It’s 1:45 AM and here’s something:

I am currently in my third year college, taking up BS Biology in the University of the Philippines. Every semester seems a lot tougher than the former. It drives us wild. In fact, merely remembering everything I did to surpass the hell semesters pulls me into a state of anxiety. Every after semesters, I usually end up celebrating, going out in the streets partying; after, I would come home to my parents, leave everything behind to Los Baños until I come back. It’s different this time, however.

This semester gave me a gift.

What this semester taught me is to prioritize my academics over anything else. Family could possibly outrank school, but as I recall that everything I put into work is for them, I realize sacrifices have to be made, no matter how terrible it feels. I have always been close to my ideals. I have always lived in a routine that fuels me throughout the process, making sure I never burn out. They, more often than not, actualize as extremes. A lot from my social life and hobbies end up getting offered in exchange for work, but it is a given that these ideals make me feel more satisfied than drinking and partying ever did and ever can. For a while I had been drawn apart from it. The reason why this semester has been full of breakdowns is because I failed to deem sacrifices necessary like I did. I had departed from my very understanding of sticking to my routines. I had taken a path that led me closer to mediocrity when I am trying to get my way through it.

The reason why I did not celebrate it out is because this semester, I lost more of myself than I ever have my whole life. For the past four months, it feels as though I lost myself a little each day. Moreover, the reason why this semester has been a constant dose of giving up is because I placed little value in hard work. Easy never kept me going; I believe, without a doubt, in perseverance. There is glory in that. What I have now, I had to work hard for. And I have to realize that I need to keeping working. I have to keep making sacrifices. I have to offer the best of me so that I may grow. I have to get defeated din the process. I have to get hurt. I need to fail. So that I may rise and try again. It is in these moments that I find myself swim in strength, and I hope I do not stop feeling this way. I still have a long way to go, but I am getting there.

I will get there.

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Time Check: 2:28 AM

These have been, by far, two of the worst nights of my life.

I am currently taking mid year classes under General Chemistry II (Chem 17 and Chem 17.1) to at least compensate for my delay. I shifted into BS Biology from BA Communication Arts so there is really much I have to catch up on, considering I have lived through GE* courses the first year and a half of college. Taking two months from my vacation, this decision did not really give me a hard time. I really had to do it. I enlisted and enrolled myself then, without any idea that it might be hard for me.

The dormitory I stay in transferred me to my old room and building, where some unwanted memories took place. In addition, the room is smaller and it looks awful (my latter room is bright, clean, spacious, cozy). Dormers are fighting over seats in the lobby for internet connection. But the worst of all is, my roommate, whom I have completely no idea of, does not sleep in at night and comes in the morning when I’m taking naps to boost energy for my four hour laboratory class! She coughs loudly so bad, goes in and out of our comfort room (which makes stupid noises), and leaves her food (without any cover) on her desk. I’d prefer to sleep knowing there’s a person on the bed across mine. I miss Krizia, the only roommate I ever had in Los Baños*. We both know each other enough to know how to adjust.

When I’m at class with my friends, I don’t get sad at all. Unless there’s a quiz which I studied for and yet still get a low score. At night, when I come home, the loneliness and the emptiness and every other disgusting feeling there is come creeping in and embrace every ounce of my being. I try to focus on my academics but it’s hard when I’m sad.

I have no other way to say what I’m feeling but sad. I miss my family back home. I miss my friends back home. I miss the liveliness of this place. I miss the regular semester when I could breathe from time to time. As of now, there is always something to submit the day after, a quiz the day after, for four whole months of chemistry are packed into two. I miss regular school days when I could watch American and Asian TV series on end and still attend my 8 AM class and sleep after that, as permitted by my schedule. I miss not having to think about what I could possibly do alone. I miss not having to think about the silence and how rudely loud it is. It’s deafening. I have been out of the house, living everywhere for quite some time now, that I have forgotten how to live by myself.

I could cry. Release all this. But I can’t. There is no explaining that. Instead, I seek refuge in the soothing words of my mother as I always see to it to talk to her before she goes to bed.

I wish I could find a way to make this feeling stop.

I wish I could find a way to stop being so disappointed with myself with my low performance at school. I wish I could stop comparing myself to others and just do me at my own pace. But it’s hard getting my mind straight when there is no other voice to hear but the cruelty of mine.

Good night.


*GE: General Education

*Los Baños: An urban municipality in Laguna, CALABARZON, Philippines

A Shiftee Confesses

Days and days without end. Words were my capital: sewing them together brought me closer to the finish line, which meant the clock has gravitated back to the start. It has always been the same thing, but I enjoyed it. Speeches, here and there. We had to produce. We had to create. I had to use my imagination to the extent, push it even further, make it bleed, and still, despite all the pouring out and provocative illusions, I had to learn more. Get to experience more. Understand more. The human psyche is one to disappoint. We were made to swallow our past beliefs and recreate them into a new purpose, because every revelation is a revelation! Every spoken statement our professor makes is a surprise. A shock. An addition to our big, big bubble that has yet fit the criteria of enough. However, more than writing, more than speaking, we were made to read. And that, I think, is where we gather our pride. Where our conscience lie. We read. And read. And read more. Then we ask questions.

I took up BA Communication Arts in the University of the Philippines Los Baños. This wasn’t my first choice. But I had no choice, after all; when I entered my dream university, I was placed under “degree program with available slot.” It didn’t matter to me, as long as I got into the state university. But I must admit: it did hurt a little- not getting into the degree program I wanted.  That is why, after a year, I shifted to BS Biology. It was a long process, but I managed. I wanted to pursue medicine.

From the arts to the sciences.

It’s not that different. But it is different.

Days and days without end. Data and inferences were my capital: sewing them together brought me closer to the finish line, which meant the clock has gravitated back to the start. It has always been the same thing, but I enjoyed it. Experiments, here and there. We had to produce. We had to create. I had to use my imagination to the extent, push it even further, make it bleed, and still, despite all the pouring out and provocative observations, I had to learn more. Get to experience more. Understand more. The human reasoning is one to disappoint. We were made to swallow our prejudices and recreate them into a new purpose, because every revelation is a revelation! Every spoken statement our professor makes is a surprise. A shock. An addition to our big, big bubble that has yet fit the criteria of enough. However, more than the mastery of the scientific method, we were made to read. And that, I think, is where we gather our pride. Where our conscience lie. We read. And read. And read more. Then we ask questions.

See, it’s not at all different.

But it is. 

I have to deal with microbes as tiny as an alternate universe would have had me think. I have to stain them, count fifteen seconds to thirty, so the dye would stick. I have to kill them. After observing using the hanging drop technique, I have to let them go. Perform sterilization. Hold the wire loop with a calibration of less than a centimeter. I have to disinfect. Before and after doing required procedures.

I have to wear lab gowns now. Find where the copper went. Mix sodium carbonate with some other salt to know which element is soluble. Which is insoluble. I have to wear jeans, every time I perform experiments. Never mind the heat. Never mind the humidity. I had to stay in the laboratory three hours a day. Sometimes six. And it wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t notice time. Because I enjoyed it.

I remember being inside my dormitory, drinking my tea, looking at the time. I remember feeling incomplete as I write my essay due in about four hours. I remember begging for that something to fill in the empty. I remember asking what if.

And now, I have it. I’ve got the best of both worlds, although they did feel the worst, at some point. I regret none of my choices.

I am on to my track. The road that leads to that MD acquisition. I carry with me, nevertheless, the fruits and downhills of my battles with the arts. It will always be engrossed dearly within me. I have grown fonder of the things I have lost, but now I come to realize, I have not lost it at all.

Raptured 

Perhaps it is true; no amount of words could sufficiently supply the feeling of being in complete astonishment, tranquility, and excitement.

From the moment she sent a text message asking me to turn around, even in the moment we parted ways in the morning, to this day, I am trying to make clear: is this what God talked about when He made the universe, placed the planets in their respective orbits, shaped the mountains in such a way that the sun would kiss them every morning and every night, calmed the waters of the earth so as to make its soil worth living- when everything grew entirely as perfect as he said it must be?

I have a certain default to romanticize things; however, I tell you, the 10th of February was an early Valentine adventure.

I was utterly clueless with her schemes. I must say Franzes is an expert at making her plans run the smoothest. She studies in Manila and I in Los Baños. She had to ride the bus and even travel steep roads just to visit me! What have I done to deserve her, really?

I had a 2:30 to 4:00 PM class and before my class even began, she told me she wanted to take a nap. When it ended, I sent her a text about a book sale (I love hoarding books and reading them when I have the time) held at one of the colleges in my campus. She replied right away asking if I’m already at our fair. It took a couple of minutes before she showed up and a couple of text messages, as well. When I told her that we (Sophia, my friend, and I) were about to go to the Freedom park, she sent me a text asking me to turn around. I did, even as I was confused (I am not being pretentious here, I really had no idea). I did not know what or who to look at; nevertheless, I did turn around. Behind the crowd of other people in their own businesses, I found her.

I wish someone out there captured how intensely fast my heart beat raced. In that moment, nobody mattered but her presence and the distance between us both- how it was so little, and how it grew even more minimal as I wrapped my arms around her.

I seldom get to hug her. I seldom get to hold her this close. I seldom get to see her beyond my blurry cellphone screen. This is her. This is me. Together.

This is where it begins.


Still in shock, I asked my friend, Sophia, if she knew- and she did! Franzes asked her concerning our whereabouts. I learned, as well, that Franzes arrived inside the campus at 3:00 PM! She had been roaming around for an hour just waiting for me to finish my last class.

This is the kind of person I want to be with for as long as I’m alive- even after life, if it’s possible. Sure, she has flaws and all that, but her beauty- inside and out- surpasses all imperfections the world made of her. Don’t get me wrong, I knew this before the surprise of hers even happened. She just continues to prove to me how lucky I am to have her.

 

1. We rode the ultimately fast turning ferris wheel.

2. We played the dart game! I was a first timer lol it was this game where you had to throw darts (of course) at the balloons placed on the wall. Every balloon you pop equals to a point. We totalled more than 25 points! I thought we were playing for fun but she exchanged the points for a cute purse she gave me.

3. We rode another ride (caterpillar, I think). I enjoyed it so much- we were laughing the whole time.

4. She bought me a baby succulent plant and she only knows how much I love them.

5. We ate tons of food. Street food. We love food. Food.

6. We watched performances while sitting on the field. Totes relaxing.

7. She gave me Memories by Lang Leav. I carried it every where like a baby.


 


My favorite photo!

 
My baby plantie

The Dream of Becoming and of Being

It has been four weeks since I first left home with a number of huge, stuffed bags. It has been days since I first slept without my family in the next room; my friends and I have only been talking over laptop screens rather than watching movies side by side. It was the first time I opened my journal, which I promised myself to open once I finally take a chance on something big.

Out of the four schools I applied for admission as a new freshman, the University of the Phillipines Los Baños was my sole choice. It took me a lot of timely crisis in choosing what university I belong to; as a matter of fact, I had so many sleepless nights asking God whether I was making the right life decisions. I also remember holding the UPCAT Application Forms and praying to God intently, “Lord, please help me live my dream.” And now I guess I am.

I usually say I live in Marikina even if I live in Antipolo because I took my secondary education in the aforementioned city. The Diliman campus of the state university was just minutes away from home. However, I put Los Baños as my first campus choice because I deeply wanted to detach myself from the routine I have been used to. Nevertheless, I am not sure if I am content with it. Don’t get me wrong. LB is a great place to seek for independence and adventures. But I’ve made a decision on putting it as first campus choice for reasons which may or may not be sufficient for a valid one. We have different views. Now, per contra, I believe it is not enough. I could have considered the costs. The circumstances. I was too thirsty for experiencing more of what is out there when there were, in fact- as I never thought possible- people I would leave behind. There were opportunities I would leave behind.

My first few days here were completely tragic; it was like one of those movies when the father leaves behind his family for military obligations. Only in my case, I left for personal necessity- for problems concerning just myself. So selfish, I see myself now. I am guilty, as you read between the lines of my poorly written post construction. It’s not my intention to blurt out my whole life in here, but I tend to get so emotional at times that the only possible way there is for me is to release them. To whoever.

There were instances when my Dad would call me when I’m walking back to my dorm alone. My Mommy seldom called; she was always busy with work but she never forgets to send texts at night. Going back, while I always walked from my class to my dorm, Dad would also call asking how I’m doing. And no matter how much of stone my heart was before, it melted- like butter set on a frying pan a hundred degrees over. I can feel my voice cracking and still, I refused. I refused to believe I was crying because I miss home. I miss the “routine I have been used to.”

What’s the point of even arguing with my emotions when I have made a decision myself? A final one. You might be confused; initially, I was happy having been accepted to my dream university and now I am doubting my decisions. It’s just that I believe I have missed all the cons. And my pros are not compelling enough to be such. What if I stayed? What if I put Diliman as my first campus choice? Would I have passed? Would I have felt better? Would I be content then?

Currently, I have adjusted to the environment of UPLB. I know there will be more surprises and even if I prepare myself for them, I know I wouldn’t really be ready enough. This time around though, I know my reason for choosing such has changed. It’s no longer to separate myself entirely, but to embrace what I have and what I lack thereof. I lack compassion. Integrity. Humility. I lack consciousness. And I need to live the dream to grasp them. The dream of thinking and of moving. The dream of becoming and of being. The dream of being an Iskolar ng Bayan Para sa Bayan.

I believe now, no matter where campus I arrive in the end, as long as I end up in UP, I’m content. This is home. I’m claiming it; I am aware that someday somehow, it’s going to render me sleepless nights of utmost studying but this is home. In addition, I can transfer to the Diliman or Manila campus and decide on living my life from there once again. As long as it’s UP.

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