Our school’s patron saint once told his best friend and fellow missionary to “go and set the world on fire.” This morning, I woke up to the blazing summer heat thinking “well it’s already on its way there. Let’s just sit back and relax.” Post-graduation feelings can be tricky. Our hearts are filled with that infinite sense of possibility. Our livers are drowning in an equally abundant amount of alcohol, dulling our senses because it’s all too scary to be honest. Both organs have the ability to start a fire in us. One quite literally but both have the same goal of achieving the seemingly impossible. Fulfilling our dreams and spontaneous combustion. Some good news, though: Scientists have recently discovered that spontaneous combustion is a logical possibility.
Batch 2015, we are about to embark on an epic journey which none of us are prepared for. We are told to follow our dreams and ironically enough this message will be the one keeping us up and worried in the next few months. While some us are already set on going to law school, or med school, or any form of graduate studies designed to keep our parents from cutting off our allowances, the rest of us are lost in the world of indecision.
We are so young. This is the best and worst part about us. We are filled with the hope and energy people are gifted with in this period in their lives. We are empowered enough to want to make a big difference, foolish enough to think that we can, determined enough to actually do it. And yet, we are lost. This will be our first time entering the real world and to put it frankly, we are scared shitless. It feels like that time when we were first left by our parents in kindergarten to go play with the other kids, except this time, the others aren’t kids, and they won’t be playing.
In this time of great change, I am reminded of that six-way intersection we sometimes pass on the south service road. That junction has taught me two valuable life lessons. One, wherever you decide to go, it’s way better than staying idle, stuck among the horde of angry, hostile drivers — a.k.a. your exhausted parents, urging you to find a job and to stop being a bum in their house. And two, Metro Manila traffic sucks.
Given all this uncertainty and dread, I found this year’s valedictory speech a fitting message to all of us: Mangahas. Dare to dream and do something about it. Of course this a lot easier to do when you have the highest QPI in Ateneo history but I think we all get it — dear, Ryan Yu, I don’t know you personally, but if you’re reading this, I could’ve gotten a 3.99 cumulative too if we were using UP’s grading system. Just sayin’. We’re so unsure of what to do but as long as we’re doing something, something that we think is right, then maybe we’re not so far behind.
It’s been four years since we entered Ateneo, filled with hope and dread. Four years since our OrSem TNTs taught us about the school’s great tradition of abusing freshmen by making them wake up really early and expecting them to happy and energetic about it — I’m from Makati and I had to wake up at 5:30 everyday to get to school on time…I was always late, but that’s not the point. It’s been four years since we were welcomed to a community that, in every essence of the word, felt like home. I will forever remember those daily block lunches in caf up and after En-Lit hang outs during my freshman year, the after PE “we’re too tired to do anything productive” tambays in the cov courts, the endless hours of bumming in the LFC and Psyche rooms, the trips to different org rooms to sell brownies as Brownie Man, and the people I was with all throughout those times. All those memories never fail to put a smile on my face. All those moments are what I’ll keep coming back to when the uncertainty swallows me whole, or when the real world is getting to be too much. No matter what happens I will always have those four years and the hope and happiness it gave me to keep me going, to dare me to dream and do something worthwhile.
Thank you for all the memories, Ateneo. Your traffic schemes may change, your academic calendar might shift, kuya Resti might be moved from the MVP ground floor entrance, but you will always be school I fell in love with.