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Thursday, August 14, 2008

UP Centennial: Earning the right to share in the glory

Just watched PAMANTASANG HIRANG - a concert celebrating UP's 100 years. Seeing the struggle that the University has gone through, it suddenly dawned on me that in spite of my many misgivings on how I really seem to be not part of that proud heritage, I actually am really a part of it.I have earned my right to be here, to be a part of the great tradition of excellence that is UP. Graduating in spite of my many outward difficulties and personal struggles made me a bonafide UP iskolar ng bayan - someone who will conquer difficulty even if it takes the last drop of blood, sweat, tears, pride and sanity; someone who will never give up no matter what just to be able to achieve what must be achieved. Someone who will achieve because it is what will bring honor to family and country, and it is what will be most beneficial to all. Someone who will always choose to do the right thing.

UP has been praised over and over again because of the caliber of intellect and talent that it has produced over the course of its hundred years. It has similarly been praised, although also alternately ridiculed, because of the activist ideals that it inculcates in its students. Not much has been said however about the stories of the discouraged and even disillusioned scholars. Those who have to battle not just with dire circumstances whatever the nature - physical, financial, emotional, but most importantly, with their very notions of self. It is easy to overlook the seemingly minor achievement of graduating in spite the odds in the face of great breakthroughs and international recognition in science, technology, politics, the arts and the rest of the social sciences, and even sports. It is an achievement nonetheless. It signifies the end of a bitter struggle to conquer a weak, old self, and the emergence of a stronger and better person which is now more than capable to help himself, his community, his country, and the rest of mankind.

To successfully graduate even after several difficult and unlucky years is to make a statement about the importance of education. It is also to make peace with one's self. There's a saying in UP, particularly in the College of Engineering, that it is easier to enter the University than to leave it. It is because its either you conquer all your fears and face up to all the high expectations, especially yours, or you lose yourself to the dark shadows of self-doubt. Therefore to leave its portals as a bona fide graduate after so much struggle is really worth celebrating. To be able to graduate after every kind of difficulty is to understand and even embody what the Oblation is all about. It is because to be able to achieve it, you must do, and be committed to give everything you can. More than that however, to have conquered UP also means that you have conquered your greatest enemy and have found your real best friend - yourself.


Oblation close-up originally from Karla Maquiling's post in PINOY CENTRIC
Concert finale from the FLickr photostream of TERESA BARROZO
The UP Oblation by UP Prof. Jose "Butch" Dalisay a.k.a. PEN MAN
kaigachi is a conjugation of the Japanese term "kigaicha" or crazy. It roughly translates as "crazy about something."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious." - C.Jung

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