Prior to this sem, i never really understood how Ateneo compelled it’s students to be a ma for others. Aside from mandated INTAC classes and NSTP programmes, there was not really much else that i saw in Ateneo that made me want to offer myself to help other people. The compounding workload that seemed to increase by the day did not help in the forming me to be a man for other either. So being in a university that prides itself in being compassionate for others, i did not really see how it molded students to become like this. The numerous SOM classes that i had taken prior to this sem only seemed to emphasize the development of the self wherein classes like law and accounting only taught one to develop their own skills and memorize things that would help them get jobs somewhere down the line if need be. Large student organizations also seemed to have a common goal of self promotion, repeating the cycle of fund-raiser to promotions to events then back to fundraisers, without a broader sense of a goal other than self promotion. Coursemates and blockmates seemed to follow this trend as well. Plenty of my friends tried running for positions or applied to be some sort of student leader, but for me, even if this was for a good cause, to offer themselves to the causes of an organization or to their friends or to the needy, i only saw it as something for the to put on a resume, again returning to the goal of self promotion.
However, as this sem comes to an end, i was lucky enough to have taken this set of classes thanks to JTA track. And i find it safe to say that despite being one of the hardest moments in my life academically, this semester proved to be the most rewarding as well. Having Theo and Philo along with group work heavy classes such as marketing, communications, and LS, have really put into perspective what it means to be around others. through the guidance of the humanities, i was able to practice the Ateneo standards of what a student has to be morally on classes that require a student to show what is expected from an Atenean in terms of leadership and academics.
And so, maybe it was just me being a young(er), naive sophomore, but now it really puts things into perspective after having taken the Theo and Philo classes that “define” Ateneo. Now i do see why our school places so much pride in being a man for others yet holds students to such high standards. Through the teachings of the humanities classes this sem, I’ve learned that it’s not all about you. In fact, almost nothing is about you. Therefore in order to both survive the workload, and appreciate the people and surroundings life has to offer you, one must submit to the thinking that the everything does not revolve around the self, that there are other forces at work that may dictate the way that the works works other than you do. Wether it be God, or society, or fate, theres really more to the world than just yourself, and so i think that this is why our school takes pride in the embodiment of Magis so much, because by offering yourself to a greater cause, you become released from the restraints that confine you to the closed space of yourself and so are allowed to see a better cause and have a broadened purpose away from the self-centered. By not taking things personally, you allow yourself to be unbounded, someone that can both take or absorb from the world, and someone that can give to the world. So for me, as of now, this is what it means to be a man for others.