Seven Semesters and a Summer

Oblation, 2014.
Oblation, 2014.

I will miss putting on my white uniform, preparing for another day in the college. It’s a pain to wear, especially during the rainy days, when Pedro Gil is more often than not submerged in murky water―the Leptospira spp. swimming freely―and yet I will miss it.

I will miss carrying my trusty laboratory kit during Tuesdays or Fridays and lugging it around while I walk the two blocks from my dormitory to the campus. I will no longer hear the clinking of hand instruments, metal on metal, nor the mass of typodonts jarring into each other, plastic on plastic.

I will miss walking to the college, my hair limp and damp as I let it air-dry without even being combed. I will no longer be greeted with the sight of that certain homeless family living under the shade of a tree, their child chasing a dog. I will not be confronted by the gust of wind blowing from that condominium’s massive exhaust, my yellow umbrella nearly keeling over every time.

I will miss the sleepless nights spent studying for exams, and the inexplicable lightness of being once they are finished. There is nothing quite like this after-exam bliss, like a heavy weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The weight of the sky, the weight of expectations.

I will miss embarking on the adventure of searching for the perfect coffee shop: not too crowded, not too noisy, not too expensive. Where we students can tuck in and study in peace, while a steaming cup of cappuccino, sometimes green tea latte, sits on the table and John Mayer croons in the background. One time, I got lucky―the speakers played Up Dharma Down’s “Unspoken Definites”. Other times, the playlist is on repeat the whole night and we hear Birdy’s cover of “Skinny Love” five times. Not that I’m complaining (because I love Birdy).

I will miss drinking milk tea after class on the last weekday (my favorite day): The Friday Club. For those times when I’m not in the mood to go back to the dormitory just yet, which only a trip to the mall with friends can cure.

I will miss going to the bookstore after a particularly grueling day and just running my fingers on the spines of the books, finding comfort in the midst of stories―because sometimes I just want to escape from mine. In hindsight, I can see that has been part of my strategy on coping with the unnerving stress. There is something about being surrounded by books and just losing myself in them.

I will miss the dormitory, my second home. My friends have already graduated, and I am beyond proud of them. No more midnight surprises on birthdays. No more late night talks in the dark. No more breakfasts and dinners on the same table. No more complaining about the perpetual lack of internet connection. But Room 7 and Room 12 remain―no longer just a place, but a bond between those girls from 2010, now women of 2014.

I will miss the company of my friends―my family of four years, and counting. I started this journey with them: all the laughter, the tears, the joy, the pain, and everything in between. Now our roads diverge and, believe me, above everything, these wonderful, awe-striking people (of Block 15) are the ones I will miss the most. So much that it wounds my heart. We all started from scratch, and now there’s a wealth of history woven in the spaces between us, that to even leave the picture is unbearable. (I cannot stay.)

I will miss many, many things about UP Manila. But I have to learn that not every dream comes true. I will just have to keep creating new ones until someday, someday―I can finally achieve them.

I will miss learning from this institution. All the dreaded departmental exams in CAS. All the scantron sheets to be shaded. All the lectures: fun, boring, interactive, or out-of-the box. At the end of the day, you get this feeling of fullness―you’ve just imbibed quite an amount of knowledge. You learn to appreciate the sciences and the arts, the literature and even the mathematics. This institution is filled with talented people, professors and students alike, and everyone should have such an experience at least once in their lifetime. It’s incredible and humbling to have studied in UP Manila and I wish many more students can enter the campus, without fear of being financially incapable or of being intellectually inferior. I wish this kind of education can be accessible to everyone, not just to those who can afford to pay the tuition fee. I wish education can be upheld as a right, not a commodity. In this institution, one learns not just within the classroom but outside of it as well.

This is my way of giving thanks to this institution for breaking me and making me into who I am now. I may not have graduated from this university, but I will always carry with me its values: honor and excellence, and so much more―courage, justice, equality, service.

And I am forever a learner.

This is my way of saying goodbye to this institution that has nurtured my potentials and has nourished my intellectual hunger for seven semesters and a summer.

I hope I can come back in the future, back to this place which both my heart and my mind call home.

CAS, 2010.
CAS, 2010.
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