First and Last

Saturday, May 25, 2013

This June, I will go back to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) newly shaped by the “firsts” I had in my last summer class—as an intern reporter/writer at The Philippine STAR. I will enter the campus wearing confidence I never had in my earlier years there. I will attend my classes having more experience than just plain knowledge.

And as I begin to spend my last 10 months at school, my second home, I will grab every possible opportunity, take each probable risk, and make every second count as the end of the school year fast approaches. In less than a year, I will no longer be a college student.

For the last three academic years, I have always abhorred the idea of waking up early to go to UST. I have always despised the thought of how a minute would take forever to pass in each class. I have always loathed, generally, the concept of school.

But I have had more affirmative thoughts because on a brighter note, I have lived, loved, struggled, and learned in UST.

On the grounds of the pontifical institution, I have discovered essential pieces of my inner self. I have developed my talents that were hidden in high school. I have established unique principles in life. I have, basically, grown into the person I am now.

UST has played a big role in my development not just as a student, but also as an individual. It has offered me chances and opportunities that have whittled my character. Only in that university have I understood the meaning of compassion, commitment, and competence.

There, I met various “firsts” people—first guy best friend, first terror professor, first differently abled classmate, and what everyone had—first love. I also had numerous “first” experiences—first dirty ice cream sandwich, first carinderia meal, and first stolen valuable.

In less than a month, I will have a new episode in the Thomasian Season of My Life series. More “firsts” are going to arrive. More people are going to appear and more events are going to occur.

So before I say ‘goodbye’ to my alma mater, it is best to thank her first. She deserves recognition and gratitude from her former residents who will soon become citizens of the “real world”—where a new set of “firsts” will transpire upon them.

As an intern at The STAR, it was my first time to feel the intensity of covering a rally; to mingle with PRs of different companies and other press people at media launches/conferences, preparing (though only in my mind) questions that I could ask the guest speakers; to experience the heat while on a motorcade; and to witness a national election—staying in the precincts not only to guard my own vote but to watch how colorful scenes of Philippine election unfold and report about it.

It was also my first time to ride the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), a jeepney, a cab, a tricycle, and a bus, alone.

It was also my first time to visit a luxury hotel and the Manila Polo Club—places I thought were too discriminating; and embassies, which seemed detached and untouchable before. I also had my first step into the Southern Police District and the Makati Regional Trial Courts, remembering my mentor say that all writers start with police beat.

People say, “Firsts are always special.” In my case, a lot of it happened through the course of my college life, and most especially during my last summer as a college student.

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