November 14, 2006
“ You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories.”
My campus experiences were all unforgettable ones. Every time I’m alone and trying to recall my struggles during those times, I’m really amazed on how I was able to overcome all of them. Winning and losing are two things that I’m into, most of the time and both of these are equaled by pressures which guided me and taught me how to face life bravely and hold on till the end.
I could still remember, it was during my college years that I’ve been with so much pressures and I can say total public exposure. A lot of people are really looking up into me like I was their perfect movie character. But they just don’t know that their protagonist is already drowning in tears. They are not even aware that their hero was at a snail’s pace being defeated by her weakness and to think that she is a female. Good to be like Joan of Arc or Gabriela Silang of the Philippines.
It was in the year 2004 when I graduated in my high school and luckily I was able to apply and pass a scholarship program given by the Philippine Government to poor but deserving students. At first I enrolled at CIT now (Capiz State University), the scholarship granted to me that time is that of CHED from 1st congressional district. I took a degree of Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in Physics. Eventhough I already had my scholarship I still applied as a working student in their school. My mom and I talked to the administration if they could give me the chance to apply as working student. I have a single mom and her income is not even enough for our daily morsel that is why I really need to make a way if I would want to continue my schooling career. My scholarship grant is not even enough to sustain my schooling. I need an allowance for my projects and transportation. So everyday keep on coming back at the office of the Dean of Student Affairs asking for her consent to allow me to work. After how many days of pleading at last I got her (Mrs. Belma Ubugan) heart and so she recommended me to the Unit Chancellor. I went at Mr. Primitivo Bangcoyo’s Office, he was the chancellor that time and I was so nervous while going upstairs because he was known as a terror person in the campus but I kept on telling myself. “Hold on Glenda you can do it!” Upon reaching the door of his office his secretary warmly welcomed me and let me get inside. I was trembling while walking inside and then I saw a man at age I think 50 plus sitting in his bench and looking so livid. He really has this tiger look but I remember that the person’s heart is not placed on his face. So I say good morning politely and open a conversation about my purpose. In a low voice I kept on explaining to him the reason why I’m applying as a working student. He was interestingly staring at me and listening attentively as I calculated his expressions. And he stood up, ask me if what can I do for him if ever he’ll accept me in his office. I told him, “Sir I can do computer works, typing jobs, pay for your bills and etc.” But I was shocked when he answered he was not satisfied for that answer and so I added, “ but you know sir, I know how to pull up grass, water plants, mop the floor and wash dishes and I can even clean your office everyday.” I was really trembling because this is the only chance left to me. He was the only chance and his decision will become a way for me to move on and go on with my career. Good thing after pausing for awhile he gave me a big grin and that was the first time I saw the tiger smile. Then he told me to go downstairs, pull out the grasses from the school garden, water the plants and after mop the floor and clean the CR of his office. Though I was a bit tired that day I’ve tried my best to accomplish all the task the he had given and assigned to me. And the result? I passed the test and so I was admitted and worked for his office. Everyday I’m making my daily accomplishment report. Also I enjoyed the office jobs his secretary is assigning me. The office personnel’s were all nice to me. I was even amazed that every time I entered my subjects the professors already knows me. Almost everybody in the campus knows me already. And it was just my first week in their university. I don’t know if how it happened almost all of the faculty knows me already. Maybe I was just the one they saw pulling a grass at their garden and watering the plants. And running at the whole campus for errands daily. I was even amazed they knew that I am a salutatorian. I was really shy especially to my classmates, because every time we entered our every subject I was always the topic of the conversation of our professors. One of my professors even confronted the whole class that she wants them to take me as a challenge to their studies which is a very unfair ratio one is to many. Some of my classmates are even getting insecure but it’s not my fault anyway. I’m just keeping quite. I was even shy not to study hard though sometimes it’s really complicated to do both study while working but I tried my best because these people keep on expecting too much from me. It was the third week of school when a notice came to me that I my scholarship was transferred to a private institution grant (PESFA). I don’t have any choice but to grab the opportunity, in fact my professors and the dean of our department at CIT even told me not to go away all of them wants me to stay in their school. But the decision is still with me. I was given the chance to think about it for one day. Which is a very short period of time. I have decided to take the opportunity to enroll in a private school. I’m also considering the persons behind my scholarship. And so I need to regain my credentials once again. Every time I entered the offices all of the staffs are really telling me to just stay and I kept on repeating my answer and my decision and the reason behind. But though I left their school I still go back there sometimes to visit them. So I was given this chance to continue my tertiary education at one of the private schools here in Roxas City, our town. I took a degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education majoring in Mathematics. Colegio dela Purisima Concepcion is a catholic institution managed by nuns and priest. Actually never did I hesitated to have my schooling there because they also offer quality education. During that time it was already their schedule for their preliminary examination and I was already late with the lessons that they had taken up but I don’t have any choice but take it. Luckily I was the highest in some of the subjects like mathematics which is so unexpected. So there was that another adjustment again. I need to adjust with new peers, professors and people. It’s really hard for me to do that since I knew nobody in there. But it only took me an hour to befriend my classmates and schoolmates. They were also nice to me. They couldn’t even believe I’m college they said I’m so small. My professor’s were also nice to me. I also went controversial because I’m a latecomer. Later, I was able to adjust fully. A months later the school hold a mini-cultural competition. My classmates keep on pushing me to join the contest they would want me to compete for oration and extemporaneous speech.. That time because I was not already a working student so I once again look for another source to support my schooling. That moment I was offered by my high school teacher Mr. Frio if I wanted to work at their house and be their school girl. Without any second thought I accepted the offer, no choice anyway. So with these reason I was really having a hard time to decide whether I’m joining the contest or not. If I’ll join the contest I’ll be forced to practice after school hours. But my classmates are really insisting even my teachers. So again I don’t have any choice but to represent our freshmen class during the contest. That was also the first time I joined oration and I don’t have any idea if what is it and the rules and criteria. No one even offered a help so I just made it on my own. I had just written my own piece and memorized it without even any single idea if it’s really for oration. My teachers can’t coach. Then the big day arrived. My classmates are in full support for me. I’m really nervous. Good thing I was contestant number 2. So I was able to get idea from my opponent. My opponents are sophomore, junior, and senior. How could even a freshmen defeat this experienced opponent? I was trembling while bringing myself in front of the judges. They were all looking at me and so I also stare back at them. Then I began speaking and I was so amazed that everybody really attentively listens to me. I was so thankful I overcome it all and at last I was able to deliver my first oratorical piece and speech. It really feels great! My classmates were all shouting we made it! Though were not winning in my mind but at least we fight! At the end of my speech I was overwhelmed by the audience clapping their hands for me. All of them, my teachers, and the entire people there. This is always a puzzle for me. Why people can’t keep themselves from looking at me. After that was another category I went up to the stage again for extemporaneous speech. And once again I made it! When the announcement of winners arrived all of us were happy. I won in the two categories. I got two silver medals, these means a success for all freshmen. My family doesn’t have any idea about this even my masters until I got home and they saw my medals. I just keep quite and smile. My masters were so amazed. This was the start I’m already winning battles. But behind it are pressures that are getting more heavier everyday.
Then another contest came. The college is looking for debaters which will compete in the intercollegiate competition. Meaning the winners will compete with other schools from Roxas
City. I was strolling at our campus that day. Then suddenly the council president that time approached me telling that they had chosen me to represent the College of Education in the heckling debate which will be held at the Mass Com. AVR. I was shocked, why me?!? I’m a freshman, there are so many potential contestants especially at the juniors batch. I told the president can’t accept the offer because I don’t have any ideas about debate. But again they kept on insisting that I join. Each department should have at least four contestants but me I’m all alone…Gosh, I said what is this. I can’t, but they said I have too or else they will get angry at me. I said NO and I decided not to. So when the big day arrived I also went at the MassCom. AVR to watch the debate and get some ideas about it. But upon entering the room our president once again approached me and told me that I’m already registered. But I’m not even prepared don’t even have a speech…I was really astounded I want to faint instantly so that I can go home and sleep. So the contestants were called. Yes each department has four contestants but in our department I’m alone. I was already trembling, what will I say, what will be my proposition? Whew! This is really suicidal. And another, most of my opponents were seniors and are already former debaters of the college. One of them is the Editor-in-Chief of the college school paper, the others are staff writers and also members of the publication. I was sweating though it’s not hot. I was trapped I can’t move and I can’t even stand up and walk away that will be a total wreck… I was looking at the audience and there were no education students their…Wow! I’m all alone!!!Whaaaa!!!! I really wanted to shout. The judges were all professionally good, One was the Dean of Student Affairs, then The head of Academic affairs, two lawyers…huhuhu!!!:( Then I was trying to concentrate and look for a topic and my proposition but nothing comes in mind, I’m all empty. Then my time arrived I need to deliver a speech not shorter than 10 minutes. While I’m bringing myself forward everybody was all staring at me. I can see the questions in their mind. What am I doing there, what am I going to tell them and who am I. I was already trembling but I still managed my self. Had given the judges and the audience a sweet smile. Actually I’m still out of my mind. Then suddenly there was a bomb inside my heart and it went beating so fast. I paused for minutes until the Dean of Student Affairs Signaled me to start. I don’t know but I just remembered having the proposition “Resolved that the President of the Philippines be a college graduate” . Another big thing I stand on the negative side. I told them that a college degree is not even a guarantee that the
Philippines will have a good president. In fact I stressed that most of the successful president are the ones who are uneducated and started from a poor family. The reasons behind are, they understand the situation of the poor people and that their platforms are really for the poor. I don’t even have any idea about it but I insisted the points. I couldn’t remember if what are my other points there but the judges and audience were really intrigued about my topic. One of them even ask me to recite to him an article of the Philippine constitution that defines the qualification of a president. Good thing I was listening to my law teacher that was able to remember it in the middle of my cramming. Then I ended my speech this way “ladies and gentlemen I now rest my case and I am now ready for interpolation.” So the judges went asking me a lot of questions. After my every answers the audience kept on applauding. Once again I don’t know why. After that all of my opponents went to congratulate me I can’t even believe it. I was in tears because of the mixed emotions that are inside me. I keep on telling my opponents I did not win. Actually, there were no announcements yet. Three days later after that event, while I was answering my assignment at our library somebody called my name and told me I need to report at the office of the Student Affairs. I thought I’ve done something, an offense. So I keep my books and went upstairs to meet the dean. Upon arriving at her office she let me get in and with her company was the EIC and three others that I don’t know. She extended her arms to me and congratulated me for making it. She said I’m already an official member of the CPC debating team. I just stared back at her and gave her a thin smile. In my mind I thought I was just dreaming then they all went laughing at me and my expression. The Dean told me I was the only one who hasn’t felt excited and happy. But I was just shocked. I always got surprises. And so we were having our session after class hours sometimes we went home at 2 am. I was assigned as the Official researcher. That was one breakthrough again. I’m not letting my classmates know this for I know they will tease me. But one of my professor couldn’t keep his mouth from saying it in the class. This professor of mine always wants to challenge me, he asked me surprise questions. Sometimes even if I haven’t seated in my chair yet. I’m really feeling weird about it. One time I got late from his class and upon entering the classroom he stood up straight and told me. “Owws, Ms. Ramos you’re late… kindly explain to me if what taxation is and why do you want President Gloria Macapagal Aroyyo to be the president of the Philippines, do it with in thirty seconds, then after that explain to the whole class why are you late. One…two….thirty…very good Ms. Ramos you have a grade of 100% in my recitation. I was really shocked and still trying to catch my breath for that thirty second of explanation about his question. He was really weird… even my classmates was shocked I was the only student he had given a grade of 100 in his recitation usually his highest grade is 85%. Well, I just continued and sit down, keep quite and listened to him. This is my daily life as a freshmen student. After the debate, another problem came to me. The whole college is searching for English declaimer who will become contestant in the incoming CAPRISA. My English professor approached me to join the screening. Helooo!!!! I’m not that talented and I don’t even have a declamation piece. But then my classmates went on looking for my piece I told them I can’t make it for the screening will be the next day and I can’t make it to memorize the piece for that very short period of time. I’m not a computer. But they keep on encouraging me. So the next morning I was already standing at our stage delivering my declamation piece. As what I’ve told them I can’t memorize the piece and so I was mentally blocked and I keep on repeating my lines again and again and I was really crying when the audiences are laughing at me. They have made me a laughing stock. When it was my opponents turn, she really was very good, she was able to memorize the piece perfectly. After that I congratulated her. The next morning I was passing by at the biology laboratory when our professor called me. He handed me declamation pieces and told me to choose which topic will I pick. I was stunned I looked at him and asked him why me. Maybe he had gotten it wrong I reminded him that I was the one who declaimed and keep on repeating my lines. I was the blooper I said. But instead he smiled back at me and said, so what if you’re the blooper congratulations you are chosen. That was another big jigsaw puzzle for me that day. So I was there and I represented the whole college during the intercollegiate competition (CAPRISA) luckily I won the bronze. I went home tearing. I also felt a little funny about the judge’s decision. The blooper won!
At last after all I was free…
Ngek!!! I’m not actually, I just thought I was, everyday my burdens are getting more and more heavier. The thing continued I would always be chosen to represent our department in Impromptu Speaking, Essay Writing, Debates etc.
During my Sophomore years, I was able to join the school paper as a staff writer. Another weird thing happened that day. I was at the corridor with my classmate Clarence. She happened to talk to me about the Publication’s exam and encouraged me to join. I told her I don’t want to because I have no preparation for the exam and besides I don’t have the requirements needed. But she insisted to help me gather the requirements and we did it! after that we separated. She went to the 3rd floor to pass the requirements. I was left at the ground floor still thinking if I’m joining or not and so I decided not to. I was about to go to the library when a classmate called me out. He told me that Professor Borbon wants to see me. So I hurriedly went upstairs to see the Prof. upon entering the room I saw her smiled at me I also saw some students sitting at chairs including my classmate Clarence. I then ask the professor if why did she call me. She told me they were having an exam for new School Paper Staffs, she then told me to sit down at one of the chairs and join. I’ve got no choice, I’m even shy to go out again. So I took the test. It was the next week when the result was posted and whew! I passed the test. So I started my career writing articles for the school paper. It was few months later when our Moderator discovered I do good in writing Filipino articles. I was absent during the meeting so it was a surprise when they told me I was promoted to become the Filipino/Hiligaynon editor. I felt happy of course. But what makes me feel more happy is when someone approached me and told me they like my stories and poems. I really like it when they say I made them cry, feel happy and they would really remember the stories.
Another greatest challenge came when I was in my Junior years. It was first semester for that year when my adviser Mr. Begas proposed that he wants me to run as President of our Department. I didn’t accept the offer right away, I had to think about it first. It was the last day to submit the letter of candidacy and still I’m undecided. Then the last minute came, I said I will risk at least I tried. So I gathered people who could become part of my team and we submitted the requirements. I did nothing, no campaigns and everything. Election day came and I discovered I was the only candidate for president in our department. So there’s a big chance for me to win. But I’m praying that I will not. The computation should be 50% of the number of voters in your department plus 1. I know it’s a big pressure on my side if I will win. And I’m thinking “Am I really ready for the consequences?” It was a week later when the result was announced. Before that week our School Paper Adviser gave us another exam to renew our membership and for re-staffing. When the announcement day arrived I was at the office of the Student Affairs talking to the Dean and our School Paper Moderator. They congratulated me for gaining the highest score in the Publication exam. So I was promoted as Editor-in-Chief of the School paper. I was amazed if how did everything happened. Our department also congratulated me for winning the presidency! Whew! what a day! So I had no choice but to do both functions. I was preparing for our first publication meeting and at the same time I was also getting ready with my action plan for the School Department. I had set two meetings for two of this organizations in the same week. Everything goes fine and well.
Intramurals day came. We and my publication team had to cover news for the whole college. At the same time I have to manage the department in its participation in the contest. So I was doing survey at the whole campus everyday. Meeting with publication members for articles and documentation. Discussion about budgets, uniforms for players, vitamins and allowance with the Sports Coordinator. And meeting with members and players about schedule of activities and etc. Whew! really tiring!!! I even joined our basketball team for girls! Weeee! We don’t want to be losers by letting the opponet win by default…though we lose! All of these happened in one time frame. I was really getting carzzy!!!!—->more to be continued