Going beyond

My parents told me that my grade school adviser said I am satisfied with my performance at school as long as I am passing. My adviser also told them that she believes that I can excel further, only if I wanted to push myself a little more.

Basically, everything boils down to my actions and decisions.

I knew I should have learned from what my adviser said, but I did not listen. I maintained my habit until high schoo —exerting more effort on subjects I am interested in and doing average on the others.

Even in choosing the program I would take in college, I did not deliberate thoroughly on which field I might have an advantage on. I just chose the one which I thought would land me on an interesting job after college.

When I entered the Journalism program of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), I planned to fare just the same as I did back in high school. I just aimed to pass all the subjects so I will not be debarred.

While I was only holding on to my interest in the program, some of my classmates had already been practicing journalism through participating in different contests, seminars, and being part of their school publication.

I felt really small, knowing that I am completely lacking as a journalism student as I have only learned about the “angle” and the “inverted pyramid” from my classmate when I asked back in first year.

That sounds like something I can overcome easily in my next years in college. But believe me, it made me anxious about my future and my standing as a student.

Aside from the lessons in class, I know that I have to look for an avenue where I can hone my writing skills. Despite being hesitant of my capabilities, I applied for the news writer position for the Flame in my second year and fortunately, I got accepted.

In this publication, I found individuals who are more than willing to welcome a lot of people despite minimal space in the office, and who fervently loved what they are doing—writing and serving the Artlet community.

I would like to believe that in my every coverage and article commented on and returned by my editors, I gained new perspectives on how important journalism is and I have improved my writing skills.

Surprisingly, I can say that I did not only find a place where I can hone my crafts but I also found a home.

A year later, I was promoted as scenes editor, and as one of the seniors in the publication, I wanted to emulate the people who welcomed me. After my first few months as an editor, I tried to think that I have done my best but upon reflecting on my performance as one and as a student, I thought it was never enough and I had to push myself a little more in both aspects.

The Flame has played a crucial role in reporting issues and digging into controversies. I always kept in mind that I might be the cause of the failure not just of the Scenes section, but also of the entire publication.

But I am lucky to be surrounded with people who—despite the pressure of juggling academics and press work helped me exert more effort to deliver and continue contributing in igniting Artlets’ intellectual senses.

The University and the Faculty had their own controversies such as the missing P50,000 council fund, Type-B uniforms, tuition hike, and recently, the P1,200 “pilgrimage” fee.

My stay as a student and my short stint in the Flame made me realize not only the significance of journalism even in the micro setting and what I wanted to pursue as a profession, but also the importance of pushing my capabilities to some extent for myself and for others.
I know that I still have a lot to improve on when I get into the industry. But for my last article in the Flame, I would like to thank the people who were never subtle in showing their support—teaching me that it would never hurt to go beyond what I normally do.

To my family—Mama, Papa, Vanessa, and close relatives—you believed in me more than I did in myself. I never said this before but I would like you to know that I always felt safe and at peace when I am with you. This is all for you.

To Lola Ateng who did not make it hours before my graduation, I hope I still made you proud. Thank you for everything; you can rest now.

To my former editors who served as my mentors outside the classroom—Ate Gaea, Kuya Donn, and Mikkah—you have imparted a lot of lessons in me and I hope I did the same to the Scenes writers. Thank you for trusting me.

To Erma, Nam, Ivan, Mark, Jane and Alex, I am grateful to have met and stayed with you since first year. College life became bearable because of you.

To the Scenes section, I had my lapses and despite that, I am thankful that you gradually became committed to the Flame. Ian, Luis, and Eugene, please take care not only of the section but of the entire publication more than we did —do it for the Flame and the Artlet community.

To the Lord, for being the source of my strength.

Lastly, I am grateful for the Flame not only for being an avenue where I practiced journalism but also for being a home to all of us—allowing us to grow and go beyond what we thought was our limit. F

For feedback, email vannvillegas.theflame@gmail.com.

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