Ang Puno’t Dulo

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July 25.
Cebu, Philippines
One dear friend celebrates.

July 25.
Manila, Philippines
One dear friend grieves.

Job 8:9
Sapagka’t tayo’y kahapon lamang, at walang nalalaman, sapagka’t ang ating mga kaarawan sa lupa ay anino.

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Ang Culture Shock

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Culture Shock.
People cursing loudly at class,
Joking about suicide,
Laughing and telling someone who’s reporting in front to
“just sit down and finish it already”
Just because he can’t pronounce the words correctly.
Self-gratification.
Lack of submission.
Entitlement issues.

Compassion over complacency, Lord please. Ayaw ko pong  masanay.

Playlist of Memories

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           After a month, she grew to love the sound of silence.

         Well, not the silence itself – but how in silence she can drown out her thoughts and simply be herself. Yes, in silence her demons scream, her worries whisper empty nothings and her fears remind her of her past; but also in silence can she feel the peace and contentment, the stillness of life.

        The sun is up as she boarded the bus, bracing herself for the next four hours of silence. She stuffed herself with food and was settling in her seat when the sunlight hit her face. It was a good day to go home. So she grabbed her earphones, leaned back and played her playlist as the engine started to rumble.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have change.
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remains.1

           As the song continues to play, Y can’t help but travel through time.

         First day of dental school. Y is excited for the days ahead. New school means new friends and a fresh start. It was not easy because this new place is miles and miles away from home.

          Y cringes at the thought of seeing her 16 year old self seemingly sure and fearless of the future. Just like any first year student, she was both anxious and excited about college life.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.2

        Four years into dental school and just when Y thought everything will be okay, she started to fail. She saw her classmates move on. She saw them happy with what they are doing. She saw them contented and fulfilled.

        Funny thing is that once Y failed one subject and another one she saw teachers and mentors that gave her the look. The “you used to be top of your class now you’re failing” look and she found herself shrugging it off.

          It used to be fun. Learning new things and learning from your mistakes. It used to be exciting and challenging at the same time. But it’s a different story the joy and excitement was replaced by fear of being wrong and the pressure of comparison.

I got money in my pocket. Shoes on my feet.
But I always felt like the one black sheep.3

          “Why can’t I see you doing clinical works downstairs?” asked one of Y’s clinical instructor.

             “Yes doc” was all she uttered.

        Deep down she is not happy about it. She doesn’t know where to start. She doesn’t know if she can still catch up. Fear overcomes her. So she answers affirmatively, more to confirm the truth than to feel guilty about the reprimand. Maybe because it’s a convenient answer and it’s simpler than explaining how she felt trapped, burn out and tired of failing.

Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard.
Oh take me back to the start.4

         “I felt so left behind. It is as if everyone is moving on and here I am feeling stuck in the same old place”

          “This is not a race, it’s not always about who comes first and who finished last” Y said.

        One o’clock in the morning and Y is wide awake overthinking and reminding herself of the very same words that she used to say to a friend. She needs to hear it for herself and she repeats it again and again until she believes so or until slumber overcomes her.

Don’t stop the madness. Don’t stop the chaos.
Don’t stop the pain surrounding me.
Don’t be afraid Lord to break my heart
Just bring me down to my knees.5

         “Lord, if dentistry is not for me please give me a way out”

       “Lord, If I pass all of my subjects, please give me grace and joy to continue and finish well but Lord, If I fail even one subject then please grant me courage to walk away from dentistry” Y prayed.

        When the grades were released, it was as if a heavy burden was lifted from Y’s shoulder. Three 5.0s in her grade sheets but she never felt so relieved in her life. She walks away.

I’m going home to the place where I belong
Where your love has always been enough for me.6

        Leaving a familiar place was quite hard but there are also days where she longs for home. Home where she away from all these mess she has made in her life. She misses Cebu of course but she missed the people most. She had found friends that turned into families.

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention 7

        Six months after coming home. Y still hasn’t decided on what to do with her life. Fickle minded as she is, she is still in a fork road torn between finishing something she started or taking a new career path. After days and nights of wrestling with fears and what ifs, she chose to move on.

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh I believe in yesterday.8

         As the song continues to play, Y can’t help but travel through time.

       First day of art school, Y is so excited for the days ahead. New school means new friends and a fresh start. It was a bit easy because this new place is closer to home.

       Y cringes at the thought of seeing her 23 year old self seemingly sure and fearless of the future. Just like any first year student, she was both anxious and excited about college life. Her second shot at it.

       The sun is about to set as she board the bus, bracing herself for the next one hour of silence. She was hungry as she transferred to another bus. She was settling on her seat when the melancholic golden glow hits her face. It was indeed a good day to come home. So she grabbed her earphones, leaned back and played her playlist as the engine started to rumble.

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh yesterday came suddenly

        As the song continues to play, y can’t help but look forward for what the weekend home has in store.

      She closes her eyes and let Paul McCartney lull her to sleep as he continues the song with “Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.

 








1 The Beatles. “In My Life.” By Lennon, J. McCartney, P. Rubber Soul. Northern Songs Ltd., 1965.
2 Terry Jacks. “Seasons in the Sun.” By Bre, J. Seasons in the Sun. Bell, 1973.
3 Mat Kearney. “One Black Sheep.” By Kearney, M. Johnson, M. Just Kids. Aware/Republic/Inpop, 2015.
4 Coldplay. “The Scientist.” By Berryman, G. Buckland, J. Champion, W. Martin, C. A Rush of Blood to the Head. Parlophone, 2001
5 Tenth Avenue North. “Don’t Stop the Madness” By Donohey, M. Jamison, J. Owen, J. Shirley, R. Juarez, B. The Struggle. Reunion, 2012.
6 Daughtry. “Home” By Daughtry, C. Daughtry. RCA, 2006.
7 Frank Sinatra. “My Way” By Anka, P. My Way. Reprise, 1969.
8 The Beatles. “Yesterday” By Lennon, J. McCartney, P. Help!. Palophone, 1965.

Ang Ligaya

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Few minutes ago, the national dental board exam results was release at mga mem…DENTISTA NA YUNG MGA KABARKADA KO!

After quitting dentistry, I thought I will regret it once I saw my friends passing the boards. I thought that when this day comes I will see flashbacks of my dent life. But here I am with tears of joy and pigil na sigaw dahil sa excitement.

I was with them since day one and witnessed their struggles. The broke days because of trips to dental supply store. The stress of balancing classes and clinical works. I’ve seen them frustrated with agents and patients that went AWOL.  I’ve seen them weary from the countless “repeat”. I’ve seen them ranting. I’ve seen them sigh. I’ve seen them cry and now I see them succeed and my heart is bursting of pride and joy for them.

Tonight is a proof that God answers prayers and He is faithful to finish what He has started. Tonight is a proof that God answers prayers and He is not finish with me yet.

I can finally say this with much conviction. Mga mem, I have moved on.

UM Open Admissions : A Clean Slate

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         “A leading institution of higher learning recognized for its quality transformative education serving the nation and the world.” – University of Mindanao, Vision

         University of Mindanao is one of the numerous schools in the Philippines with an open admission policy. The dictionary defines open admissions as “a policy of admitting applicant to an institution, especially a university, regardless of previous academic record or grades.”

       As the first school to offer tertiary education in Southern Mindanao, It was the founders’ vision to provide education to its people especially the underprivileged. It is in line with this vision that the university continues to serve the nation through its open admission policy.

          John Holt on his book How Children Learn said that  “The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don’t know”. As early as two years old children has to prove themselves to authorities higher than them that they know something. It is evident in the numerous fill in the blanks of ABC’s and 1,2,3s as well as the countless repeat after mes. Come elementary and high school, children are introduced to the pressure of keeping up and competing with their fellow students. Students will be trained and tested. They will take countless quizzes and exams to check if they have learned. They will be equipped and they will be weighed and they will be measured. It is a never ending battle of proving yourself to the people around you.

       Transitioning from high school to college can be quite a challenge. Student will face series of choices, choices that will determine their future. Students will have to decide for themselves where to go to school, what course to take, and what career to purse. While deciding for their future, the students will also have to take in different factors such as the compatibility of their chosen career to their knowledge on the subjects related to that course and this is where open admissions makes a difference.

    One of University of Mindanao’s open admission policy’s advantages is that students from different walks of life are welcome to study and learn in an environment that they are accepted regardless of their previous academic records. Students from high school or even student that has transferred from another school are also given the opportunity to have a clean slate. Students are given a fresh start, a new beginning in which they are not categorized on how much they have learned in their past but are given the chance to learn more with a leveled playing field. Students are encouraged to pursue their chosen career without the fear of being not good enough. The students are given the freedom of choosing a career they want to pursue without being compartmentalize on “this is where you are good at according to the results of the tests”. Students are given the chance to explore and learn new things and develop new skills.

       As University of Mindanao envision having a leading institution of higher learning recognized for its quality transformative education serving the nation and the world, It’s open admission policy sure is a stepping stone in achieving the vision of its founders.