Just like that, another academic term is in the books. For some, all that’s left is their thesis, on the job training, and elective classes while others still have a long way to go. As cliché as it may sound, time really does fly. It feels like it was just yesterday when I was a freshman in the LS computer lab, scrambling to make my schedule for the first time. So much has happened since then, and now I am constantly reminded of my age with the enrollment posters that read “111 and below” and the younger students who see me as a dinosaur. Sure, the earlier enrollment schedules are great, but it also serves as a friendly reminder that it’s almost time for us to graduate.
I always used to joke with my blockmates about what it would feel like to be in that esteemed “1** and below” category and what we would be like by then. Will we have to stay in college for seven years? Will we still be friends? What do you think writing a thesis will be like? Will I get kicked out of school by then? Will the Green Archers even make it to the Final Four next year?
As a freshman, we’re all filled with a beautiful feeling of uncertainty and excitement. With fresh faces, wide eyes, and high hopes, we enter an environment completely different from high school and unaware about the challenges that we’re about to face. My brother is currently a freshman and I become nostalgic whenever he talks about how much of a hassle ENGLCOM is or when he shares stories about his first lunch at Noel’s. So much has changed since I was a freshman like him, not just with regards to the physical appearance of DLSU, but within me as well.
The challenges at the University are like no other and if you choose your battles well enough, they will mold you into someone better. Some may say that these challenges don’t exist and even have the gall to say “La Salle is chill, dude”, but that is a product of your own choice. You can choose to work harder, take on bigger ‘monsters’ and find even more challenges to overcome. If you think your course is too easy, why not shift to a harder one or become more involved with an organization? Now that I’m in my fourth year, I’ve realized that college gives you a legitimate chance to become exactly who you want to be.
At my age, it is safe to say that I have heard my fair share of stories and that I can speak from experience. I’ve seen the most unlikely people succeed, lead, and stand out while some people did the complete opposite and wilted under pressure. It’s inspiring to see people who have evolved from a confused freshman to a confident and accomplished senior. These people serve as an inspiration to me to keep on pursuing bigger things and that nothing is impossible.
Whether challenges come in the form of sticking it out with your double degree program, taking a class three times just to get a passing grade, or simply staying awake until the wee hours of the morning to finish a paper, they serve as an opportunity to test ourselves. There’s something about surviving hardship and the pressure of school that molds you for the better. Though we don’t have to fight in a war like our grandparents or rally against a dictator like our parents, our battles within the University, especially against ourselves, are enough of a challenge for now. There’s an old song that’s perfect for this situation and it goes, “Pressure makes Diamonds much harder than stone/And they only get finer as each day goes on/We’ve been through some bad times/But we made it somehow”.
It becomes an easy choice to settle for something mediocre instead of continuing to strive for greatness. In short, when the going gets tough, we often choose to get going. Our priorities change as we get older and so much happens between our days as freshmen and those last few academic terms before graduation. Some change for the better, while others are not as fortunate, but this is not final by any means. College may seem like getting from ‘Point A’ (Your first day of class) to ‘Pont B’ (Graduation), but it is what happens on that journey that makes us who we are. These years in the University are of utmost importance for the rest of our lives, just ask those people who weren’t able to get their diploma—though there are a few exceptions—and it’s never too late to realize that.
The decisions that we have made affect us now, but we can change our situation with the choices that we have yet to make. It’s never too late to right the ship, whether you’re in your second term or twelfth. When you feel like giving up or settling, think about all the ambitions that you had as you filled up your college application forms or entered the University for your first day of LPEP. Just like any fine wine, we should make it a point to get better with age. If you could meet your freshman self today, would he be proud of you?