Tomorrow is my graduation, but I’m not going. It’s not because I have better things to do (actually, I don’t) but I guess it’s because I’ve played that scenario in my head so many times that I am satisfied. My photo wearing the iconic sablay has gotten dusty because it’s been hanging on a wall of our house for more than a year now. In my mind, tomorrow would be the third time that I’m graduating from UP. As you may have guessed, I was delayed.
Ever since I started studying, I have always been an achiever, so imagine how I felt when college made me feel like nothing. Nobody said that it was easy, but no one warned me that it will be fucking hard: these were my thoughts when I entered UP. Of course, I did not expect that it would be a breeze, but I also didn’t expect that I would spend the next six years of my life in that space.
Writing this now, I wonder what I had learned in those years:
Every Math subject is hard. I spent my first months in college crying myself to sleep because of Algebra. It was then that the thoughts of how stupid I am were starting to sink into my skull. After Algebra, I took another Math 1 that everyone said was easy… it wasn’t. On the other hand, it was also Math which taught me that I’m not stupid. With my Trigonometry class, I was able to prove this – that no matter how difficult it is, you just have to try harder and harder every time. Never give up.
You don’t need to join organizations, fraternities or sororities to gain friends. During my first weeks, I was able to be a part of this big group of to-be-popular-kids in my batch, but it didn’t feel right for me. I was happy for a while until it felt too much for me. There was also a time when I was persuaded to join some orgs, frats and soros but I declined each one not seeing the necessity for it. My advice: only join such if you really think it is for you, but don’t force yourself to fit in.
Minor subjects = Major subjects. There’s this common joke of minor subjects pretending to be major subjects because of how difficult they are, but I think we just take those subjects for granted. Minor and major subjects require the same effort and are both important to get you through college.
Some professors genuinely care. I’m that type of student who sits at the back and just wishes for class to end – at least, I was like this in college. I had this female professor who seemed to remember my name earlier than the other professors. I noticed that there were also times she pushed me to participate in class. When I was collecting my old college exams recently, I saw one exam booklet from her class. At the last page, it wrote (non-verbatim): you can do better than this if you try harder.
It’s good to have a crush life. Believe me, you’re better off having just a crushie in college than being in love. My crush was a part of a frat which had handsome members. I don’t even know how my crush for him developed and WHY HIM? But having a crush on him made me feel excited to attend a class that bored me to death! One time he also talked to me and my heart jumped. Hi, creativity! No, my URL is not related to him.
Find your best friend here. It was in college that I was able to meet people who I am sure will be a part of my lifetime here on Earth. I had good high school friends, but I had great college ones. Here, I found different people who shared my problems when I needed someone to get me through the day. We never put labels on our friendship, but I am sure they are the best friends I ever had.
Don’t keep buying new fillers if you’re lazy. I used to buy the complete set of school stuff before the beginning of every semester, regardless if I barely used the previous ones I owned. Come on! Who doesn’t like new things for school? It was in my later years that I realized I was just wasting money and being pretentious. I’m not gonna take down notes more often just because I have a new notebook and pen. After that realization, I always just buy one notebook and pad paper – I still barely wrote in my notebook.
New professors are best. When you encounter a professor for the first time, you should take advantage of it. I know my professors already had prejudices about me, so it was often difficult for me to change the biases we had with each other, but new professors see me as a blank slate. Often in these classes, I was able to excel.
That smart kid may also just be a cheater. I’ve had some classmates who were very intelligent but were also very good cheaters. It disappointed me that I can’t look at them differently when I found out. Moreover, it’s these smart but cheats who still get the favor of the faculty in helping them with their cases. Now those people are studying at med and law school. Remember: honor and excellence!
It helps you be independent. It was because of college that I was away from my family for the first time. It was difficult but it helped in my growth as a person. I learned to shoulder my problems about school, friends and love on my own. Honestly, in my later years in college, I preferred to be alone but am still approachable. Independence is different from being lonely.
Group works ruin friendships. Group works are our professors’ ways to force us to socialize. Back then, we preferred to be grouped with our friends but later on we all learned that this is not such a wise decision. Group work shows a part of our friends that we didn’t know existed – the freeloader side. However, we should also be able to separate group work issues from personal ones.
College changes you. College is not just about you and studying; it’s also going to play a big role in your relationship with your family, friends, and significant other. It’s going to try to kill you but you don’t let it, and then you’ll emerge stronger. It’s going to try to prove that you are not good and worthy enough, but you’ll have to fight back and prove it wrong. Don’t leave college until you’re done with it. That is the only way to win.
Tomorrow is my graduation, but I’m not going. It doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything or that I don’t value my time served there. Yes, it felt like a prison but it was actually the place where I learned freedom. I have gone through a lot studying in UP. A LOT. I didn’t want to make this post dramatic, so I wrote about it like this. Needless to say, it has become a part of who I am now. UP can be harsh, and it has been harsh to me, but I still love it the same. It was hard, but I made it. Finally.