Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fangirl Mode #1,854

Because I am fangirling. I actually found this six years ago, when  April Carmela Lacson, this year’s bar topnotcher from UP,  got a freaking 99 in Prof. Muyot's Consti 1 midterms and I overheard people at the OCS and upper class students talking about it. Oo, may pagka-tsismosa ako, haha. The quiet little lady’s got spunk. Ah, it sounds like I’m describing the late great Prof. Baviera, and I won’t be surprised if Ms Lacson follows that same path, bilang ang advice niya for studying for the bar is “memorize the codals.”

Hats off, Ms Lacson! It’s an honor getting drunk with you (or getting drunk in your presence, because I have never ever seen you drunk).

photo courtesy of Patty


by April Lacson, M.A. Political Economy,
University of Asia and the Pacific, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honored Guests, Fellow Students:

I am not graduating today and neither are you. My graduation came the day I was told that I could finally bind my thesis after 51 revisions. There were no cheers or claps that day. There were no witnesses. Only a quiet sense of fulfillment and a voice within me that said it was done and I had done it. That was my graduation. When was yours?

It could be the day you took your last exam, the moment you typed that final period in a term paper or the day you saw a "P" beside your student number in the compre results. Whatever or whenever it was, that was your graduation. Not this. And not today.

During graduation practice we were told that this was a show. And, it is. For today, all the pomp and ceremony only serves to show that the world has finally recognized what you knew and earned long ago. Today, we receive one of the most expensive pieces of paper we will ever buy. Valuable not only because we've spent almost half a million on tuition fees, books, and allowance, but more importantly, because we've given four or five years of our lives to get it. Years we will never get back.

Now, having finished one goal, what comes next?

If you've been keeping apace with the news then you'd know that in the last few days, 5800 people were killed in an earthquake in Indonesia while another 20 lives were lost in the civil unrest in East Timor. But just as graduation is a part of school, death is a part of life. The real tragedy is not that they died but that it took their dying to give their lives significance. So I ask again: having finished one goal, what comes next? Will you allow your life to end the same way? Will you be contented to spend the rest of your life in mediocre existence? In living death?

I don't mean to dampen your spirits. In any case, I don't think that's possible - at least not today. But when your head is in the clouds, it's best to make sure that your feet are still firmly planted on earth.

Today marks the end of more than 10 years of formal education. Today, we reach the crossroads. We are as barks in the water. Ships which, having left one port, are in the middle of the ocean. Destination: uncertain. We are the captains and the crew awaits. Where do you want to go?

In the midst of your drunken raves, shopping sprees or bar hopping binges, have you stopped to ask yourself: why am I here? Or, while in the middle of cracking a joke between colleagues, paused to wonder if there is more to life?

Textbook answers won't do. Nor would replies mimicked from celebrities or quoted from your peers. YOU must answer. Not your family or your friends. YOU. Because however much society might nag and wail, life is personal and it is best lived according to your choices and your values.

So, if you haven't yet, ask yourself now ... There are no wrong answers except one: settling, when you allow your life to be less than what you have imagined or wished it to be. When, having reached one goal, you stop, contented ... When, in any endeavor, you hold back, and stand aside satisfied.

The history of mankind is the history of individuals. Just as we forget the armies, but treasure the generals that lead them, society forgets those who follow and remembers those who dare to shape the world according to their own vision

Do you wonder why the Philippines is struggling or why, after millions of dollars in aid and development efforts we remain steeped in poverty? It's because we lack individuals. Not people, individuals. Because too many of our fellow citizens have thrown away their capacity for independent thought. Because too many have abandoned their creative potential in exchange for a pretense at existence. Because we have become a country of superficial imitators.

Have you ever quoted an author without understanding what he meant? Ever parroted an answer to get the grade? Ever watched a show, bought a dress, or joined a club not because you liked it but because everyone else has seen, admired or joined? Then you're as guilty as the bum on the street who refuses to work, and just as culpable for our country's indigence. Perhaps even more so, especially since we have the means and the education to have known better.

Well, today, I challenge you. To become individuals. To get our brains back and start pursuing a goal that's entirely our own. I challenge you to start standing on your own feet and on your own judgment. I know it's scary. And if anything goes wrong, we've no one to blame but ourselves. But I think being wrong a thousand times is worth more than living your life based on someone else's values. Millions are already doing that. They're everywhere. They're people who think one way but act another. They're kids who like fine arts but take up nursing because it's easier to earn that way. They're soldiers who die in battle without knowing why the battle was fought. It's time we started distinguishing ourselves from them.

No one profits from your being ordinary. Dare to imagine. To think BIG. Then, dare to make it come true. Let us push the limits of what is possible, but most of all, let's seek to give our lives purpose. Having fun and enjoying life does not necessarily mean pursuing the stupid, the popular, or the meaningless. Don't look for a job. Look for your calling. Don't find a hobby. Look for a passion. And if you want to study again, forget the diploma, get an education.

Through the years, philosophers have said that man was born with an innate desire to find the causes of things. Well, if you must search for meaning, then why not now and with your life?

Today, we are set adrift in an ocean of possibilities. Do you follow the stars or will you allow the ocean to make the choice for you. It's your life and the clock's ticking. Your move.



Finally saw the links to the topnotchers’ TV guestings (LOL, celebrity!). Weh ano kung 4 out of 10 lang ang UP, kung ganito naman ka-bongga? Sabi nga ni G, “You can really see the difference, dude.”


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