Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When I was in college...

May 7 celebrates another Commencement in our university. I would just like to reminisce over my college days. I enjoyed college more than elementary or high school. You can do whatever you want, you have a lot of time and its your choice what to do with it. You can hang out with friends and cut classes, or you can also keep to yourself and study! Unlike the peer pressure of high school, college was a lot more laidback and had less drama.

When I think about it, the most important and life-saving thing I learned in college was swimming. Yeah, everything else was useful, but what I learned all boiled down to three things: swimming, critical thinking, and learning how to learn.

I graduated Magna cum Laude, but even that was a surprise to me! I transferred from another university and failed a lot there, so I decided early on when I transferred to CPU that I would focus on my studies. I was really a hopeless and disorganized student in UP, but in studying a subject that really interested me, realized that I could do it. Then studying came naturally, once I learned my own method. I only spent 3 1/2 years in CPU (due to some credited subjects in UP) and I felt that it was too fast.

When I started in CPU, graduating with honors wasn't my goal at all. But for the first time I was studying not for a grade, but I loved learning and to me, the grades were just a bonus. Due to my grades, I climbed up the Dean's List. At first, I was no. 10, then no. 2, then no. 1 for my last semester of regular classes! I got the university scholarship twice, I didn't have to pay the tuition of those two semesters. My first bank account was for the refunds.

What really inspired me to study were CPU work students. Most of my friends were work students in the library, and they had to manage their time between classes, their duty as work students, and studying. Some even have jobs outside of that to support themselves. I hadn't realized that I am blessed with parents who are very supportive of education, and if most work students were in my place, they would focus solely on their studies if they had a chance. If they study hard while working, then what's my excuse not to study? So I considered studying my job at the time being, and I was in a hurry to graduate.

I realized that I am blessed, and I have to be grateful! I grew up in a house full of books, and my mother values education - she doesn't look at the cost, because learning is much more important. It is better to spend for good education than on other things. Even back to my great-grandparents, they sold a great amount of land just to send their children to good schools. As my mom said, "What is land, property, and riches if they have no use?". Education has a greater value for them.

When I learned that I would graduate Magna cum Laude, I was surprised. Its just difficult to imagine that I would earn the honors after all my UP drama. The honors will not last forever, but to me they are proof that people can change for the better. Sometimes, honors can also be a disadvantage! One should not depend on honors for their identity, sometimes it is just an inconvenient label loaded with expectations from other people, and sometimes I get afraid that I won't fulfill them.

I still had a lot to learn after college, and I am still learning. Life is an arduous journey, and college is just one of the many milestones.

I like learning, I think I need the mild stress of schoolwork to keep myself from being bored, and also to keep my mind on something else. I'm taking a Masters degree in LIS since I feel that my learning as an undergrad still isn't quite enough. I also believe that anything can be mastered and learned when studied with diligence and enthusiasm. We first learn for learning itself, it can be its own reward. The income, career, and its other advantages are, for me, secondary.

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