Behind the thousands of students who have marched down the aisle and accepted their diplomas as successful graduates of the University are students who may not have been so fortunate. Having reached the end of their rope, they were forced to leave the University, as society branded them with a harsher, more traumatizing label—kicked out. Three brave souls who have undergone such a journey recount their stories of depression, acceptance, and ultimately, new beginnings.
Enter Anonymous, whose journey in DLSU included stops in Marketing and Biochemistry. After racking up nine failed units in Marketing, his parents finally allowed him to change paths. Five shifting exams later, he chose Biochemistry, in hopes of fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor. At the time however, he was not aware that the units he had failed during his time as a Marketing major still existed, which prompted him to act like he had another 18 units to spare. Furthermore, distractions and generosity got in the way when he offered to help his friend with his final paper instead of focusing on his own paper. He failed another nine units that term. Anonymous did not feel that anything ominous was about to happen, as he was still able to enroll. Unfortunately, his dreams were dashed on his birthday in September, when a trip to the Vice Dean’s office finally revealed the inevitable. He was kicked out. The finality and futility of it all left him shocked, speechless, and hurt.
Annalie Mariano was once an Instructional Systems Technology major at DLSU. She likened her experience in the program to climbing a rocky and slippery waterfall barefoot. Her efforts at keeping her number of failed units down proved futile, and knowing she could not take those units back anymore, she opted to stop the bleeding by transferring to De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, where she is now a third year student of Consular and Diplomatic Affairs. While she was happy while it lasted, Annalie does not want to go through that harrowing experience again.
Shawn Barcelona’s account parallels that of Annalie’s, but his story started all the way from high school. In a typical fashion of parents wanting the best for their child, Shawn’s mom selected quota courses for him across the so-called ‘Big 4’ Universities. When four rejections turned up, Shawn applied for DLS-CSB and passed. However, he was made to take DLSU’s reconsideration test, and got into Information Systems. While he excelled in the business side of the program, his struggles with programming often ended with his mind going blank. Thus, one unit shy of failing out, Shawn transferred back to DLS-CSB, where he picked the Human Resource program.
Being kicked out of the University is difficult, and anyone who goes through it is faced with starting over, without the familiar friends and classrooms. When it was time to leave, each of them had their own ways of saying goodbye to DLSU, as each eventually had to start thinking of what would come after.
Annalie was already prepared. A few terms before she left, she had already entertained the idea of transferring. The challenge for her was adjusting to a new environment. “I still kept coming back to DLSU mostly because I miss my friends there and I liked brandishing my newly acquired Alumni Card, but at Benilde, I felt like a frosh again,” she explains. After her classes, she would still go back to Gokongwei Hall to find something familiar during her first term in CSB.
Anonymous, on the other hand, was taken by surprise. His sights were set upon finishing his course in DLSU and becoming a doctor afterward, so his plans suddenly became unclear. He felt lost and depressed at first, lying to others about why he left, and still entering DLSU to attend some classes. Once he had left the University for good, he decided to halt his studies for a year.
Despite how bad things seemed, though, it was during this time that he gained a different exposure to the world. In DLSU, his life revolved around his studies and his chosen student organization. Outside the University, Anonymous encountered people with worse problems than he had. “May mga nakilala akong namatayan ng anak, nabuntis ng maaga, malapit na mag-divorce, may napatay accidentally,” he explains. All of these people he saw were in the process of picking themselves up again. This made him realize that sometimes the high standards, isolation, and workload in DLSU can actually hinder some students from realizing what the environment is really like outside.
Moving upwards and onwards
Looking back at his time in DLSU, Anonymous sees that there are some things students in DLSU need to take advantage of as long as they’re enrolled. First, he urges Lasallians to maximize their learning opportunities. There are so many ways to learn something new in DLSU outside of your course and org. Get an audit course, go to events around the campus, and use that library! There are resources within these walls to learn about almost any field or skill.
Second, Anonymous suggests that students enlarge their social circles, as there are all kinds of people with all sorts of stories to tell. He wants Lasallians to learn from other people’s experiences and not just their own, to make friends that they can talk to even after their time in the University is over.
Most importantly, he advises current students to have fun during their stay—to do things they actually want to do. He wants students to ask themselves: “If I take away my course, what else will I have gained during my stay?” He shares how it’s a much worse feeling when you get kicked out because your course just wasn’t for you, and you realize you spent all that time within the campus doing nothing else but trying to pass its subjects. For Anonymous, what hurts the most about getting kicked out isn’t about no longer being a student of DLSU, but the feeling that he wasted three years with very little to take from his stay.
After evaluating their stay in DLSU, Anonymous, Annalie, and Shawn all believed it was time to move on. They realized that it was fine to miss DLSU and visit their old friends, but they couldn’t let their old school hold them down. They let go, and found that DLSU wasn’t the only path to excellence. There were other schools that offered quality education, strong internships, and employment links.
At the end of it all, Shawn offers anyone who may be going through a similar journey a word of advice: “Be proud of where you came from. Don’t let people think that you’re just a dropout from DLSU. Make them think you were from there and you were brave enough to stay there as long as you did.” Remember from these students’ experiences that you shouldn’t have to define yourself with just your failures because, believe it or not, life goes on outside this one lonelier campus.