In a University with an Oblation Man

I was browsing through the Philippine Star's website and I came across its section of "Kwentong Peyups" (stories about UP). Quickly, I got inspired and jumped straight unto my laptop keyboard and gloriously relived my UP life through this writing. Read on and join me in my walk down memory lane...

In a University with an Oblation Man(by Sherra Bernardo B.S. Food Technology 1994-1998)

In my teen years, the famous premier university in the country that is UP was every senior high school graduating student’s dream for a college life. It is likewise every parent’s choice for his child’s education. I remember how my mother fought for my UP education against my grandfather’s intimidating sign of a “no-no”. Well, how can you blame my grandfather for shielding me from the frightening initiation rites of fraternities and sororities, which UP is so known for? Add to that, I was entering UP at the height of Eileen Sarmenta’s rape-slay and Allan Gomez’ killing. Fortunately, my mother’s dream of a quality education reigned supreme and for that, I am forever grateful.

So in 1994, I found myself queuing in the UPLB campus getting enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program. Getting into the UP campus and living the UPLB way brought me a lot of distinctive realizations and discoveries.

At UP, You are you; I am I. Nobody care for what you wear or how you look. It is here where credentials weigh more than the physical looks. In the university, I can be me without the discriminating eyes of classmates and teachers. Do I dare say I had a taste of equality? Gladly more than I had. Students here have so much freedom but it’s prickly encased with real responsibility. You mould your own life but you also learn how to manage it wisely. Creating a balanced life is a pitch. You get to choose your own course plan even the type of brotherhood you want to cling into. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. So family values and support of your loved ones are very much needed to get through to UPLB living sensibly. And I thank my family for I did.

No sleeps but not necessarily reap the glory. On exam days, which we normally refer to as “hell week”, sleepless nights and group studies are so common. In this period, I had my own take on the 24-hour shift of life. But ironically, you still ask why is a week of studying and sleepless nights don’t seem enough to score high on the exam? Later, I came to know that it’s all about having a good study habit and then some. Plain intelligence is not enough. Diskarte, patience, persistence and real hard work, all play vital roles. More so, I often heard social interaction is key. Popular clich├ęs like man does not live by bread alone or no man is an island holds true in this university. So much more if you stay in the dormitory. There, you learn how to deal with different people and consequently be trained on how to adjust the strand of your interpersonal skills. Anyhow, old exams and hand me down books are some of the must grabs for doing so.

Make do of what you have and live simply. We typically commune with nature to relax from the hurdles and pressures of studies. A climb to Jamboree and NAC (National Arts Center) or an eco-adventure to Botanical Garden is our definition of luxury. We happily settle for bidani balls, siomai and empanadas for our snacks sometimes even for our lunch. Starbucks is not yet born, so we’re satisfied with our stocks of 3-in 1 coffee in the dorm to last us longer in our night of study.

Sacrifice and heroism, are what the outstretched arms of the naked man in the university are all for. But it took a while before I appreciate the value of an oblation run. I almost passed out the first time I watched it. Nuns educated me in my high school days, to say that seeing an oblation run is a culture shock for me is so much of an understatement. Because of that, I was challenged to question some UP beliefs and advocacies. On the contrary, the symbol of the naked man epitomizes the intellect and vigour of a UP education and markedly, it’s imbedded in me.

On the whole, living a UPLB life is like an amazing race. It’s generally filled with roadblocks and detours but perseverance and more got me through to the pit stops. The adventure I had is a memory of a lifetime.

Comments said…

I came across your blog looking for canyon cove and I was pretty impressed with your blog! I've thought about making my own but figured it would be too much work - and I had refused - adamantly, about entering the cyberworld because its exactly a "cyber" world.

Then I meet sensible, smart, hardworking and decent people like you!:-)

Kudos for your being masipag to do sensible blogging!

Anyway, I am a pioneer graduate of UP Mindanao, which was quite fashioned to the whole UPLB way of life since our administrators, professors and even the alumni sponsors all came from UPLB.

We had our first ladies football game there in 1997 and we freakishly won against your team amidst the darkening hours of 5:30ish, and the lack of floodlights! :-) The field was at the front of the library.

I fell in love with UPLB and its rich UP ways and the mysticism of the forests around it.

And I can relate to everything you said about UP! Starting from the elders hesitation of us going there to the afternoon treks we take as the highlight of our adventurous young lives!

About the elder thing, I am from Davao City and I passed for UPDil but my father was so against my going there because of -yes, wait... those two student incidents! Fortunately (and Im ever grateful) the Mindanao campus opened in our city and they immediately contacted all UPCAT passers in the Mindanao area and invited us to try this campus.

Im blabbering. This was supposed to be a small comment.

Nice to have come across you. :-)

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