I’m still a child—since I’m not yet on my eighteenth year—who is still ignorant of some realities of this world. I am a child who has to be independent on some aspects, but has to be dependent on the things that surround her like society, professors, classmates, etc. And in these contradictory challenges I am bound to do, I’m still confused. In addition, I should not be scared to see myself developing, even if I find myself believing in something that others don’t. I should not be afraid to show my individuality. Moreover, all events, even those that are strange to me, are supposedly exciting. For this reason, I should not be bothered and afraid if events surprise me. It’s certainly worth smiling to see yourself near to the finish line of the challenges you’re facing. These are mainly the things that I learned in my 5-months stay in the University of the Philippines, Cebu.
As it is evident on what I stated above, my first semester experience in UP is more of a self-development. Back when I graduated in high school, I thought I already knew everything. I thought events would be very exciting as I assume them to go smoothly. I also thought I would retain my old habits even though I’m not sure if doing so is a good thing or not. Lastly, I thought my stay in UP would be very wretched as I expect I would always be in my lonesome. But things went on differently.
Firstly, adventures and learning filled my being. They both opened my eyes so I could see how fun life would be if you learned and adventured much. Also, they converse to me every time I wake up and tell me that I am just like a child who knows nothing. Because of this, I become eager to come to class not only to gain high grades, but mainly to learn. Also, I didn’t really want to read books back then, but now, it is all I want to do. As a result, I learned about politics, governing, human behavior, Philippine issues and forms of mass media, environmental terms and issues, laws in physics and chemistry, and styles of writing.
Also, UP and all that comprises it helped me to take a step to one of my dreams, which is to be a great speaker. By great, I mean influential, persuasive and clear. Back then, I was too ashamed to express my ideas. I always think of what other people might respond to what I say. I’m afraid to see their eyes screaming their words of rejection. But in UP, I learned to be as genuine as I am when articulating my thoughts. I discovered that it’s better to speak your mind tactfully and authentically, than showing a façade of your thoughts just to impress everyone. What actually matters is your idea, not their opinion towards you.
Lastly, my classmates in Mass Communication program and my friends in our dormitory proved me wrong in what I once expected. I am glad that they did not let me stay in my lonesome. It’s far from what I expected, but no words are enough to express how grateful I am that I knew them. Unlike other students in the same program, we are closer to each other. This is evident in the mini birthday celebration we do every time one of us celebrates his/her birthday. In preparing this celebration, we collect money from each of us to buy the food the birthday celebrant wants the most, and then later surprise him/her. This though, didn’t become a surprise to the birthday celebrants who discovered this has become a routine to us. Regardless of that fact, we still are cheerful in surprising them and they continually appreciate our effort. We just never want to make our classmate to feel unnoticed or shunned, because they really are not.
UP helped me to change for the better, but as I take its help, I lose my balance and went face-first into the challenge UP has prepared for me. It was really a challenge for me to study our lessons or even prepare for an upcoming exam. I never had this study habit. I was not that type of student who sleeps late in pursuit of getting high scores. This was the strangest thing I did for the first exam I’m going to take in UP, which is our Political Science 11 exam. Higher years shared their experience upon taking Miss Ligan’s exam. Most of them said that we might cry our eyes out after taking the exam. I was alarmed by their stories. It also made me want to get out of the terrible event they are narrating, as I don’t want to fail in the very first exam I would take in UP. As a result, I studied hard few weeks before the exam day, and stopped studying just a few hours before the exam starts. I made sure that I could remember every detail of what we had discussed. Apparently, I took the risk of accepting UP’s challenge. Fortunately, what I did ended giving me the most unforgettable moment I experienced in UP.
This unforgettable moment is being the top scorer among my classmates. It is really the least thing I think would happen. I consider this moment unforgettable not because of the mark I got in the exam, but because of the study habit that I discovered effective and worthy.
My stay in UP helped me grow as a person. I learned a lot of things, I knew a lot of people, I knew myself better, and I discovered new things in the reality of this world. For these reasons, I can’t deny that I got attached to everything I see inside UP, even the fragrant ilang-ilang tree that stands straight beside the campus’ library. It is one of those who witnessed the laughter, the tears, and the silence I expressed.