25 Cents’ Worth: A letter to my fellow graduates


“So, ano na plano mo after graduation?” asked my grandpa across the dinner table, and immediately the room turned to listen to a confident answer as to what brilliant plans their eventual graduate had for that “bright” future. Like clockwork, from all those times this question had been presented to me, I mutter with a smile, “Malayo pa ‘yan, di pa nga sure kung gagraduate eh.”

Laughter ensues as everyone continued to focus on their meals, but I found myself losing appetite. To be fair, who could eat with all those fireworks blasting off to the sky, horns blaring across the street, and greetings going around, reminding that another year has once again passed you and your dreams by.

With the arrival of another year, we are now presented new beginnings. For some it is a chance for a clean slate, an opportunity to rewrite flawed scripts handed to them, and get the rightful role they’ve been waiting for. For others, it is one more year realizing their goals or failures. A mere continuation that marks their consistent progression, or seemingly endless disappointments. But for us Lasallians, it is now the beginning of the end, as another school year will reach its dawn; and for some of us, one more sunset remains, before we are cleared to ride off. But would it be so bad to stay in the desert, awaiting another sunrise?

I came to La Salle five years ago, and the first thing that caught my attention was that promising tagline: “The Future Begins Here”.

For a boy, who barely knew anything about the present, more so the future; it was nice to know where the starting line was drawn. In those times, they made it seem easy enough. There were basically three simple college rules : attend your classes, pass your papers, and always study your lessons. During those early years, I’ve watched peers follow the formula up to the last drop, and the effort yielded the results they promised, but when it was my turn to try following the steps, each time I tried seemed like an explosion waiting to happen. With each disappointing mark, I found it harder to attend classes, I found it stressful passing every paper and unnecessarily studying for each lesson, to no avail, no matter how badly I wanted to pass, or even graduate. But I did – I wanted nothing more than to pass, and there was no frustration greater than failing even when you tried to take every measure to pass.

It is in that misconception that we are led to believe everything is a process. From the moment we we’re old enough to dream, we are immediately told to follow the steps necessary to reach them, and straying away meant a path opposite the destination. But there will be no better manual than experience. As I write these words, I am aware of such cliché lines, but I believe they are constantly repeated for a reason because most of us, including myself, look far ahead the finish line rather than focusing on the grounds we tread to reach it, along with all the cracks and humps. Because when we focus only on our dreams, we forget the realities that come with making them real, and at the end of the day, it is those moments that define who we are, and who we are going to be.

Novelist C.S. Lewis once said, “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” I never quite understood the gravity of such innocent words, until I realized the many frailties that surrounded my own reality, and how such childish schemes create momentary escapes that provide peace, even if it is only temporary. In those words I realize what it truly means to grow up; because at some point we are going to be faced with tougher challenges and harder battles which will make us want to escape, when we should be accepting each hardship as a part of our reality; because at the end of it all, it is not only our lives that we affect with those choices, but also those that surround us.

It is funny how I finally realize that even the process has its own process, and the reason why we study each lesson is because in them we understand what responsibility truly means, how we pass each paper to experience accomplishment in hard work and how we attend classes to learn how to keep important promises, and maybe because you just might meet someone who will help you cross to the finish line.

It is funny how the level of anticipation that builds in me, as I await leaving college, perfectly coincides with the level of apprehension in entering adulthood; but fear is always good. Fearing our dreams means we find them of absolute importance, and that’s what I believe the answer that most of our grandpas just want to hear. No one can assure you that you will reach those dreams, but that’s the beauty of reality – every road can be the finish line. Just know where to start running.

Congratulations, graduates!

Alfonso Dimla

By Alfonso Dimla

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