Pause, Rewind, Replay

Flashback: (n) a past incident recurring vividly in the mind

Days before graduation.

March 2, Saturday: Pabaon

March 2: Pabaon (c) S. Buyco

Classes were already over and finals week was finished for us, graduating seniors. We still had to go to school though for our Pabaon, a senior’s send-off program where various speakers bade us their final wishes and hopes for us such as the legendary Fr. Dacanay and the awesome Dean Rudy Ang, among others. Videos of batchmates, teachers, and staff were shown, making me teary-eyed at some point. There were even post cards where we could write our thank yous to those who have made our college lives even more wonderful, be it a friend, a professor, or a non-teaching personnel. It was a sweet way of sending us off into the real world.

It was a two-week break after which were spent for rest, reflection, and visits to different malls around the metro, trying to find the dress for graduation. Throw in a bit of org work and Adobe Photoshop before my brother broke the LCD of the laptop I was currently using plus going to school on some days for a lunch date or errand, among others.

Lunchdate with Sir Allan(c) T. Villareal

A crazy week followed after that.

March 16, Saturday: Scholars-Benefactors Get-Together

March 16: Get-TogetherFrom the photobooth

Though a final requirement for all of us scholars, I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a ceremony of sorts – a celebration of being able to finish those four or five years as a scholar, a way of thanking those wonderful people who have awarded scholarships to various students, a recognition to those who excelled in their academics, and a light farewell to us who I am quite sure the Office of Admission and Aid has come to love. Dinner came after with performances from some of the scholars, including the valedictorian. The food was delicious and the photo booth was always a favorite go-to place for me and my JTA-mates-turned-super-close-friends, Michael and Melody, plus Kristi. The evening ended with Mike, Mel, and I sitting at the steps while I waited for my family, who was going to pick me up after the party. We got to talking about different things and that was what I loved about them. After spending half a year abroad with these two, we could talk about anything and just laugh a lot. Though I do not always get to show it or say it, I am really grateful for them.

March 17, Sunday: The In-Between

The non-busy day sandwiched between my last week as a student. I am glad it was there though because I needed it.

March 18, Monday: Graduation Practice

March 18: Graduation Practice(c) S. Buyco

In college, graduation practice does not need to span between two weeks to a month before the teachers think that we are indeed ready to march. As responsible adults, it was already expected that half a day would do. It was the longest half day for all of us however, because of the weather. It was too hot and we were getting sweaty in the assembly area. The High School Covered Courts, where the ceremony will take place, were no different. No airconditioning, just Iwata fans at the left and right edges. We were around 1000 students and if you add the parents in the same place that day, you can imagine the heat. As we finished our practice march and bow, we had to claim our rented togas and line up for a batch picture which was taken under the blazing heat of the setting sun. Aigoo.

March 19, Tuesday: JGSOM Testimonial Dinner

March 19: Testimonial Dinner(c) F. Ignacio

This dinner schedule was the last to be added on my calendar because I got a message from the Office of the Dean only during Friday of the week before and got my invitation before graduation practice. When Dean Ang became the John Gokongwei School of Management’s dean, he began holding a testimonial dinner to give recognition to student leaders and honor students. Upon finding out, I immediately told my parents because they were also invited to the event. My parents and I arrived just in time and seated ourselves comfortably near one of the buffet tables. Fielle and her parents were with us in the same table too. After eating dinner, there were a couple of speeches to inspire us once more which were given by the guest speaker, our batch’s summa cum laude, and of course, Dean Ang himself. Student leaders and honor students also came up the mini-stage to receive certificates handed out by our beloved dean. Perhaps it was an extra special dinner for him as well because he will be heading a different position hereafter. I am quite sure though, that he will be missed by all.

March 20, Wednesday: Blue Roast 2013

March 20: Blue Roast(c) C. Limcaoco

I am not really sure how long it has been but what I do know is that this event has become a tradition for the school and its students. Aside from serving roasted calf and beer, the more interesting (and romantic) part of this tradition is that each student gets a blue rose which they will give to that one person whom they deem to be a special part of their college life. It could be given to a secret love, a happy crush, an awesome friend, or to anyone whom they want to tell something but never got around to do so.  

I really gave a lot of thought into mine and though I was decided, the thought of actually giving it was much scarier. So it was another moment of courage for me as I handed my rose and a folded piece of paper to that person. Though I had to wait, I think the timing was perfect.

March 21, Thursday: My Brother’s Elementary GraduationMarch 21: Brother's Graduation

I slept over at my friends’ condo because we also had an after-party. There was pizza, chips and dip, chicken, doughnuts, and drinks. There was much to talk about and it was around 5 am when we finally got to sleep. Three hours later, I was awake so I could shower and go home for my brother’s graduation. My dear friend, Trisha, offered to drop me off at Trinoma which I gratefully accepted. From there, I rode the MRT and a jeep to get home.

We were quite happy that my brother’s graduation was not the same day as mine because that would mean that our parents would have to split on which graduation to go to. However, we were happier because he finished his elementary education with flying colors. I was a proud Ate (older sister), taking pictures every time my parents and my brother had to go onstage to receive his awards. I am quite excited as well for the next chapter of his life because he will be studying in Makati Science High School, the same school I had studied in before I went to college. In my mind, gratefulness was being sent above to God who has truly blessed him.

March 22, Friday: Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Address
March 22: Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Address

Though the day before was exhausting, this did not stop me from waking up early so I could attend the baccalaureate mass and commencement address in my university. Our school’s president, Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ gave the homily while Cardinal Tagle, DD presided over most of the mass. He too, was the guest speaker for the commencement address. I was quietly listening to both Fr. Jett and Cardinal Tagle, thinking on how much the Ateneo education and formation was reflected on their words and even actions. At times, the cardinal got teary-eyed as he relayed his experiences in Rome. This got me teary-eyed too and the most touching part of it for me was when he told us of Filipino workers approaching him. They thanked him because the Italians whom they were working for treated them better after he was exposed by the media to the rest the world. Initially, he did not like this kind of exposure but when he heard the story of these women, he wanted to thank the media. Even in such an unpleasant experience, he was able to unknowingly help his fellow people.

March 22

Afterward, my dad, brother, and I ate lunch before heading home. Other students though, stayed in school or somewhere nearby because it was their graduation day. Mine was the day after because the four schools were split into two so that it would not be too overwhelming nor crowded in the high school covered courts. It began raining on our way home so I silently prayed that my graduation would not be wet as it was that day.

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