Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Once There Was An Expedition - The Battle Of Diliman

After E. Cruz

Arts and Letters Building. The Royal Pontifical University. Circa 1999.

"Don't forget to pass your assignment..."

Soon after giving her instructions, the English professor left the classroom. I slipped out without getting much attention from friends eager to go out and take a break. I was planning to speak with the professor before she reaches her next class. My goal was to seek her affirmation before making a decision that will shape my last two years in the university.

We were halfway before the end of the second semester. Everyone was talking about the majors they will take up the following school year. One of my best friends wanted to focus in Economics, while the other, the one I am closer to, was thinking of joining the new batch of Behavioral Science students. I too wanted to be in that major. A year of adjustments from high school to college opened my eyes to the inner struggles of a person conforming to a new environment. Profiling people was my passion in life.

Students from my professor's other classes slowed down her movement. Some would stop by and greet her "good afternoon maam!," which she would simply ignore. Perhaps she knew they were up to no good. Since most of them were bound to fail, they try to suck up hoping for a sure salvation.

Others would inquire about their missed assignments, which in turn would make her ballistic. You see, this professor has an attitude. Aside from being downright bitchy, she's among the laziest in the faculty. She was our teacher in one of the English subjects during our first year. Not only did she show up only for five meetings during the whole semester, she also gave low grades to everyone in her subject.

Nobody dared complain.

Despite being famous for her nastiness, no one could accuse her of incompetence. Her lectures were well delivered and as an excellent communicator, her lessons get through her students. Though some may catch her openly smoking across the building, (with the "bad" professors of our time) her tough love forced everyone to write diligently out of fear they might fail her subject.

During our darkest and most confusing times, the only way to breathe for a while and attain peace of mind is to observe on our surroundings and learn to enjoy the small things that were always there but we rarely noticed. Call me weird but watching the sunrise in the morning is one way of freeing myself from reality. For other people, it is just usual because they see it every morning. But for me who always wakes up late in the morning, it seems like out of this world and it gives me inspiration to at least, attain peace of mind. Like stargazing, running under the rain, listening to the mating calls of the insects or just enjoying the simplest of the things that we rarely noticed, we developed a sense of tranquility to attain peace of mind.

- To Free Your Mind Is To Free Your Body And To Free Your Body Is To Free Yourself,
Types of Paragraph. (Definition)

I don't know how she knew me in class. But since she was the only one who saw my works, her being my English Teacher was the best arbiter of my writing ability.

Pressure was building up not only at home, but inside of me as well. Mother wanted me to take up Journalism so I could take over my father's publishing business someday. The problem was, I had this impression that only those who were part of the school paper (aside from the geeks and the literati people of the college) enroll in my mother's preferred major. I saw myself as someone too japorms for a somber Journ student stereotype.

Besides, my Reading teacher in Grade Five and my English high school teacher in Fourth Year have already passed their judgment. They doubted whether the pieces I submitted in class were my writings. They found mine too "advanced" for an average student. It wasn't as bothersome back then, but I never realized how it grew thorns and spikes and became a confidence issue I had to deal in college. So there. the years I was put down played back inside my head until it became the reason I couldn't decide whether to give up my dreams of becoming a Psychologist, and give way to my family's wish to write my future as a modern scribe. Only one person held my salvation, and many years later, I still recall the very moment she changed my life.

The English Professor was about to enter her next class when I finally broke my silence.


"Ano yun, Mr. Galen?"

"Ummmm, you think I can make it in Journalism?"

"And why not???"

"Puro mga writers ang makakasama ko dun eh. Hindi ko alam kung worthy na ba yung mga essays na pinapasa ko sa inyo para makipagsabayan sa kanila."

She never told me in flowery sentences her support of my decision, yet with four little words, she was able to allay the doubts I had with my craft. Shortly before shutting the door to begin her lecture, she smiled and gave her final answer.

"Kaya mo yan. Go."

For the first time, words of encouragement came out of her mouth. For all the years she spoke ill of people, her kindness was revealed to me. I don't know the number of students who braved her brutality to receive her wisdom. But for me back then, it was a good decision I sought hers,

thinking she would be the first one to discourage my used-to-be ambition.

The semester ended. She gave me the highest grade she bestows in her subject.



A decade later, I found myself putting my name in the registration form and enrolling the final three units in my masters.


engel said...

so you finally decided to go back to school. good luck joms!!

and thanks for the link ;)

will take note of that.

<*period*>; said...

kaya pala...

good luck.

balitaan mo ako ha, plano ko kasi magmasters,...nagiipon pa lang ako (just in case hindi maaprubahan yung scholarship application..at least may fall back)

MkSurf8 said...

ang cool ni Ma'am. GOW! =) good luck malapit ka na matapos sa masters mo.

so inuman na ulet???? hehehe

Anonymous said...

tangina, esther cruz ba ito? hahaha!

remember, nagkaabutan tayo sa AB? hahaha, hilarious! ^_^ journ pa tayong dalawa. naabutan pa nating pareho si benjar toor! hahaha!

adik ako, pasensya, mr. galen. ^_^

anyhow, it's nice to be back reading your blog posts again.

namiss kita.

pie said...

terror profs.. i've had too many, but unlike you, i wasnt lucky enough to be shown a soft side. :) gudlak sa remaining units mo joms.

john stanley said...

3 more units and you'll finally make it. good luck.

Niel Camhalla said...

Nga pala musta na masteral? Nagte-thesis ka na dapat di ba?

Galen said...

Neil: Remember I stop going to school last semester? This is the comeback. I'm delayed by at least a year.

John: I should have completed it last summer. I had to deal with my inner demons which I haven't exorcised yet.

Pie: I don't recall any terror professors in college. Only power-tripping ones.

Galen said...

Engel: Wish me luck, I'm down to my last budget for school.

Period: Anong balak mo i-masters sa UP? Medyo maraming requirements kelangan dun ha?

MkSurf8: Ikaw lang ang hindi nagpapakita eh. Banned muna ako sa Malate hanggang hindi ko pa halfway nababayaran yung bago kong phone.

Galen said...

Carl: Ka-batch mo ba si Abby Austriaco? Hehehe. Yup, I'm referring to the diva. Lol.

xtian1978ii said...

wow Galen go fo it. Proud of you. When you're a full pledge writer i-hire mo ako ha, promise sabi nila I'm good in what I do, next time ko na sasabihin sayo kung ano 'yun, kahit freelance lang

Galen said...

Xtian: Alam ko kung saan ka magaling. Graphic Design, tama ba? Hehehehehe.

<*period*>; said...

ang plano ko kasi dun sa school ng green archers.affiliated kasi dun yung boss ko..ang gusto kong kunin ay master of fine arts in creative writing...sakali mang hindi maaprubahan yung scholarship application, saka ako magaapply sa UP Diliman..baka sa film school..kakilala ko na rin kasi yung isa sa mga terror na prof dun, yung director ng 24 oras at unang hirit, si sir ruel. (balita ko, strict yung selection process nila..kaya nagpapaganda muna ako ng credentials bago mag-apply sa UP..and, the moment na mag-masters ako, magpapalit na ako ng career.papasukin ko na ang academe)

kaya ayun, medyo urong sulong ako.

tulad ng sabi ko sa huling post ko, this time, gusto ko namang kumbinsihin ang sarili ko na nagkamali sila sa pagsasabing isa akong malaking failure.

MkSurf8 said...

ako rin yoko muna mag Malate. =) inuman muna tayo sa kanto. pwamis yan. next balik ko kasi purely R&R na. no work! see ya!

X said...

I wish I had some form of clarity, just like yours. It's always inspiring when people pursue.

Great blog, I must say.

Galen said...

X: This is my attempt to find my direction. Welcome to my blog.

MkSurf8: Suuure!! DM mo lang ako sa twitter pag nag-aya ka inuman.

Period: You're the only one who tells yourself you're a failure. Huwag mo silang pakinggan and you won't feel that way.

Besides. Like I told you last time. Just do it.

~Carrie~ said...

All the best, Joms :)

Galen said...

Carrie: Thank you.