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I left with the ďstart of something newĒ ringing in my head. This month I will lead the life I always wanted to live. Iím heading to college, to places and things grander and greater than what mind can conceive. Iím beginning again, learning again, seeing again. Iím letting go of the emotional baggage that dogged me. Iím letting go of them before I wax nostalgic once again. I say this with a straight face, I know, but itís not easyĖI keep thinking of the beforeís, the memories, the you I knew. Iíll be strong, but I canít stop. Thinking.
Today our guests left. Tomorrow Iíll be an Atenean. Today my sister had her first day of school as a senior, and my life has returned to normalcy with the departure of the guests with whom I had to work things out with. I suppose this is the last day I can experience this ďnormalĒ life, or the life as I knew it; tomorrow, my life will have a new semblance of what can be considered normal. Suddenly things that seemed so faraway and foreign to me will be common. Soon they will lose the awe they inspire in me.
After three hours, I am now officially a college student of the best university in the country (subjectively). This is really it, I suppose; finally, the start of everything. I'm excited and apprehensive, and it's understandable, but whenever I see other freshmen breezing through the halls looking so confident, I feel quite unnerved. But I won't back down; I enrolled here because of the challenges I'm bound to face. And tomorrow, I'll start conquering my many fears one by one. I'll never get anywhere if I don't take that one fateful step that starts the journey into the great unknown.
This may seem petty to you, but it's momentous for me. Somewhat. Today I got home from my college all alone on public transportation. Today I got to meet some of my coursemates and we hit it right off. Today I was all by my lonesome in the Church of the Gesu, and it was fine. All these are important to me--I'm learning to stand on my own feet. I'm learning to conquer my many (trivial) fears and face them head on. I promised myself I would enter college a renewed person, and I'm taking the steps to fulfill it.
At first it was nothing extraordinary. I miserably thought I was in for another social failure. It was a pleasant surprise then that God proved me wrong: I met several blockmates with whom I can talk to normally without having to resort to
Taglish, we had great TnTs who could've passed for stand-up comediennes, and we enjoyed the tiring but satisfying "Mob!"-induced one-minute run. I'm glad I enjoyed this day--I'm glad I somehow got over my fear of relating with people and my inhibitive shyness. I truly hope that this would be the beginning of a better me.
I thought I didn't recognize myself today. I did things my shy self wouldn't have done back in high school. I didn't regret it though; overcoming that embarrassment was part of the fun. I strengthened my bonds with the blockmates I got close to yesterday, and even I surprised myself by behaving not in my usual "first meeting niceness" but by being myself: the me who can crack jokes, return wisecracks, and feel at ease even with newfound friends. I don't know why I was so scared. Once you make that first introduction, the rest just seemed to follow naturally.
It's the last day of Orsem. Just like the previous days, we had fun--running around the campus to tour, having our group dynamics (embarrassing or not, they were undoubtedly fun), listening to more career talks and generally bonding as a block. I'm happy that my social fears were unfounded after all. I'm on speaking terms with some of them already, and I'm looking to conquer the other ones very soon. The Orsem night was great; I have never rocked out so enthusiastically before. Before we parted company, we shouted out our block cheer. It's silly, it's childish, but it's us.
Now the Orsem is done, and all that's left is to relive the memories. Heck, cut the drama. We'd still be making memories for about two years before some of us may finally part ways. Classes are going to start. I don't feel as much anxiety as I used to have, mainly because I know some people already. Even if we have terror profs, at least I know I'll be going through it with them--they at least will make both math and Filipino bearable. Maybe it's because of the diversity of our personalities. Either way, it makes a great combination.
Less than twenty-four hours before classes officially start, Iím now beginning to feel the back-to-school jitters. My things are packed, Iíve done my (hurried) Filipino review, and I like to think Iím ready for college. I think I can handle the academics; I was on the honor roll, after all, and I hope my study habits go with me to college. And I do hope I can get along with people; Iím sort of a late bloomer in that department. I know I should just be myself. But how can you when you donít really know who ďyourselfĒ really is?
For such a momentous time in your life as the day you officially set foot in college, you prepare for the best. So I came not wearing glasses, but contact lenses. I met my blockmates, excited freshmen laughing to ward away the anxiety, in Xavier Hall. Soon we were on our way to our first Filipino class--and were met by a diagnostic exam. Math went well, then PE. And just as quickly as the day came, it ended so soon. We parted ways, said our "see you tomorrows!" and went on with the lives as we knew it before college.
Maybe it's because we're more nervous than what we'd readily confess. Or maybe we just wanted to see familiar faces; either way, our block still met up at Xavier Hall, still compared schedules, still asked around for blockmates cum classmates. After our first two classes without each other, we converged again in the cafeteria, overwhelming a lone upperclassman who transferred tables. In our first Nat Sci class we were already tasked with a long-term project. We had lunch together, a group of thirty-strong freshmen, hanging out like we were high school friends. Except the circumstances aren't so high school now.
It's independence day in the Philippines in more ways than one. I only had one class today. The next two were "free cut" classes for a mass. With a lot of time to spare (classes ended for us at 8:30 am), my blockmates went to Eastwood. I could have gone home right there and then, but I decided to meet up with my best friend from UP Diliman. We talked over a lot of things, all of them random. Not too long ago we wouldn't have been able to do this sort of thing. This is really something foreign to me.
I'm starting to feel the busy vibe in college now. And I like it. Of course, I like having a lot of manageable work (emphasis on the manageable part), just not the mountain of work due the next day kind. I had two classes today, none of them with my block. After class I had to photocopy some text for Lit, buy a book, check out the bookstore, and drop by the OAA. By the time I got home it was a little past twelve noon. I've already got work; admittedly, not too much. But I know it will be--soon.
I finally finished reading thirty pages of material for my English and Lit classes. But then there's still that environmental science book to tackle. I usually don't mind reading so much, but sometimes I zone out during the course of my reading. College reading, I think, needs full concentration for recasting in research papers. And it happens to involve a lot of pages to be devoured in a very short span of time. I'll meet up with some of my high school friends tomorrow, Father's Day. It should be interesting to hear their first week tales in their new universities.
So the great reunion after two months and a couple of days into college didn't happen. Not that no one came; it was just that we were too few. Only the UP people came wearing their university shirts; it was a good thing I decided to forgo wearing my own shirt (which was a little too large for me anyway). There was something awkward about the way we talked to each other; somehow, it didn't feel natural at all. Of course, the feeling went away after some time, but still: the thought of that moment lingers, and it worries me.
I walked. A lot. Maybe too much--the kind my mother will object to. But no matter; it's done. I can sort of feel the stress levels rising with each day at the Ateneo. I've got my syllabi for my subjects, and all of them have a list of projects and--gasp!--deadlines. I got the jitters in my awesome English class because of my uber-smart classmates. I've joined two orgs, and I'm planning to join another one. My proposals for my ES class just got rejected, which means I'm back to square one. And did I mention I walked a lot?
First ever taekwondo class in my life, and it drained me. Not that I'm regretting that I took it for my PE. Rather than choose one where you get to run around, I at least get to learn something new. My coach is brilliant, most of my classmates are as clueless as I am, and the work is slightly murderous. I'm still reeling over the warm up exercises that already felt like actual sparring sessions. I know that once I get bogged down by schoolwork, the fatigue from taekwondo will be more prominent. But for now, I'm loving the newness.
I wonder why. Ten minutes later and I would've been late for my English class. Traffic at Katipunan was murderous, so I had to walk all the way from Blue Eagle Gym to Bellarmine--why today of all days, in the building farthest away, I don't know. The good thing was that we didn't have to present our piece for English yet. The bad came with the class after--for our first seatwork in Environmental Science, I got it wrong. Why? Because the succeeding numbers were conditional to the first. But somehow I don't feel too worried. I still don't know why.
You hate slow internet connections the most when it's your college education on the line.
In the past I've wanted broadband for my online gaming. Then high school research came along, and social networking. And now that I'm in one of the most prestigious universities in the country (subjectively, the best), my professors expect us to have decent connections for them to email us our assignments, requirements, announcements, and whatnot. Not being connected will definitely be detrimental, and I don't think "my dog ate my Ethernet cable" will hold up as an excuse. Servers are down, and I'm hating it.
Sifting through the piles of readings, syllabi, and org forms on my desk, I feel like I've take on too much too soon.
I am not known to be a disciple of time management. I know this may sound strange coming from a valedictorian (since people assume I am disciplined when it comes to my time), but I am a great procrastinator. Maybe the reason I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of work for my first semester is because I don't know how to fit everything in. I tend to disrupt the balance of life and work, you see.
A storm is coming. My sister is overjoyed, obviously because heavy rains equal suspended classes. I'm not sure I'm too pleased; I know university students don't enjoy the same perks as they do, and besides, I'm loving college. I'm looking forward to dropping by the library and checking out all the nooks and crannies of my uni. I know these sound nerdy (and you'd probably assume that of me too), but there's something about academe and solitude that appeal to me. Not all the time though. Sometimes, you see, it'd be nice to have someone stay with you.
You realize how much of man's activities are dependent on electricity when the lights are out.
My dad was on the phone today, trying to get news on the blackout that blanketed our place for more than twelve hours. He was considerably upset. I like to think that he's upset of the poor service, but I think he laments the loss of cable television more than that.
Meanwhile, my sister is rejoicing at the suspension of classes, while I, being in the college level, is still on pending case. I'm surprised I don't mind as much; college is changing me.
Classes suspended today. Joy.
Though I have been hearing stuff about the Ateneo being able to go against the CHED and still hold classes. Hopefully that's not true, because I do not fancy staying up late till midnight waiting for news. I was already up till ten thirty last night, chatting with my best friend and my blockmates and figuring out whether there are classes or not.
And I got tricked. By two of my blockmates. I can't believe I fell for that. Somehow I think common sense is leaving me so I better siphon some from someone else quick.
For our first day back since typhoon Frank, it was quite okay, but very, very exhausting.
Filipino was quite philosophical, Math had us nosebleeding every minute, and taekwondo--well, quiz was postponed for next week, and I'm pretty much getting the hang of it already. I got interviewed for Gabay, finally fixed my schedule for AComm, but I didn't find the Guidon booth so I'll drop by tomorrow. Went to the library for research, and walked until outside Ateneo because there were no trikes. So I got home at around five pm for a day supposed to end at twelve noon.
I always said I liked challenges, because I want to change myself for the better. And I always knew I'd take my words back sooner or later.
Today, in front of my awesome English classmates, I spoke up. I signed up for the Guidon's Inquiry staff (I hope I make it). And I still want to pursue ADS next year, even though my blockmate's story somehow scared me (a motion on Hamas? What the hell can I say about Hamas?!)
But I don't know. Sometimes my achievements come to mind, and I think I'm not so behind them after all.
Taekwondo went okay, though I got an 82 for my first quiz; that's roughly equivalent to a C. For someone who's accustomed to line of 9's all her academic life, that's kind of hard to stomach.
Got a lot of time to kill before my 6pm math diagnostic exams, so a blockmate and I went to our org interviews, had coffee at Figaro, and killed most of our time in the library. I finished my English pre-research and studied for more than four hours. Yeah. So I'm terribly tired, with all the taekwondo training, studying, and examinations.
Math went well though.
English and Lit were bloody, but I survived. Environmental Science told me I'll have my first presentation next Friday. InTact was very, very boring, and we had three hours to kill before the required pep rally at the gym.
Our block parted--I went with some of them to. One of us had to do community service for a supposed violation he didn't willfully commit (he got off the hook afterwards). Then to the gym--at first the rally was rousing, but it got very boring after a while. After some frustration at the ticket booth, we finally were able to leave.
I am doing my presentation for my natsci class for next Friday. This week I'll be starting work on my research paper. This week I'm planning to drop by UP. This week I'll be buying UAAP tickets, if they're already available. The pep rally reminded me of that. I'll be going with some of my blockmates, but I'm not sure if all of us will come.
Today, I've been thinking a lot. It's kind of too personal to write down here, but those thoughts made me smile. I wonder, I hope--but I doubt. It's probably the pessimist in me though.
We dropped by the mall today to buy...clothes. Yes, I really need them that much. If I didn't pay a trip today I would've been repeating clothes for this week already. This trip saved me from that fate. We spent almost two thousand bucks for clothes that didn't even number ten items. Things are that expensive now.
I also got myself school supplies, for which I shelled out a thousand bucks. So in a single day we blew off roughly three thousand. Three thousand for wants, and less of needs. And you could imagine how the poor are faring.
So it's the end.
It's the end of the first month in my new university, but things are just getting started in here. Right now I'm working on proposals for my English paper and I'm about to finalize my ES presentation, as well as checking up on my orgs' online havens. Things really are just getting started.
Already I'm worrying about UAAP tickets, catching the games, sharing in the school spirit. I'm looking forward to a lot.
It's been a crazy month--new university, new people, new environment. I'm learning to love it, and I'm finally learning to live it, too.
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