By: Mia Villafuerte
These are the three words I felt when days are numbered before the release of USTET results two years ago. I never see myself as a student with exceptional intellectual capacity or someone who is naturally genius since birth even though I was an honor student in class.And although USTET wasn’t as difficult as other entrance exams, still, it was a mind-wrecking one for me. There were nights when all I dream about is walking through the gates of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas wearing the college uniform of AMV-College of Accountancy (Though that time, I don’t really know what our college uniform looks like). But to have felt anxious that there’s a little probability that I’ll pass was my nightmare.
You could sum up my feelings in two words: IN LOVE. Yes, I am literally in love with the thought of pursuing my dream profession in my dream University. That’s why when ‘The Day’ came…
“WAAAAAHHHHHHH!”I shouted. Without voice.Really.
When I first entered UST as – finally – a bona fide Thomasian, little it is to my knowing that college is what it is; I thought it ends in passing the USTET. At first I am really excited over everything – even in making assignments! Courses I took on my first semester were also never a threat to me (well, most of my first year subjects were Gen. Ed courses) until I came to have a taste of a series clutch line-of-six exam grade in Biology. In high school, I was good in Algebra that I even get perfect scores on major examinations. But at the encounter of a rigorous exam in College Algebra, I have proven myself wrong. I’d realized that X and Y’s are never as simple as they seem. The once taken-for-granted True or False type in exams is now hated and disgusted by more students including me. Who would not hate it when you are very sure that the statement is true but you forgot to consider one word that turns the statement the other way around? What’s worse is that each item is worth 3 points. How sad, right? There were times that I cry myself to sleep feeling miserable that my hard work was never paid off. My once dream of walking dreamily through the gates of Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas suddenly turned black and white.
Besides the hardship on adjusting with studies, I also had a hard time coping with vast variety of people in our class and in organizations. There are these party people on the one side, nerds and geeks on the other side, and different personalities all enjoined in one. Sometimes, I also have to study them one by one in order to know how to deal with them correctly. I’d learned that you can’t just joke the same joke to different people unless you want to be humiliate yourself instead. I recall when my org-mates asked me what’s the weirdest thing I’d ever done, I said that *insert my weirdest activity here* and the ending is a BIG “croo, croo” sound. I forgot, these people are very genius to consider that thing as something weird (or maybe I’m not really weird). But the worst part there is that when they threw their sharing, they all laughed in chorus while, personally, there’s nothing really funny at all.
In class, I have friends who are really rich to afford Bon Chon or Pancake House from breakfast to dinner and I have also some who are contented to eating Siomai Rice and MangTootz for lunch. If both groups asked, I am ending up choosing which circle I am going to eat with. During my first week in class, one of my block mates surprised me with her question, “Tara SExmamayang lunch?” without me knowing that it’s actually “Sisig Express”. If she’s a guy, I might have immediately punched him to the face. In my everyday encounters with different Thomasians, I usually tell myself “So there’s a kind of person like this?” I am really in a diverse community.
But upon those things, I would most likely say that learning to be independent is the most difficult one in my freshmen year. From budgeting your allowance, choosing where to eat your lunch, understanding your noisy roommate in the dormitory, deciding whether to study or watch UAAP, being your own support group, and to all those things that makes you young adult, these are some dilemmas I had to face during the entirety of my first year in UST.
Yet in all of these encounters, I remain determined to pursue my degree and be called a Thomasian professional someday. This is because UST has taught me that I’m not good enough at many things. It’s like something whispers to me that I must do something about that impediment: I have to work on it. To even consider that that was only my first year in college, I know there are a lot more this year… and in the years to come. I dare to say that once you are able to enter the Thomasian community, you would never want to turn away from it. There will be always that kind of motivation that attaches you to your Thomasian identity.
Competence, commitment, and compassion: three things a Thomasian has to possess. My Thomasian identity, however, brought me to another understanding to myself. It gave me the youthful exuberance I always wanted to enjoy, an understanding to a diversity of people, learning beyond the immediate, and being a person not just of wisdom but also of values. We are educated to grow holistically and we are given opportunities that shape us into a stronger and braver person other than just to graduate.
Being a Thomasian doesn’t just end that you know you pass USTET. It is just the beginning of holding that identity. You’ll know what it means to you when you become one. Just believe you can.