Being Here Isn’t Being There

My Symphony: In The End by Linkin Park

Life is a moving staircase. There’s no doubt about that.

I just suddenly felt like updating my blog after many weeks of being “away”. I don’t know why, but more than half of the population here in UPV is probably made up of teenagers who are right now cramming for exams and projects, and here I am… deliberately distancing myself from the pressures of college life. I have my Soc Sci 1 exam tomorrow and a 15-page paper to panic about, not to mention that life here has basically been full of hell weeks since day one. But I guess there will always be a certain time when I really want to say “I don’t care”. This brings me to what I really want to talk to you about today—how different UP really is than other schools.

Well maybe I don’t have the most credible thoughts about this, for I have spent mere 5 months in this university. But even so, getting through a semester in this premier educational kingdom alive is not as easy as rhymes and riddles. Being here, actually, gives me more than just headaches and stress. It also gives me a chance to reflect about what being here means and how different being HERE is to being THERE.

Modesty aside, I honestly felt like I was a cream of the crop when I was in high school. I know, I know. I hadn’t been successful in making my way to the “Academic Honors List”, but I have to say that I wasn’t just another face in the crowd. I had a name back then—a name which when other people hear, would automatically flash my visage onto their mental fragments. I was known by both the upper and lower years and by the faculty. I joined a great number of competitions, and I was able to make a name for myself. I actually consider my high school life as something which is “perfect”. I had a set of friends I’m completely comfortable with, a report card which isn’t that bad (it’s actually pretty good except for the Math and Physics part), a home which is only 10 minutes away from school, an ATM in the form of my parents and a generally carefree life. I used to think it would always be that way. I was wrong.

When I entered UP, I wasn’t really sure of anything at all. I’ve gone through a lot of stress and anxiety or even regret and anger. UP life wasn’t, or let’s just say isn’t, my choice (anymore). And maybe it’s true when they say that once you are caught into something you don’t really want for yourself, you will realize and learn a lot of things. I believe I have already shared with you a generous amount of what I learned here. Still, I haven’t said another thing I never thought I would learn in my whole life:

I learned that if you used to be one of the kings or princes in high school, once you get your ass here in UP, you will find yourself dwelling with all the other peasants who are, like yourself, crawling for a passing grade.

If in other schools and colleges students complain about how their 1.2 turned 1.6 by midterms, here in UP, people would die of happiness if they could once they get a passing grade of 3 or, believe it or not, even just an INC (incomplete) mark of 4. I hear students here saying “Nung high school ako feeling ko talaga ang tali-talino ko. Ngayon sa tingin ko parang ang bobo bobo ko na”.

Aah. Yes. A statement of extreme self-esteem degradation hidden in a facade of self-pity and an anxious wonder.

Well no one can blame any UP student for sharing such thought. I mean, even the subjects I thought were super easy turned out to be monsters here. Trust me. Here, it doesn’t matter what course you take. All the students here are given equal share of hardships and pains, whether they are engineering students or literature students. No one is exempted from the wrath of stress and pressure here.

I can actually puke when I look at my exam scores here. But enough ranting. This is reality—a reality which was unfortunately bestowed upon me.

Surely, a lot of 3’s, 4’s and a DROPPED remark will appear in my copy of grades.

Damn. I know college isn’t the only way to success, but I’m in this crazy world of schooling already. It’s like a cycle of stress. Everyday you deal with teachers and mad academic endeavors. You wake up, rush your way to school, sit, listen, take tests, get either satisfied or disappointed and go home with either a smile or a tear on your face (exaggeration applied). You see my point? I know some of you don’t. But I see my point every second of the day. This is an eccentric circus where only the beauty of learning keeps me from getting out. I only want learning and not schooling. I don’t think the latter bears the same degree of importance than genuine education.

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