system of repeated failures just framed my habits and my thinking to settle for far less than what I am made of and what I can still attain. Years of Benedictine education (what I received from attending a Catholic institution for secondary education) did not sculpt me to be alright with failure, much more with giving up and not trying. Now that I am in a university with higher standards, I am expected way more. I get to realize this now- three years after. The reason why I end up unhappy and mediocre, more often than not, is because I settle. I live with the fact that I am okay with unsatisfactory.

These moments of constant failure strive me to re- evaluate my routine. My mindset. My faith in myself, in my program, in our mantra Honor & Excellence, in my God. Because it’s true anyway: I cannot graduate, end this chapter of my life, and finish this academic journey without understanding that some of my study habits don’t work. The ways I reward myself do not work. My every day mantra, my disposition as of current, do not work. My hard work doesn’t pay off not because it is not enough, but because I do not redesign the blueprint of my voyage to achieve greater, substantial altitudes.

I doze off in class, choose to take advantage of the privileges I have to make excuses. I rest more than I deserve to. I choose to stay passive of the lessons I am faced with as a student. I choose to not stay religious with listening and with managing my time. I have eminent shortcomings and I choose to ignore them. I seem unworthy because I do not reinvent myself. I do not challenge myself. I do not let go of things hindering my growth. I choose to limit myself in a world that I was never meant to grow fondly of.

This is me. And I am making a letter of grace because God granted my prayers of receiving an education from the University of the Philippines. I am sending out a letter to my Creator, for He is constant in His presence, for He has guided me relentlessly, significantly more in dire need, such as times like this. He is the source of my strength, the cause of my refinement, hopefully to become a better version of myself. Moreover, this is me, sending out a letter that perhaps, the universe might grant, under its light, one more time; a request to help me live differently, in so a manner where others might benefit from my existence, in a way that I am worthy of their plead for help, in such a length that I know, from the core of my dignity and conscience, that I lived and shall live a life of purpose in honor and excellence.


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