While writing this I am waiting for graduation day, #gradwaiting. On that day, every graduating Isko would be brimming with excitement to finally wear a sablay (the UP sash) and have a photo at the Oblation.
But quite frankly, we’re mostly excited to find out whether or not the sunflowers will bloom—pretty enough for an Instagram shot.
Four years ago, as a wide-eyed, eager freshie, I was equal parts excited and terrified of entering a literal and metaphorical big new world. After all, the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus is a 493-hectare sprawl dotted with rustic buildings, lush parks and brilliant humans.
However, sometime later, the workload began to take a toll on me. The eager beaver turned into a zombie with droopy eyes and an exhausted mind that was running on three hours of sleep.
But no matter how tired I got, there was not a day I did not want to go to the glorious UP Diliman campus. Let me explain why.
UP is a place where the grass is really greener perhaps only because there’s lot of it at every corner. From the openness of the Sunken Garden to the wilderness in the Science Complex, there’s always a patch of nature to draw some sanity from.
UP is a place where getting around means hopping on a jeepney plying the ikot or a toki route, so that you won’t arrive in class looking like you just ran a marathon.
Sunsets at academic oval
UP is where gazing at sunsets no longer means going to Roxas Boulevard, because the twilight is just as beautiful around the academic oval.
UP is where food tripping is cheap. From Mang Larry’s isaw and LutongBahay’s fruit shakes to Arki Vicki’s siomai and pantea, getting a comfort food fix is a breeze.
UP is where student organizations are not just training ground for future leaders; they also feel like home. Org officers and members are like family who will accept you as you are.
UP is where classrooms may often feel a bit too full, maybe due to the condition of the rooms, but mostly because lectures are always peppered with different insights and opinions.
UP is where professors are not around to give lectures and share knowledge, but to shift perspectives and change lives.
UP is where real friends are found, if you know where to look. And these friendships last a lifetime.
Still excited and terrified
Now it feels I’m back to my freshie self—still excited and terrified. There’s much expectation from new graduates, the “hope of the future,” yet there seems to be little space for us. Much of what we’ve learned in college are concepts and theories to apply in the real world, yet we barely have any idea how to take that first step.
As I sit and try to wrap my head around the idea of this new chapter, here are a few things I have learned at UP that I am quite sure would be of good use in the near future.
1) Group work may seem difficult, but it is worth it.
From the chill GEs (General Education courses) to the cutthroat majors, group works are natural occurrences. Sometimes they seem like a breeze, other times they are just downright horrible.
They are mostly dependent on the output required and the people we are working with. Group works complete our college experience because we not only complete our final grade, but also meet new interesting people.
Life outside the campus is going to be one big group project until the day we retire. Fortunately we have four years of practice to prepare us for the task.
2) Anyone can be a master multitasker.
Juggling academics, relationships, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs makes us masters at multitasking. Admit it, you may have doubted your skills at
balancing everything, but you actually survived.
It is, however, inevitable that at some point, the various roles we took on throughout college didn’t work out and left us frustrated. But, this is also a game the real world forces us to persevere in. We will need trial and error to get things right. That’s the best way we can learn.
3) Rejection isn’t as bad as it seems.
Let’s get real. Everyone has experienced rejection. It may be in the form of a professor who simply hates the paper we slaved over for weeks, or a cute guy or girl who just isn’t on the same page as we are. At first rejection will sting and bitterness will eat us up.
No matter how many rejections we suffered at UP, the only way they could be of use to us is to turn them into opportunities for self-improvement.
Maybe we can take note of that professor’s critique and revise our paper, or have faith in ourselves and know that we deserve someone better than that cute guy or girl.
Once we’re out in the real world pursuing professional careers, there will be more rejections. We just have to learn how to deal with them.
4) Every person has a story to tell.
This has got to be the ultimate reason UP is such a beautiful place to be. Every class brings together young people from various provinces, with different beliefs and traditions.
Each class also means a different professor who can either be a terror or a cool mentor. Either way, it’s best to to seize every moment as we listen to their lectures and learn from them.
Beyond the classroom walls, UP is filled with people from different walks of life—from the security guard who greets you every day, the tindera outside the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association building who sells good turon, and to the ate in the Faculty Center who photocopies your papers.
Each has a unique and inspiring story. I have learned that one of the best ways to take a break from schoolwork is to pause and listen to these people. After all, a new friend with words of wisdom never hurt anyone.
From here on, the real world will give us the opportunity to rub shoulders with more and more people. It’s good to strike a conversation with them every once in a while.
5) Taking a break is never a bad idea.
You deserve it. So just do it, no questions asked.