Life is really a daily race against time. College for me has now come to an end. Last March 14, I was one of the 6,136 graduates of the University of Santo Tomas – Manila seated on plastic chairs and faced the Grandstand for this year’s Baccalaureate Mass. Four days after (March 18), I officially obtained my degree B.S. in Biology during the Solemn Investiture held at the Philippine International Convention Center Plenary Hall.

Last Supper

Before the Baccalaureate Mass, all students from the College of Science were met by assigned faculty advisers for the distribution of graduation tickets and payment of some dues. What I was happy about was the food, of course. A chicken meal from McDonald’s and a fluffy bread became our so-called ‘Last Supper’ before candles, pins, and souvenirs were given away. When the Mass at the Grandstand was about to start, we all walked together forming a straight line per section. There was a feeling of fulfilment as this was for us, the last time that we will walk together in that same floor. Before the Mass, every student was going nuts taking pictures of each other, their professors, and school landscapes. It was as if it was the last time we will all see each other. Actually, nobody knows when we will all be together.

Mass and Gimmicks
Every faculty and college in UST had their own gimmicks. Some had party poppers, colorful balloons, streamers and noise-makers. The homily of Acting Rector Rev. Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa was very meaningful. “Don’t think about the future which is full of uncertainty, think of where you are now,” he said. What Fr. Dela Rosa said was actually true. Finishing college is something that is historical for a human person. It is what parents have worked for. After four years, every Thomasian graduate is tasked – to be a competent, compassionate and committed individual who stands by truth. The ceremonies ended with an audio-visual presentation and an eight-minute grand fireworks display. All graduates were then asked to pass through the Arch of the Centuries.

Pacquiao Day

So it was Graduation Day, and at the same time, the day Manny Pacquiao won against Marquez. Well, for some 450 students from the College of Science in UST, Easter Sunday meant the official end of dissection, test, discussions, memorization and experimentation. I was very happy that my whole family was there to witness my college graduation day. I did not cry unlike the melodramatic people around me, but deep inside I am sad. I will miss college. But there is an end in everything and a new beginning to look forward to. The cliché “Isang Bagong Paglalakbay” was surprisingly very appropriate for the graduation theme of our college. I really loved the small-scale version of the UST letters together with the stuffed tiger that ornamented the stage. I also loved the Filpiniana theme. Thanks to the program, I learned a lot of Filipino words:
Vice Rector for Religious Affairs = Bise Rektor Para Sa Mga Gawaing Pangrelihiyoso
Dean = Dekano
Asst. Dean =Katuwang na Dekano
Bachelor of Science = Batsilyer ng Agham
And I enjoyed mentioning our college courses in Filipino like Biolohiya (Biology), Kimika (Chemistry), Matematika at Pisika (Math and Physics), Agham Aktwaryal (Actuarial Science) and Sikolohiya (Psychology). I wonder why they didn’t have a Tagalog translation for Microbiology (can it be Biolohiya Para sa Mga Sobrang Liit na Bagay?).

I still have to get my alumni card, transcript of records, diploma, and yearbook. I will come back, but not as a student, but as a Thomasian alumni. Congratulations Batch 2008! See you in 2011.

Basketball Awakenings

Coach CarterEnrolling once again – now as a sophomore in college – seemed to be quite normal, except for some of the thoughts I had lingering in my mind throughout the day. After paying the increased tuition fee in school, me and some of my former blockmates took a jeepney on the way to a mall near Manila City Hall only to find ourselves budgeting money for a whole bunch of Shakey’s meals. After that, we went straight to Cinema 7 to see Samuel L. Jackson playing ‘Coach Carter.’

If one would look back at how Basketball has affected my life, well, all you can strip off me is a couple of NBA cards when I was in gradeschool, getting into the MBA mania for Pampanga Dragons, and I really really love watching SLAM BALL! Now that I have grown from all of those… ehemmm, actually I haven’t! Did I say that I really really love SLAM BALL (again)? Okay, there’s nothing more exciting than watching a live game of passing, dribbling and shooting the ball with crowds going wild specially in college basketball *UAAP*.

In relation to the movie, I can describe it as a very talkish film. Luckily, I sat with somebody with a sense of humor identical to mine – that made me awake throughout the 2 1/2 hours of Coach Carter’s sermons. The movie wasn’t that bad. Beneath all the push-ups and Ashanti popping-up from nowhere, I definitely learned so much.

First of all, ‘education is very important,’ the movie emphasized. You cannot live with your ‘short shorts and matching tank tops’ forever playing ball. Another show recently had a debate topic regarding education: Y! Speak of ABS-CBN’s Studio 23. Do we really need a diploma? Well, you can’t eat the diploma, literally, but with the growing competition in our globalized world, how can you survive? A good education and mastery of skills are important not only for getting the job you want, but because you want a strong foundation that shall embody you throughout your lifetime. School is there for your development mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, etc… it’s just wholistic!

I can’t wait to grab that diploma. It’s amazing to realize that I already finished one step of my college academic world. Many more terminologies to memorize, numbers to solve and values to instill are about to attack like a tsunami waiting to drown me to death when schooldays arrive. I cannot think of any other way of owning one of those Bvlgari watches without finishing my studies.