Category Archives: Schoo-Life

Me as a college girl trying to get decent grades and just survive.

Almost There

There are only 4 requirements left for the rest of the semester: a paper, two exams and a business  plan presentation.
(However, counting the non-academic things I have going on.. *loses count*)

I can’t believe the semester is almost over. Still, some things don’t change. I’m still awake at 2 in the morning, watching an episode of Fringe Season 2 and writing this blog post, instead of getting some much needed sleep that I haven’t been able to indulge in since forever. I don’t have class tomorrow, but I go to school to hang out and study with my guy, going to organization events later in the afternoon. My bags are messy, there’s a tab where Facebook is open, and I just killed an hour earlier tonight browsing Instagram.

Many things don’t change.

Yet I believe that this semester changed me in many ways I didn’t expect. I didn’t make as much progress on my thesis as I’d be comfortable with, yet I feel as tired as the rest of my block mates who got to present their preliminary results in local and internation conferences. I almost didn’t read a single fictional book for the entire semester, giving in just this week (and it’s the last week of regular classes). I actually read multiple textbooks on the same topics, never mind the repetitive principles. Surprisingly, I even got to score high enough as to be the top 8 scorer (we were only 30+ so it wasn’t that great of a feat) on an exam in a subject taught by our institute director . I didn’t know I was capable of these things: of discipline, or a more efficient strategy for time management, of actually excelling in my academics while trying to be more involved in my newest organization and also maintaining a relationship.

It wasn’t easy, but it seems that  I pulled through.
And now, there’s almost only 6 months left before I have to face what’s out there.

When people say that being a student is the easiest thing to be throughout your whole life, career-wise that is, it’s because students’ lives are predictable to the point of being boring and cumbersome. They are provided sets of predetermined tests and lessons to plow through for a certain number of years, with the expectation of absorbing at least a certain amount. Never mind that they may end up an insurance agent even with a Math degree. I have never really believed in that–in fact, I believe that being a student was harder in that you had no choice but adhere to the path that the academe has laid out for you. There is little room for maneuvering, and those that don’t survive or choose to drop out statistically end up with menial jobs and a lack of opportunities. I viewed it as societal manipulation in the most clever way: targeting both fear of the inability to provide for oneself and the desire to live in comfort, even luxury.

But when I think now of what I plan to do after graduation (if, God willing, I graduate on time), I begin to realize that the saying is true. The ‘real world’ sounds scary because there are a lot of unpredicatabilities. I realize that, in 6 months’ time, I cannot simply just wake up in the morning and worry about what to wear, whether all my notebooks are in my bag, if I have my ID with me. I cannot plan if I’m going to be studying during the weekend for an exam in the next coming week. I would have to look at schools to apply, a visa to apply for, scholarships whose basic requirements I qualify for. I’d have to finally apply for a passport. Most importantly, I will be subjecting myself to the utmost unpredictability of getting accepted to both a (full) scholarship and a forensic school. I know that these, in my case, cannot be mutually exclusive.

The line I’d have to traverse seems fairly straight, but experience teaches us that it is rarely the case. I guess that’s why they had to differentiate distance from displacement. Yet this unpredictability is what most crave for: the ability to choose what they want to do and the freedom to follow through with it. For me, it seems almost like a challenge to my upbringing, if what I’ve garnered over the years is enough to earn my survival in the wild.

I feel excited but I don’t think I’m ready. Not yet.
I still have six months to procrastinate, as typical of most students.

But I do know..
I’m almost there.

*******23

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The Day I Realize that I Can’t Live Up to My Mother’s Dreams

Yes, in my life’s bucket list is making my mom really proud of me. For details, read on.                   Photo courtesy of http://thebettermanprojects.com.

March 12, 2014.
Just in case I don’t get to upload this blog post on the actual day.

It’s Saturday and we just got back a couple of hours ago from Tagaytay (Philippines), where my mom has decided she’d settle in when she gets older. It’s pretty cold and windy up there and one need not be paranoid about floods anymore (compared to where we live now, which is in Malabon–again in the Philippines) since, as the land-seller says, “If it floods even one inch up here, you can be assured that the rest of (Metro) Manila has sunk.” I can say it’s a really great place to settle in: no need for airconditioning despite the Philippines’ tropical climate, relatively friendly neighbors, quiet village but not so far from civilization, et cetera.

Anyway, we get back home and my oldest sister tells me about this series entitled Veronica Mars. It’s basically an old series (2004-2007?) starring Kristen Bell who is the daughter of a private investigator and has taken to following her father’s footsteps. Kinda like Nancy Drew, but more independent and whose ‘hobby’ is semi-supported by her dad. So we’re watching this series in the dining room since my mom was busy multi-tasking and cleaning out the refrigerator, when I checked out my CRS site to view my grades this semester. See, despite being a sort-of decent, well-rounded student with no harmful vice to speak of (i.e. drugs, alcohol, smoking), I just got to be a College Scholar (hereafter referred to as CS) this semester.

Some terms:
CS is a recognition given to those who manage to acquire a 1.75 general weighted average (GWA) for a semester. Our grading system is such that 1.0 is the highest, 3.0 is the passing, and anything below that is failing; ergo, the lower the grade, the better. Those who get a GWA of 1.45 and ‘below’ for a semester are recognized as US or University Scholars.
CRS is our school’s online..database of sorts where we enlist our subjects and view our grades and whatnot. Oh, jsyk, I’m in college.
Latin honors.. I really don’t think I need to explain anything about this except that in our grading system, you get to be a cum laude with a GWA, for your whole college life, of at least 1.75; magna cum laude for at least 1.45; and summa cum laude for at least 1.20.

Back to the main story.
Needless to say, as it is my first time to be a CS, I was ecstatic. Of course I want to be at least a CS for my remaining summer and 2 semesters now that I know I can do it, so it came to me to calculate the lowest GWA I’d have to get in my remaining 33 units to qualify for Latin honors. The short of it is I’m gonna need 1.1212 to qualify for cum laude. Thing is, if I could do it, I would’ve done so ages ago.

I’m not limiting myself by saying that, partly because I don’t want to jinx any chances of getting higher GWAs in the future. But given my extracurriculars and apparent capabilities (and other things), I think that getting a GWA above 2.0 is already an achievement for me. Furthermore, it will be my senior year when the next academic year starts. I’m not belittling my siblings, but I am proud that I will be (with God’s will) the only one among us who will graduate on time, besides the only one who hasn’t failed anything during her undergraduate course (and hopefully, will continue to be so), along with being the first to be recognized as at least a CS during her undergraduate years.

However, other realizations come to mind. See, I was a really bad daughter when I was in elementary–which was also when, ironically, I was at my best when it came to academics. I always told myself that it’s okay since I bring home good grades, that my easily-aroused irritation and bad attitude should be excused because of the high grades I bring home. Despite how mediocre my grades were during high school, I was still proud because I studied and graduated from one of the top high schools in the country and got into a prestigious course at, dare I say, the top university in the country. Needless to say, it was the only school in the country that is offering my course. I now realize that the things mentioned above, along with the comparisons I made with my siblings’ alternate academic journeys, made me complacent and developed a somewhat dampened sense of superiority in me. It made me put my self in the area of exceptions. I realized that the way I thought when I was in elementary never really went away, that I still was a douchebag of a daughter at times since I believed that I can still redeem myself in my mother’s eyes with my grades.

But when life throws you a curveball, you either gotta meet it head on or avoid it, if you can. I don’t think I can avoid this particular curveball, so now I’m facing it head on. I’ve always been so proud of my academic achievements, no matter how small they may be to others (most people, actually) since, besides being testaments to my brain’s capacity and my ability to multitask, they make my mother proud. See, my mother has this habit of owning other peoples’ actions and decisions. With my sisters not exactly rushing to graduate and the other troubles that I will not mention here, I feel proud of making my mother feel that she succeeded in raising us. I want to be the exception among the three of us, in a good way, because she raised us all the same way and I believe that having at least one of us turn out the way she expected will make her realize, “Look, I did a great job of raising my kids after all.” With all these in mind, I had two goals upon entering college: 1) graduate on time, and 2) graduate with honors.

Of course the second goal was replaced with “SURVIVE”, especially during semesters of taking prerequisites to our majors, some of whose relevance to my course I cannot fathom. Now that I realized that I most likely, by which I mean 95% probability, will not graduate with honors, I feel disappointed in myself and for my mom. My mother herself graduated magna cum laude, and that is without the comforts of our living situation today, either financially or brought about by modern times. Our grandmother was super strict on her and her siblings out of necessity, and she did household chores everyday while she was a student. Not one of us followed in her footsteps (both honors-wise and in the chosen field), and I know it must be hard raising us as, virtually, a single mother.

I know that I’m a pretty decent person but now I realize that I’d have to grow up a bit more, and not hide my faulty attitude behind a wall of numbers. Now that I know I won’t be able to make my mom proud of me in the way I hoped to, I have to redeem myself not just through grades but also through being a better daughter. I know this means less tantrums, less shouting, less arguing, and more patience, more persevering, and more succumbing to her ‘will’. I know this will be hard, because I think she has more than enough control over my life as of the moment; but the thought of having her realize that her best was, and will always be, more than good enough to make us the best versions of ourselves (besides our ‘soulmates’, if we are to meet them. hoho) is more than worth it. Starting tonight, I resolve to be a better daughter in all aspects.

And unlike my apparent attitude towards my New Year (2014) post’s goals (finishing at least one Tribesports challenge every month and blogging every month), I intend to stick to this.

“He mounted the broom and kicked hard against the ground and up, up he soared, air rushed through his hair and his robes whipped out behind him — and in a rush of fierce joy he realized he’d found something he could do without being taught — this was easy, this was wonderful.”
— excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Oh, What a Day.

Can’t seem to think of any other way to express my sentiments. Sigh.                                             (Photo courtesy of vimeo.com)

Where to begin? I guess I’ve been setting myself up for this day, thinking that I would be able to do whatever I put my mind to. But my body had other plans.

This post is impulsive, because I just had to get out of the confines of my head, which at the moment is obsessed with reading the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. My mind seems to have forgotten that I have papers and exams coming up, and decided to let me stay up until the wee hours of the morning just reading. Finishing 3 books in four days when you still have to go to school for a minimum of 8 hours a day, plus gym thrice a week, and still get to do all the homeworks and read all the assigned journals and books is no small feat. Probably exactly why I wasn’t able to accomplish it.

Today was the last exam for the first half of one of my majors – and I totally bombed the it. I think I’d be lucky to get 30 percent from the restriction mapping and the other things I was able to guess, but I don’t plan on getting my hopes higher than that. I didn’t want this to happen to me, or at least that’s what I keep thinking. For the past few days, my classmates have been studying their butts off for the exam and doing papers while I work on papers and read Harrison’s novels. And to think I plan on applying for the laboratory of the teacher whose test I bombed.. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and what blew my priorities away.

I truly hope I’d be able to get back on track. Thankfully, there are still some silver linings in this huge, threatening cloud. Having finished books 2-4 of the Hollows series (namely, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; and A Fistful of Charms), I now bring my 2014 reading goal to 5 down, 18 to go! Yes, this series is violent and has a little bit of erotica woven into it (because where there are vampires, sex often follows) but the way K. Harrison wrote the books makes me want to live in that world she has created. Oh, when will the Turn take place on my Earth?

To clarify: I wasn’t able to finish studying for my exam because I fell asleep. ‘Finish studying’ is even pushing it, since I didn’t even get to read or go through at least half of the coverage of the exam. I also wasn’t able to finish a paper on biological ballistics due today, but the universe/God decided to give me a helping hand and our 10 am-1 pm class was cancelled, giving me loads of time to finish it. Which brings to mind: why am I writing a blog post when I should be finishing the paper? The fate of the paper solely rests on my laptop’s battery; thank God I had the sense to buy one from Acer’s Aspire Timeline X line.

To finish this post, I admit that this is one of those times that I truly lost track of what I’m supposed to be focusing on at this point in my life. While I know I’m going to be regretting the results of my lack of sense of priority, I don’t regret the things I did. I truly enjoyed myself while doing them, even when they added virtually irreversible bags under my eyes. And to top it all off, I still have my gym time to look forward to this afternoon. I guess it isn’t all so bad, right? But if the Sorting Hat was to have a say, I doubt he’d consider putting me in Hufflepuff even for just a second.

“..For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, and I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head the Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart;
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff where they are just and loyal;
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin, you’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid! And don’t get in a flap!
You’re in safe hands (though I have none), for I’m a Thinking Cap!”
— excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Missed Connection: A Visit Down Memory Lane

^I’m not such a fan of breaking the words in the wrong places, but I really like the concept. (Photo from http://www.buffalocomedy.com/)

I’ll get right into it because it’s a school night and nearing 2 am already. This is just one of those things that’s been bugging me for a while now, and even causing some restless dreams..so cliche, right? Moreover, the thoughts may have been reinforced when my family started watching the series entitled Sherlock. If you’re a fan of both the books and the past movies, I highly recommend you watch this; after all, there’s just 3 episodes to a season (and the show is currently on its third). The simple connection was this: Benedict Cumberbatch’s appearance reminded me of this guy. Of course, I don’t mean to say that he was as sexy as dear Sherlock, but he shared the general look.

When I was in my early years of high school, I was inclined to be close to some upper years because they were our ‘guides’ as to how to get around the campus, and they were our ‘seniors’ in various organizations. I was pretty sociable but I’ve never really been part of the popular ‘in’ crowd; I gravitated towards ‘more lonely’ people who seemed interesting but just didn’t have an ear to tell their stories to. If I was lucky, I’d end up with a really quiet person whom I’d gradually get to open up to me. This was (and still is, when it happens) gratifying because you can feel the person’s trust building and I’ve always found it nice, seeing them ‘come out of their shells’.

Moving on, there was this boy that I think was at least 2 years older than me; I don’t remember seeing him while I was in my junior year, but maybe I was just too preoccupied with my academics and same-age friends by then. Like B. Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock, he was white, tall, and had a lanky frame; I think he wore glasses from time to time. He looked like he has some foreign blood, and I remember having primarily-English conversations with him. Thinking back, he seemed to prefer being by himself. Nevertheless, I distinctly remember taking walks with him around or school’s oval, something I don’t normally do with people unless we have long, interesting conversations. I truly hope I wasn’t obvious, but I had a crush on him back then. We got along quite well, although I don’t remember how exactly we stopped talking to one another..

Fast-forward to college. I remember thinking where he could have gone, if he even decided to stay in the same country. I didn’t dwell on it; I was pretty preoccupied with adjusting to college life and trying to face my impending academical challenges with renewed ardor. But one day, I saw him: it wasn’t hard to mistake that face for anyone else’s. He grew his hair out and was then sporting a shoulder-length head of curls, not that it fit him well. I distinctly remember feeling the urge to hide and at the same time wondering why he was alone, and whether he would remember me. I’d say we were quite close in high school, so who’s to say the past cannot repeat itself?

I was able to put him out of my mind in time. My classes pretty much confined me to my college’s set of buildings, and I never so much as caught a glimpse of him in the past semesters. But this semester, I’m taking a GE (General Education) class in the Archaeology building, which he seems to frequent. He got a haircut (oh yes please, now you’re looking more like Sherlock!) and looked as if he didn’t change at all since high school! Which then made me reconsider reacquainting myself with him. I eventually got curious enough to consider greeting him sometime; curious at to whether our previous closeness can be reestablished, and whether he just really preferred to be alone like before but still had an interesting personality.

I have doubts of course. I don’t remember his name. He would have recognized me several encounters before if he did remember me, but he showed no signs of recognition. I don’t remember anything specific about him, I just remembered being close to him; consequentially, I feel apprehensive at approaching him because I have no idea on how to open the conversation on a lighthearted yet familiar and welcoming note.

We’ll see in the coming days whether my curiosity gets the better of me, or not.

On other news, I’ve re-finished the first 5 books of the Harry Potter series! I’m now on the 6th book, which is just fitting as I was able to choose the corresponding films as the subject on my upcoming report in my Film GE. I’m supposed to focus on the essay; but it never hurt being familiar with the original works, right? 😉

Mr. Ollivander cried, “Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very good. Well, well, well.. how curious.. how very curious..” He put Harry’s wand back into its box and wrapped it in brown paper, still muttering, “Curious.. curious..”
“Sorry,” said Harry, “but what’s curious?”
Mr. Ollivander fixed Harry with his pale stare.
“I remember every wand I’ve ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather — just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother why, its brother gave you that scar.”
–excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone