“Kids, I’m gonna tell you an incredible story.” Such are the opening words of the hit American sitcom How I met your mother and they seem to encapsulate the life I had in college with the Flame: a story worth sharing. This will be my last perspective for the Flame. Similar to a president ending his/her term, I am here writing my valedictory message with the narratives I collected while working for this publication.
Three years ago, during my enrollment, I was handed with a booklet that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB). I remember telling my father how well written the articles in the booklet were and betting him that it was the college publication who made that. Even after enrolling in the English Language Studies (ELS) program, thoughts suddenly came into my mind about shifting to Journalism. That was my plan when I was too naïve and afraid to take a program I am not passionate about. A year later, after giving the ELS program a chance, I decided to not shift anymore for unknown reasons. My decision became a product of multiple existential crises and apathetic conducts on how I view my life.
My existential crisis is a product of uncertainty and doubt. However, looking at the bright side, it pushed me to come to my senses and asked myself multiple times what I really want. Excelling in my academic status is one thing, but being genuinely happy is another. Before I joined the Flame, I had doubts, like any person who is trying to change his/her life. Fortunately, I was able to witness the beauty of working for a publication through my friend, Genelaine. She is now a senior photographer of TomasinoWeb. I remember her seeking for my help when she was taking the qualifying exam for the publication. I realized that this time, I have enough passion to join such publication. I, however, was afraid of sharing my photographs with other people. I found them unusual, and most of my friends didn’t really appreciate them as I do, so I kept them for myself. As a matter of fact, I shoot photos as an escapism escape from the harsh reality that somehow degrades the value of life we want to have. It became clear to us, the more we expose ourselves to the world through photographs, the more we create an alternate realm that we carefully choose to base on what we shoot. That is how I define photography, but working for the Flame supplied another meaning for it.
When I became a member and now an assistant editor of the photography department of the Flame, my passion turned into a chore that needed to be done. Every time I encounter stress from this publication, I always tell myself that I never signed up for this “hard” job. Nevertheless, this publication brought colors into my college life. Stories such as meeting actors and celebrities in theatre plays, joining rallies even though my parents forbid me to go, and going in a one day trip with a national artist are some of the narratives I will never forget and will gladly look back to. All these folders of photos became memories of learnings and happiness that I never thought I will find in this publication. This only proves that whatever decision we are about to make won’t make sense in the beginning. All these will seemingly come into place once we get the happiness we deserve, and this is how our stories end. Also, this is how I want my future children to hear it.
This amazing chapter of my life will not be a story worth sharing without these people.
To my parents, who never heard anything about my covers and only discovers them once they are published online, your likes and shares of those posts are appreciated;
To my photography department, Ate Kath, Danie, Barbs, Mikee, Jane, and Chesca, your skills in photography inspire me to be better;
To all the editors of the Flame I got the chance to work with, specifically Mikkah, Adam, and Andrea, your company kept me sane throughout the year we worked together;
To 4ELS1, my ultimate hype people who never failed to encourage me to pursue my passion for photography, you guys are probably the most amazing people I met in college;
To Jeff, you were always right beside me throughout this journey. I couldn’t ask for a better person to first look at my photographs before I show them to the world;
To Mazhie, Quiane, Sheila, Genelaine, Trina, Ryoma, and a lot more friends who supported me, you, guys, deserve all the happiness in the world.
What I did to express my thoughts and feelings through photographs actually helped me to build myself, and I am honored to share it with the community of brilliant minds and spirits in AB. I hope you will also find something that will help you become a better person for yourself and for this country. F
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