This weekend is apparently when the University of the Philippines' College Admission Test (UPCAT) will take place. (Thanks for the alert, social media.)
If you know me, you know that I'm not well versed in planning my life. That's why I hate the "where do you see yourself in five years" question. I am always stumped. I totally get it when in one of M. Scott Peck's books he wrote "stumblingly, I was led." That's my life in a sentence, pretty much.
But if you went to high school with me and were close enough to me, you'd know that all throughout those four years - from the first day of freshman year till high school graduation, I was only sure of one thing: I wanted to study journalism in UP.
So a few hours ago I was reading the feed of the Twitter hashtag (#UPCAT) and I couldn't help but ponder about how wonderful it would've been if we had social media then. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so alone when I took the UPCAT. It was weird to feel alone in a sea of high school senior students all nervously hoping to do well in this exam and get into UP. All together. All alone.
I remember my parents dropping me off at UP Integrated School where I took the test.
I remember months later when I got the acceptance letter - I was carrying a pillow to our neighbor's because I was 'babysitting' the kids in our block in their sleepover two houses down the street from ours. Someone handed it to me (I think it was the village security guard). I read it alone, then ran to our house to tell my folks I got in.
I can imagine the chaos in the campuses this morning - parents and their kids getting lost, asking for directions. High school seniors hunkering down to take this test.
This test will have an impact on their lives. It may even change the direction of their lives.
What I know for sure is that it had a huge impact in mine.
I can't help but wonder what my life would be if I didn't go to UP to study journalism. But my wonder isn't based on longing. It's based on wordless gratitude at how my life has turned out so far. I am oh so thankful that I went to UP and everything that that holds. I can't separate this university from my identity. It has so changed my life in so many ways.
Thank You Aslan for my years in UP and how you use those years to compel me - even to this day - to make my life useful. To be of use to you and others.
(Photo credit: Mark Bernal)
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