Upon hearing this, I was not sure what upset me more: the fact that she was talking about me in third person while I was right in front of her, or the fact that she might have been right.
I did not know what I was getting into when I entered the university as a Journalism major. Before I saw my results, I never even considered the course because I used to be one of those people who took the proverb: “Ignorance is bliss” too seriously.
I did not have prior experience in running a publication or joining press competitions, and frankly, I tuned out journalism lectures in high school the same way I tuned my ears out whenever the news was playing on TV at home. I was astounded when results of the entrance test showed that I passed AB Journalism, a course I did not pick and was unqualified for.
I felt small; I was surrounded by blockmates who had passion for our course, wrote like writing was as easy as breathing, and read news as if it was as much of a natural part of their daily routine as eating breakfast in the morning.
So what I lacked in passion, talent, and a nose for the news, I tried to make up with hard work and promptness. I did my work at least a week before the deadlines, spent more hours than necessary to study for minor quizzes, and hoped to memorize every detail in assigned readings for exams.
I understand that to most, these might seem like the bare minimum, but to someone as lazy as I am, these were huge steps; I have probably never worked as hard as I did for anything else. Driven by the need to keep up, I worked until my brain was exhausted—until I constantly made it to the dean’s list and am now running for cum laude—until I could finally tell myself: “not bad for someone who was not supposed to be here.”
It took me three attempts before I finally became part of the Flame. Every failure reminded me that there are still a lot that I do not know, and a lot that I cannot do. So when I got in, I promised myself that I would do everything to prove myself worthy of the opportunity. I skipped aiming to pass every issue’s performance assessment, and instead aimed to ace them, because I felt obliged to outdo all the others who got in on their first try.
I got promoted to Culture Editor after a year, and even then I still felt like I did not know enough. Even after a year as a writer under the section, I still do not know enough about art, food, or cultural events. Yet, here I am. I survived; the Culture section survived under me for four issues, and surprisingly without a hitch.
Perhaps my life’s biggest plot twist is that I have grown thankful to UST for picking my fate for me. Four years ago, I could not imagine how I was going to survive a course I had no interest in. But today, I cannot imagine myself to be anywhere else but here.
In this era where the world seems to be on the verge of crashing and burning, I am glad that the career path I am set on pursuing is one where I could make a difference. I now know that social awareness is not an option, but an obligation; I now know that it is everyone’s duty to be disturbed enough of the world’s harshest realities to be driven into action.
My failures and insecurities motivated me to grind like my worth as a person depended on it. But while I survived four years as a journalism student, two years as a Flame staffer, and my last year as the Culture Editor, I am not ashamed to admit that I still do not know enough, which is okay.
Recent data shows that the average lifespan of a Filipina is 68, which means that I still have an entire lifetime ahead of me. I have more time to learn everything I did not learn in my four years in UST. Learning does not stop here.
I am writing this in the hopes that you, reader, will understand that it never hurts to go easy on yourself. It is okay to admit that you are still learning, it is okay if you sometimes still feel like you do not know what you are doing or where you are going in life. Everyone feels like that sometimes. If you now know more than you did yesterday, then that is enough. Do not fret; you are going to be okay.
To my mom and dad, thank you for everything. Everyday, I thank God for bringing me into this world as the daughter of the most amazing parents in the world. I love you so much, and I hope I make you proud.
To my grandma, thank you for making a home out of my dorm. I would not have been able to go through four years of college without your unconditional love, care, and support.
I would also like to thank my best friend and favorite person, Emilou, for being my ride or die girl; and my friends Kathryn, Gaea, and Chai, for inspiring me to be a better student, writer, and human being everyday.
Thanks also to my Culture family: Maui, Tom, and Adi, and my former editor, Ate Michelle. It was a pleasure working with all of you, I could not have asked for a better ‘Flamily.’
The Flame, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve you and the Artlet community. You reminded me that it is okay to feel a little lost or out of place sometimes, because the universe knows what it is doing—it just has a funny way of bringing you exactly where you are supposed to be.
And last but not the least, thank you, God, for always making sure that my shots in the dark do not miss. F