DLSU, why have you forsaken us?

This term’s independent learning week schedule hinders the University’s students and professors to fully engage in self-reflection and religious ruminations manifested during Lent’s Holy Week.

This coming Holy Week is set to be unlike any other; while past years were dedicated to rest and exercising faith and devotion, Lasallians—in a rather unholy pursuit—are forced to drown in academic requirements and responsibilities. 

At the start of Term 2, the admin reiterated their controversial decision of coinciding the Catholic Holy Week with the term’s independent learning week (ILW)—an initiative to provide students with an uninterrupted period for academic recovery. Despite widespread opposition from the student body, the admin remained firm in their decision, justifying it in the context of an already crammed academic calendar. However, this only begs the question: why must it be the students and professors who consistently bear the brunt of academic policies? 

Clearly, the University as a Catholic institution has forgotten its core tenets encapsulated in its motto: Religio (Religion), Mores (Morals), and Cultura (Culture). Most of the Lasallian community practices Christianity—not to mention DLSU’s identity as a Catholic institution—so it shouldn’t need a PhD to realize that the majority will be participating in the customs of Holy Week. The entire purpose of Lent is to allot time for prayer and spiritual reflection; people need the time to reflect on their sins and misgivings. The decision to push through with this term’s ILW schedule proves that the administration has forgotten to take our circumstances into consideration.

Members of the Lasallian community who come from traditionally religious families have twice the penance to pay for. After all, how will we be able to visit several stations of the cross when Canvas keeps notifying us of an impending deadline?

And Holy Week serves more than prayers and religious traditions; it represents a period of personal growth and spiritual connection for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is a time spent not just for family but also for personal growth. This time of reflection and reconnection to a life beyond academic work is crucial for students to rejuvenate amid the grueling academic demands. 

The ILW schedule then is a symptom of a larger issue: that the well-rounded development of the University’s students in non-academic aspects such as religious growth seems elusive from the list of top priorities of the admin. Expecting students to prioritize their academic responsibilities over this cherished period forces students to ignore their cultural background, supposedly given so much importance by the institution as part of its motto—Cultura

The logistics present during Holy Week only exacerbates the situation as many families choose this period for gatherings or religious pilgrimage, making it difficult for students to meet academic obligations. And this case worsens for those residing in the province, who would either have to spend ungodly hours on just the travel, struggle with internet connectivity at home, or choose to stay in their dorms in the metro to accomplish their requirements. 

What’s ultimately aggravating for students is that if we do choose to focus our time on religious commitments during the Holy Week, as students are often told to just do, it would just be like shooting oneself in the foot. Because by the time that Easter passes over, numerous activities, videos, and exams await our return—a false assessment of how “productive” we’ve been during the break. 

All this discussion boils down to one point: the students deserve to take time outside of academics to grow in other aspects of life. A trimestral academic calendar is already rushed as it is—and this is something conventionalists retaliate that Lasallians should have expected before enrolling to the University. We must have been wrong to expect a Catholic institution to respect the sacredness of the week.

As crucial as it is for the University to hone our academically inclinations, it is equally important that we grow as individuals rooted in faith and a strong sense of Mores, which can only be achieved if we take time to foster our relationship with God, with other people, and significantly, with our self.

This article was published in The LaSallian‘s March 2024 issue. To read more, visit

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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