Studying at UP Mindanao always feels like one is home.
The relatively low number of students (compared to the bustling Diliman campus) makes every interaction, whether in the classroom or on the hallway, personal and warm. Back in college, I lived through this kind of campus lifestyle for five years and it seems, today, there is no end to it.
The freshmen are welcomed excitedly by the seniors. “Freshies,” in return, do the same to new students the next year. UPMin only has three colleges (humanities and social sciences; science and mathematics; and management), and this is why every student is a familiar face. The faculty can always be engaged in light and funny conversation when you bump into them in the canteen or anywhere on campus.
During the Christmas season, even if the breeze blows a little too chilly, smiles become warmer and happier, especially on Kasadya (a Bisaya word that closely translates to “festivity” or “happiness”), UPMin’s annual Christmas lantern parade.
It’s that time of the year when the university’s atrium is filled with laughter, music, dance, and Christmas lights and lanterns.
This year’s theme focused on “Praising the Real Meaning of Humanity.” Over 22 lanterns created by student organizations paraded their way around Barangay Mintal, with students, faculty and nearby communities trailing behind.
The student organization of the BS Biology program (Biological Society) won the lantern-design contest. Its colorful depiction of the biosphere where diverse species thrived was meant to reflect the differences people have. Despite these differences, we still celebrate in unison what makes us human: the company of each other.
The highly anticipated dance contest saw the victory of the members of Communicators Guild (BA Communication Arts) program. The number performed by Society of Agribusiness Economics won them second place, while food technology students (Phil. Association of Food Technologists Lambda Chapter) won third.
The lone entry (BA Communication Arts) in the street dance (Indak-Indak) contest captured the hearts of the students. The members showcased quirky dance moves, yells and cheers about unity on Christmas.
As Kasadya came to an end late in the evening, the lanterns were lit up and displayed in strategic corners of the campus to remind us why we should look forward to next year’s Christmas in the university.
There were no exchanging of gifts or pompous university-wide celebrations. But we took comfort in the idea that the ties we had with each other were already the perfect gift.
And just like that, Christmas made me want to go back to study again—back to where school feels like a warm community.