Thoughts of a Not Yet Graduating UP Student

by joanabagano

It’s that time of year again when copious amounts of coffee are being glugged down tired and dry throats that hope to explain the next day why they couldn’t attend a class just so they could catch some winks in between cramming a final paper and studying for a final exam (for the paper, mastering the ability to cut long sentences short). It’s not a coincidence that the school year ends on March, the month named after the Roman god of war.

In the midst of all the unarmed and armed trying to fight and come out victorious, here I am typing away a year of frustrations, hopes and everything that may fall in between. Hey, I’m still in the battle but can I wander off a bit to tell a story?

I’m in my fourth year at university but I don’t call myself a senior because my standing is that of a junior student. I don’t know why they still call it a ‘standing’. Every time it comes to mind, I feel weak in the knees. Anyone can trip me up to fall flat on my face, not that I’m not feeling the shame of it already by being ‘delayed’.

If you’re from UP Diliman, you would notice the physical changes in the university environment throughout the year. We saw the start of the fall season towards the middle of February and by the first week of March, a lot of our trees have bared themselves as if to follow the Oblation.

These leaves are my dreams, sprouting fresh and green from innocent branches waiting to be clothed.

These leaves are my dreams, growing up in the air, moving to the music of the world.

These leaves are my dreams, falling as speedily as they burgeoned so slowly. The branches have let go.

These leaves are my dreams, please don’t mindlessly trample them, please.

“Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the graduates of 2013.”

I start walking up the stage and then a sudden boom stops me.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Bagano, but you will be joining next year’s batch.”

This scenario brought back to mind the day our college secretary told me I was better off in a college where there was no Math. I smiled at him and said, “Oh, yeah. I always knew that,” and started thinking where I went wrong.

There are things that we choose to happen to us. And then there are those things that just happen. If you believe in a God like I do, some things are chosen for us. This is one of those that have been chosen for me. We have to accept things as they happen and as they are chosen instead of looking back and asking, “Where did this go wrong?”

I have learned to stop blaming God for what I have. Who am I to dictate what’s good for me? History tells me of things I insisted were best but turned out different. I have learned to stop blaming my parents for wanting a course other than the one I wanted. I have learned to stop blaming myself for the countless times I’ve tried and failed. I have learned to stop blaming my friends for the times we did not study well.

Start with it. Stop blaming. Just, stop.

I won’t deny that I still feel a bit of envy towards my friends who are going to walk the final stage of their schooling. But I don’t classify the feeling as a good thing or a bad thing because it doesn’t really matter. These are my friends who have somehow shared their lives with me and in one way or another, too, helped me cope with the complexities of my fate. The envy is buried in heaps of happiness and congratulations for each of them, and I want to believe that their hereafters are as bright as the sunflowers that will begin to bloom soon.

Here’s the thing. Mars is not just the Roman god of war but also the Roman god of harvest. This is the time of year when the copious amounts of coffee and the sagging eye bags tell us that we’re going to reap soon. It may not be very soon as it is for me but at least we know that we didn’t sow time and tears for nothing.There’s always going to be a season for harvest.

Those leaves have gone, new dreams appear,

new leaves on branches, new days, a new year.

War. Fall.

Harvest. New leaves.

This time, choose what really happens to you. I think I like the second pair better.