Fresh from the IQUAME interview, where we student leaders as a whole answer various questions, and I having answered a couple of questions myself was thrown this question out of the blue: "Do you still remember your first year in AUF?" Having paused for a moment and trying to traverse through the labyrinth of my aging mind (not enough time especially with the prying eyes of the interviewers seem likely to get heavier by the stare), I just had to say yes, when in all honesty, I can't remember that many events that took place when I was at first year at that moment; as if I threw all memory away of my not-so-distant past.
Now trying to retrace the events from first year up to this point and it may not be that specific like what shirt I wore on the first day, but things that I believed shaped up my years in AUF, and having reached my fourth year in B.S. Biology, a perfect means to summarize my college life.
Much like everyone else, straight from graduating high school, going through the main gate of AUF, which will later be synonymous to the likes of Big Boy, you'd probably get a rush of confidence in saying "I am finally a college student," and having the feeling of being more mature (I know I did, but I was the most immature at that time... maybe even now) and yet getting lost in the many rooms and buildings and ultimately asking a higher level where the PS building is located. Feeling good about yourself finding the room you need to be in only to be petrified by the sight of your new classmates and stiff to the bone in front of your new professors - all such things would lead to a hellish first few days of your new life in college as it did me when I was first year.
As the smoke cleared from the first days of college life, no subject, in my mind, or that of my classmates', seemed daunting, but as always, a subject that seems to be trouble-free and most likely to be taken in for granted only to outweigh any major subject that came before or after, feared and yet respected. Yes, I am speaking of CFE. Bearing the name of Christian, I am easily remembered by all my CFE professors and to no surprise, "volunteer work" and "volunteer recitations" were eminent. I also recall before taking the exams, me and my classmates bravely elbow our way through to the CFE board just to read the extra 5-10 questions based on it. And we all know how much those 5-10 points can help us.
Nearing the end of first year, I finally got my first official college crush (yes, she is and still is a beauty), at that point I told myself that I will get a girlfriend in college (has not been been fulfilled... yet). Mustering every ounce of courage I had to get her number, befriend her long enough to ask her out only to get turned down because apparently there is a height requirement. Though this experienced had traumatized me, I still get to smile about it every time I recall it.
Sophomore year came; to think it could never come sooner. Had a certain attitude towards the new "freshies" as "I am more college than them" even if most of them, guys and girls, are taller than me. Not old enough to be as cool as the third and fourth years, yet not young to hang around the the first years anymore. I was, or so I thought, in the "in" crowd - having no more 7AM classes, and finally got some lower levels to push around. So I was, like most of my friends, lax in second year.
My bonds with my friends strengthened here as we lasted a year together; my bonds with the other courses within CAS strengthened as well; and in time, my "I am more college than them" attitude was thrown out the window and I became friends with the lower levels. All throughout my second year was mulled with new friends.
The most memorable subject I had back at second year was Special Filipino, having to sing Tagalog songs and recite the national anthem in front of fellow foreigners who later will become my good buddies (the nosebleed group). We usually get away with a lot more things than any other student in AUF but we still have a way of getting into trouble with Ma'am Nepo in the ISA. I should probably give her a visit and show her the "new" Christian.
Second year flew by much faster than that of first year and before I knew it, I am sporting an I.D. with "B.S. BIO 3" on it (fine, there wasn't any number placed at that time so I made one myself). Being a certified "kuya", I have resurfaced my attitude towards the lower levels and with that I tend to strut about the campus only to be hounded by my second and third moms (my mother's close friends who are tasked to watch over me in school) to have "a better posture."
Strengthening bonds as I did in second year only this time with my professors begs for the stereotypical labeling of teacher's pet to be written on my forehead. Still pretty close with all my other friends and at this point I realized that I never had a major falling out with any of my friends. Of course, I have had enemies already made at this time, some of which are still after me (notices a red laser dot quivering on his wall), none of them were ever once a friend of mine. Well, that will all change at this point.
It happens with everyone, severing a bond with a friend, even it is for a moment, because of certain things. Tensions piling up to my third year and continue to amass in my fourth year. I have lost quite a few friends at this point, having reconciled with most, whereas others it's as if I didn't really care for them in the first place. But whatever the case, though they may no longer be in my circle of friends, I still owe them because they shaped up my life as well. So, love your enemies... it pisses them off that way anyway.
Girls are an integral part of a guy's life, so girls continue to beckon me all through my years in AUF. Eager to advance from my stagnant love life only to have the height requirement laugh at my face again. Once asked from the guidance and counselling if I had any problems with my love life, I simply answered no, with my philosophy, I wouldn't have a problem in my love life if it never existed in the first place.
Now I am at my graduating year, being bullied by my thesis, valiantly trying to ensure my graduation, and typically trying to make the most of my last year with my classmates before going our separate paths later on. I must admit though, it hasn't been smooth sailing this fourth year for me in terms of academics or interacting with my friends appropriately - lost track of my studies for many a reason and haven't always been a good friend if need be.
Just now entering the finals of the first semester, plenty of time still to make up for my shortcomings and make the most of my last year, I could easily say that these four years in college will, in due course, overshadow my elementary and high school years combined.
So that's how it went, some things omitted, turning out like this from a scrawny kid back in the day, learning a lot from the academe and life in general and now I would try and finish my final year with a lot more memories to be placed well in my heart. Like that time when I feared my new classmates but would later become my close friends; that time when I can't find my way around school but ultimately can go through the school blindfolded; the three day weekends; and when you don't know your classmates well enough, let alone your new professor, but share a laugh in class - that's when I felt like I belonged. Answering my question I threw when I was second year, "What's the point of all this? What is it worth to study this long and hard?" well, with all my friends and memories I shared with during my studies, simply, "it was worth all the while."
-End of Article-
This was written Circa 2009 for my then college, The College of Arts and Sciences, where I was a student under the B.S. Biology program. I was asked to contribute two articles that year, quite fitting that it was my graduating year, so out of the two, this is the only one I can recover from my old files. I don't remember where I saved my second article that year, but anyway, this was better than the second article. Plus, this only took me 10 minutes to write up; I was a better stringer of words back in the days...