I am in flux. I am floating in nothingness and drifting aimlessly through space and time. Nothing appears to be permanent. In the liminal space between my supposedly last semester and my extended semester, I find myself questioning the things I have done for the good part of my college years.
Regret isn’t the word to describe my predicament. Nor is it failure. It’s fear.
In the middle of August, I found myself in Davao City, attending the 55th convention of the General Assembly of Student Councils in UP Mindanao (UPMin). At the epicenter of the former president’s hometown, UP students were hoping to stage a protest. We were trailing them to cover the mobilization.
But a few minutes after leaving the school gate, motorcycle-riding policemen intercepted our convoy. A few minutes later, they were checking the jeepney drivers’ paperworks. Then, they started taking photos and videos of us with no regard for our consent and increasing worry. More policemen came and said our vehicles were being impounded for supposed traffic violations.
Armed men escorted us back to UPMin, but, unfortunately, eight jeepney drivers had to pay P60,000 each to have their jeepney units back. Fear, however, must be defeated by rationality. After calming the worried heart and nervous stomach, we continued covering the incident which culminated with a quick mobilization at the UPMin gate.
There have been a lot of close calls and tough decisions I had to make. “The buck stops with me,” I always told myself whenever something had to be acted upon, no matter how hard it may be. Sometimes, that meant trumping friendship and personal ties over work; sometimes, that meant shelving an article despite the writer’s immense effort in crafting it, just because it has become irrelevant already (or, in our parlance, “napanis na”).
But in the coming months, I will no longer do those things. I will be a normal overstaying, delayed, super-senior physics student. But in all honesty, I’ve been anticipating it. After four years, perhaps I will finally get a chance to experience some semblance of normalcy and calmness.
I endeavored to see through the end of my college days as a member of our paper, notwithstanding the deferment of my supposed graduation this year. After all, it is painful to leave the place you’ve called home—a place where friendships were made and unmade, where ideas clashed and coalesced. The Philippine Collegian is a place I have always treasured, and it will always be an honor to have contributed to its century-long history.
We naturally fear empty spaces as nothing can be gleaned from emptiness. But when nothing scares you anymore, that’s the point when we’ve entered stagnation. I precisely entered the publication to give my first-year self a sense of stability—the fear of the weekly deadline made me get my priorities in order so our articles would see print every Tuesday morning. It may have become a routine but every story wasn’t the same—there’s still that eagerness, curiosity, and, of course, fear.
We’ve come full circle. After a year of experimentation with the monthly magazine, this Collegian returns to its weekly tabloid format. It’s an understatement to say that we weren’t scared to make the shift, but we did it in the hopes that we could cover more underreported issues from the perspective of the marginalized and dispossessed.
There is fear in flux. Yet there’s nothing wrong in temporarily pausing; reassessing your environment and yourself. It’s like taking shelter during a thunderstorm. It’s akin to catching your breath and soldiering, not despite of, but precisely because of the attacks. It’s scary, but we’ll see through it. ●
Dec 2, 2023
Ang hirap pala kapag ako na ang nakatatanggap ng mga pangungumusta mo, ng mga kwento mo, ng mga ngiti mo.
Dec 2, 2023
Leila De Lima’s case cannot be isolated from the cases of nearly 800 political prisoners in the country, necessitating a justice system that could uphold fairness, equality, and the rule of law.