(still) Finding my voice


A couple of outtakes from my casual shoot for the AEGIS 2012 Yearbook. Taken by Tony the photographer from Agencie, Inc., slightly edited in Adobe Photoshop by me.

This entry is long overdue.

College is when I have encountered some of life’s dark days, when the taste of bitter failure and bland disappointment have become a bit too familiar. There were lonesome lunch breaks spent with a laptop or a book or class readings for company. There were deadlines missed, decisions unfulfilled, dreams half-baked. Lost things and lost hopes. Hesitations and humiliations. An inseparable pair called uncertainty and insecurity creep into conscious thoughts at random moments.

What’s more, countless what-if-I-did-this-instead scenarios spring to mind. What if I chose to study English literature instead? Or creative writing? Or communication? Why did I end up in psychology again? Oh yeah, because I want to learn more about what makes people the way they are, in all their beautifully strange complexities, for me to write better about them.

Regardless of endless mistakes, the idealistic optimist in me kept the paranoid worry wart from emerging. I rarely lost enthusiasm in studying, in fulfilling every academic requirement, in staying curious, in rushing to class, to simply live out whatever Magis means to me. I find myself doing these while managing to sneak in some time for a tryst, a shopping spree, a riveting book, a compelling movie, a delightful restaurant dinner, a snatch of conversation and a captivating story.

Troubles and trifles aside, the last three years have been the most incredibly amazing years of my life so far.

This is an excerpt from a piece I have written for my creative writing (non-fiction) class, wherein I wrote a letter to my seventeen-year-old self:

“…You still have not shed more weight than you aspired to have, lived and studied independently in another continent, nor made tangible that persisting image of your byline printed in black letters on a glossy page. You however, have learned other priceless lessons that will come in handy for a lifetime. You will slowly realize that with patience and faith, time is on your side. Your life plan does not happen exactly how you imagine it, and yet, other things manage to happen instead, usually far more interesting and surprising than you’d dare imagine. Most of all, there are those whom you will meet in the last three years..,”

Definitely, college life would not mean anything to me without people around me. There are the people whom I have crossed paths with-strangers, close friends and friendly acquaintances, epic, crazy, and daunting teachers, and there are people admired from afar.

Three years have been indescribably wonderful, 90% because of the chance to meet such interestingly amazing persons, 10% for all the life-altering lessons learned from them. These lessons are not found anywhere but someplace where knowledge and opinions, diversity, people you share the same generation with, thrive and interact so unreservedly, like nowhere else in the world. Universities, in general. Universities with sprawling campus grounds and picturesque architecture. Universities where there is no racism nor sexism. Universities where students discover who they are through the lives of other people. Universities where separate disciplines, like moral philosophy and experimental psychology, biology and theology, can seamlessly intertwine. To be a student in a university is to open yourself up to a multitude of worlds at the same time that you have to actively be aware that you are in, every single day, else it will just be someplace you go to just because you need to. Naturally, we go to places or do things because we need to; but maybe sometimes, it’s not enough to need. Maybe we have to genuinely want it as well.

University life is what you make of it, as it is with every other aspect of existence.

* * *

This is me, attempting to find my voice once again, hoping to lessen the cliché and to build more panache, to make writing feel more natural and spontaneous once more, like the girl who once used Calvin & Hobbes and Snoopy comics and handwriting fonts in her campaign materials to win people’s hearts into voting for her as she runs for English secretary her high school’s student council, or that girl who, when reading a mystery book, is able to escape for hours from her messy Manila life, or that girl who gets lost easily, although happily does so, trusting that she will somehow find her way back. ☁

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