Just like everyone else, I was frightened to go to college, I knew that it was going to be a whole new world. It was going to be totally different from the set-up I was used to in high school. Choosing a college was also pretty difficult for me, it was either somewhere that will challenge me every single day or somewhere that was much smaller and different. It made me really think if I could live up to expectations and yet pursue my Ateneo dream. I ended up choosing the school that challenges me from day 1, the day I decided to go the Ateneo way. Basically, since then, I have learned so much that I never thought I would actually be learning and from this my views in life and beliefs have made a new perspective. I will not write about one specific event that has happened to me yet I write about series of events that happened to me since the day I stepped foot in Ateneo as a student.
The day of the orientation seminar or OrSem comes, I was both excited yet panicking. I did not know what to expect yet from what I have heard, it was going to be the most exciting part of entering Ateneo. As I was entering the college covered courts, I was mesmerized at how energetic the people were, everyone was smiling and greeting each other. From that day on, I knew that my life was going to change and I was going out of my comfort zone. Things were going just the way I like it to be, I enjoyed my first year in college but I for sure did not do my best in excelling in my academics. I did not prioritize my studies or just slack off at times, I would always go out with my friends every Friday or even sometimes on a weekday. Although when I look back from it, it made me realize on what is more important in life. I never did regret anything I did back in first year because it taught me a lot. Also I have realized that the work load I had back in first year was nothing compared to the requirements that are needed to be accomplished now in 2nd year.
In my first year in the Ateneo, now that I think of it, I was really trying to adjust and I was still immature. Even if it was only a year back then, I cringe as to how I was acting. Without my pettiness in my first year, I would not be what I am now. Then comes the summer semester which was the worse semester I could ever have. I may have tried my best to study although my grades were complete trash. I was going through something that really hit me hard. Although from then on, I learned to be more independent and to be mature. Also during intersession things started to shift, there were things I started to lose. For six years during the Aquino administration, my father worked for the government. Our life during those years were different from the life we used to have back in the province. This was an opportunity for our family that we could not turn down. During this time was such a transition for me, the life I was used to for six years was already beyond my reach that I could not get back. This was the part of my life that I needed to get used to.
It was that time during the summer semester that really took a part of shaping to who I am now, I learned so much in a span of a few months that I value up until now. The events that happened during that time pressured me to become a stronger, independent and meticulous woman which I do not regret. I lost someone that I really loved, we were together for two years although I did not regret anything because he serves as a foundation of how I growing and developing now. As I am in the Ateneo, I am exposed to different cultures, this is where I have valued so much my Social Anthropology class. This is one of the classes that I enjoyed taking, it made me be more aware of the various sectors that we have in the world. This exposed me of the various cultures that there is a need to be more accepting, to be more sensitive with the marginalized communities, to have a clearer view to who I am now because of the external factors as I was growing up.
Then come my second year in college, which is the year where everyone will tell you that this is the most difficult one. There are obviously more requirements to fulfill, I was starting to act more mature in many aspects of my life. The classes that I have been taking does not only give me knowledge about the subject itself but also teaches me how to be a better person and how to serve with and for others. I have learned to be more respecting and sensitive of those around me. Although as I am also taking my Philosophy class this semester, it made me realize if the things I am doing for others is it because I want to or is it because I am required. For example NSTP is made for us to be more aware of the marginalized communities and to go outside our usual place, but to be honest is it really helping us to be a man or woman for others. Just like in the allegory of the cave that is found in Plato’s theory, people were stuck in a cave and could only hear voices and yet they do not see what is outside. The NSTP Program is already designed for the students, although this makes me wonder that based on my experiences, this is not the true meaning or it does not really achieve its goal. We are already designated into an area that is cultivated for us Ateneans to go to. It may be an area where we usually do not go to but sometimes it feels artificial.
On the other hand, Philosophy has been teaching me to be more reflective and see things ethically and philosophically. As I have been told, Philosophy is what sets apart an Atenean student, it will definitely make you think about life and your beliefs. As we grow up, we are bonded by these traditions and norms that makes us to who we are. In fact, most of these things we do not know why we oblige to it. Philosophy is teaching me to be more appreciative of the little things in life, to stop and reflect on our standings in life. There are chances that we forget the little things because our life has been a daily routine. It taught me the importance of stopping and at least reflect on what has been going on with our personal life and how I have been affecting the people around me.
Another thing that has made me ponder on are my own beliefs in life. College has been making me wonder my religion. I still believe in God but there are certain aspects of it that make me realize what and who I am doing this for. There are certain rules that make me question why is it supposed to be this way, I feel that as long as I am a firm believer of God and who He is, I do not need to follow certain rules that are actually just man made. This second year in college is definitely taking a toll on me and is shaping me to what I will be once I am out of the academic phase. I may not yet know what job I want to pursue after this but I am grateful that this is how my college life is treating me.
Being in Ateneo is definitely not easy, there is pressure everywhere to excel and to graduate in the university. I also had a time this year that I wanted shift to management, at the beginning of the semester I totally did not like the majors I had. I was telling myself that this is not for me, I cannot do this. I factored in various reasons as to whether I would stay or shift to another course. There is competition everywhere that even sometimes I am not confident if I can overcome the demands and challenges that are right in front of me. My second year in college has been eventful, I took Philosophy because I wanted to apply for a junior term abroad, I thought I could make it. JTA has already been a dream of mine ever since, I wanted to experience culture from the other side of the world and I felt that it was an important tool for me due to the status of my life and how the country is on its way to globalization. Although the time has come that I got rejected even before passing the requirements. I thought I could make the cut and still be able to reach the required QPI but I thought wrong. This rejection devastated me but it made me decide that I was just going to take a minor instead. As cliché as it may sound, this rejection may actually benefit me in the future and that God has plans for me.
This school year has been extremely challenging for me, I never thought that I could have this much requirements all piled up. The knowledge that I have been granted is not only benefitting my academic life but also my personality, the way I am outside school and takes part in making my own decisions. I have realized how things are connected to each other, how I can relate each subject to another, how I can apply my subjects to my everyday life and how it would result me to becoming a happier and contented person. There is competition everywhere, the society we live in does not make things easier for us. There is always a need to cope up with what is going on around us and adjust to nature’s needs. It is hard to sustain life that will be pleasing to me and that is going to benefit the people around me, there will always be those times that would make me want to quit college.
Of all the things that have been happening to me, I never did regret anything. As anyone would say, your mistakes shape you on who you are right now. I am still unsure of what I would be after college, there are still things that I doubt. I still do not have an end in mind, the society may offer hundreds of opportunities but yet there are pros and cons to it. The Ateneo way teaches me to be magis, to exert more effort in everything that I do and will do. Transitioning has been really tough for me, there will always be those times that I will just feel clueless and will end up not knowing what to do. Through this transition of a memorable part of my life, my family and friends have been a huge help. I am utterly thankful for the professors that I have been given and how they shower me with knowledge that I can use for the rest of my life. I will never regret choosing to study in the Ateneo even if it challenges me every single day to be a better student and to be better person for and with others.