"A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world." - Anonymous

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dear Freshman

Welcome to the University of the Philippines Los Ba├▒os. Whether it is your first choice of campus or not, welcome to your destiny. And congratulations, of course. Why, you passed the UPCAT and that's glory. But not for long, kid. Not for long.

Soon enough you'll realize that you can't be proud enough because you passed that dreaded entrance examination or because you are now a bona fide student of the number one and most prestigious university in the country (as we claim it to be). A true Iskolar ng Bayan knows that real pride and glory lies in adding a positive and significant contribution to our nation. This is what we're here in UP for. Neither do I want to appear as too uptight and boring nor do I intend to make a sermon on nationalism, but the truth is that the reason why the Philippines is a poor country is because its people lack nationalism. This fact is not just coming from me, mind you, but from many of our great personalities in this country. They are writers, professors, businessmen, visionaries, and leaders of course - social, political, and even religious. Putting them in one category, they are the influential and powerful people in our country. Unfortunately, hypocrites are also aplenty in this bunch whom we esteem and regard so much. Quoting F. Sionil Jose,
"Look, we are a very unstable nation. And part of that instability comes from the absence of real nationalism. The Spaniards have no problem with nationalism at all. They are proud to be Spaniards. How many Filipinos are proud to be Filipinos? There are so few who are proud to be Filipinos. And how do you instill that pride? That’s another thing. Because I’ve said it again and again, the flight of Filipino capital is due to the fact that these people who have the money have no loyalty to this country. And they are not loyal to this country because they are not proud to be Filipinos."
Kung tutuusin, they who are powerful and influential have all that it takes to instill that pride, that sense of nationalism that I am talking about here. They have the power, they have the money, and they have that charisma to set us on foot to follow their footsteps, but towards where? Instead of directing us to appreciating, supporting, and believing in our own, all we ever learn from them is embracing foreign influences. Then there's the excuse of globalization. It's the lamest excuse. Simple lang yan: 90% of Filipinos are poor so that means 108,000,000 (120 million Filipinos X 90%) wanting, dreaming, and dying to be part of that 10-fucking-percent composed of our elites. That 90% tries very hard to live the ways of the 10% and that 10% set the trends! The West is the trend. Again, let me quote F. Sionil Jose from his article 'A memory of Japan & WWII',
"Yes, General Ricarte was right in admiring the Japanese, in wanting Filipinos to emulate them. But he was wrong in depending on them; he should have depended on nothing else but the Filipino spirit, in the same sense that it was wrong for us to depend on the Spaniards, the Americans, and on our elites like Marcos. We should end once and for all time, our mendicancy, our reliance on others and build this nation with the Filipino spirit like the Japanese did."
The UP spirit is supposed to be the Filipino spirit. Fellow Iskolar ng Bayan, you should know this first and foremost.

So, it's been a month of your college life, of your UPLB life, how are you keeping UP? I bet some of you are still hung over high school, some are battling with home sickness, some are in denial that they already are in college, but I bet, again, that all of you are in the fun and exciting process of adjustment trying to figure out the whats, hows and whys of the new culture you are in. Well take your precious time in warming up because soon enough, this race will become serious. Well it should be. It will try your mind (acads can be pretty stressful, esp during hell weeks), your body (kids, drink moderately and responsively), your heart (a professor once said, "college is the perfect time for you to meet your mate in life"), and your soul (liberal education can be pretty liberating so watch your soul out). Nicholas Sparks said something really worth keeping in mind, let me share it with you,
"Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can't get any better, it can."
Dear Freshman, a lot of things and people will come your way but remember that all of them happen for a reason. It's a cliche, but it's true. It's all character-building. There is no better time to prepare you for the real world. That's why college exists. So please don't rush! College is the most apt time for you to learn lots and lots and lots of things, not the time for you to make baby/babies. Sure, drinking booze, smoking (marlboro only, not pots okay?), partying, they're all part of the experience, but do not drown yourself in these vices. You have a long life ahead of you, be gentle to your body organs. And think about your future family, your kids. Someday, they will look up to you, they will need you. So save yourself.

Everything has its own time frame. Stop acting childish or immature because you are not anymore. Don't act like an adult either because you aren't yet. You're in the prime of your life, in your youth! It's the best part of life, savor each moment. Your only responsibility is to study, so do it and be good at it. When you were just a little earthling, you had no responsibilities. When you become an adult, you will have many. This is why I am telling you to live in the moment. You are college student now, so be one.

You will fail. Like a lot of times. But with one step down, take two steps up. That's the spirit! And take this motto, "This too shall pass." It helped me and my friends get through weeks of hell weeks. Nothing is permanent. Things change. People grow. So if bad things happen, or if worst things happen, just hold on and remember that tomorrow is a different story, a different view. Don't be too harsh to yourself. You'll get over it. Probably not now, but eventually you will. It's really all about the right attitude!

Now you probably are asking who am I to say these things anyway. In 8 to 9 months from now, these things will be over for me. So maybe I just want to leave these words. And I want you, kid, to know that the road you are about to take have been trodden down before and that we made it. So you too can.

Stay fresh!
Your Senior ☺

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