Anton: I hope they become more humane individuals

Photo by Madeleen Saguid/ THE FLAME

What is your message to this year’s graduates? 

“Normally, we think of graduation as the end of our academic program, which it rightfully is. However, I would rather say that they should take graduation as the start of how they’re able to enact or to live out what they’ve learned in a classroom. […] It’s a celebration of the grades we’ve received […] but at the end of the day, education is not about that. It’s about how we’re able to apply our learnings, so now is the start of how they’re able to apply that, be it in their own jobs or grad schools.”


What are the challenges that they have to prepare for and how can they overcome them? 

“Unemployment! That’s the very first challenge.[…] As a student, you have [an] allowance from your parents, everything’s so easy, you could approach your teachers for help. But life outside [of school] is not like that. […] Be willing to get a low-paying job because that’s how everybody starts and don’t immediately ask for something great, and be realistic with what the world can offer, that’s one of the failures of our education. We tend to think that life is so easy, especially if we come from a good university. Ultimately, life is not like that. However, I hope they don’t become resentful at the end of the day. Kumbaga, harapin ‘yung mahirap pero mag-pursigi.”


What do you wish for the graduates to achieve? 

“I really wish all of them to be successful, especially my advisees. Now is the chance for them to shine. […] Even if you don’t have a Latin honor, I hope you’d be able to excel and be a better person. […] I hope they become more humane individuals because we have a society full of lawyers, accountants, scientists. We’re very smart, bright, and superb, however, very inhumane to certain extents. So easy to corrupt and gain the upperhand. In the Humanities, what we’re learning here is to be part of the vanguard and the bastion of morals and wisdom.”


What makes Batch 2023 unforgettable? 

“What makes them unforgettable is the fact that they’re in the middle of the transition from pandemic to post-pandemic. In the beginning, it was difficult to know them because everyone didn’t want to turn their cameras on, […] they didn’t want to voice out their questions, comments, and things like that. However, eventually, especially once we’ve started to have face-to-face classes, it was nice to slowly see their individual characters because you only get to know those things inside a classroom. […] because sometimes if we’re in front of a computer screen, we aren’t able to fully express ourselves. […] It’s nice to end on that note, because it’s more of the fond memories, the actual face-to-face encounters, all the laughter and stories that we were able to share.”


     – Anton Heinrich Rennesland, Philosophy professor

Interview by CALI ASAJAR


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