It has been over a week since I graduated. Yes, the ordeal is over. After what seemed like an eternity waiting for the verdict of the University Council, I finally donned my sablay, walked onstage, took the fruit of my four years’ hard work, and shook hands with the university president. Man, that was just overwhelming. I was nearly brought to tears as I was walking up the stage with my parents because it was only until then when the reality that I was actually graduating sank in! The problem with our curriculum threatened our chances for graduation but I was not overly worried about it. Well, my teachers were confident that the council would let us graduate, considering it wasn’t our fault to begin with and considering the consequence that we would probably sue them if they wouldn’t. Still, graduating was like a distant dream for me. All the time, I was hovering in my own little world of dreams that I didn’t notice one of them was coming true – for real. You see, after the final defense of my thesis, I temporarily shut myself out to the world. I was dead tired and drained to the last drop of blood and tears. I took a supposedly short break during the Holy Week and spent it with my musically-inclined family and relatives in my father’s hometown in Barili. But I missed vacation too much that I generously allowed myself to bum the week after that. The thought of graduation was far from my mind since I wasn’t sure I would be graduating anyway. So when the good news broke out that majority of the members of the University Council decided to let us graduate after the deliberations, all I did was to shout, in my half-drunken state, “Makagraduate ko!” I jumped up and down, sang my heart out, drank more than a little, ate a full meal after, and threw up. (I’m actually allergic to beer. My brothers say it’s in the genes.) In other words, it seemed as if I just heard a joke and I laughed it off. Silly me. But well, I did graduate and reality finally snapped me back to the present.
So now I’m standing at the door of a new chapter of my life. I’m about to join the country’s labor and tax-paying force. As of press time, I haven’t sent an application letter or résumé. Er, maybe I’ll bum a little more while planning my next moves in the chessboard of life. In the meantime, my heart is bursting with profuse thanks for the people who helped me course through my college life. For sure, they didn’t make the journey easier but they made the trip worth it. To my parents, for giving me the go signal in the times when I’m about to venture into something new and for knowing when to bring down the red light when my foolishness got the better of me. My brothers and my sister-in-law, for being my professional support system. You guys might suspect that I have more crazy bones in my body but you still backed me up whatever decision I made. To my teachers, whom I have cursed because I sometimes found them unreasonable and unjust, thank you – for all the things I’ve learned in the four years that I stayed in the university. To my block mates, who have seen me grow (and ehem, mature?) and practically grew up with me. You brought the best and the worst in me. I didn’t cry during graduation (it didn’t occur to me yet that from now on, we’d go our own separate ways) but I know that days from now, I’ll be sobbing on my own because I’ll be terribly missing our food trips, night-outs, even the casual conversations in class. To my friends and all the good acquaintances I’ve made, you made my college years rock and roll. You’re the best! Lastly, and definitely not the least, the Lord Almighty, whom I have doubted, trusted, doubted again, and trusted again but who – amidst all those weaknesses, always picked me up when I fell and never failed to teach me the right lessons. For embracing me with loving arms, Father, I thank you. Have Your will in me.