18 October 2009

Why I'll Always Be Proud of Ateneo (II)

18 October 2009

MOOD | scared of the next few days
CRAVING FOR | study leaves
RANDOM | spring awakening rocks!

PREVIOUSLY | There's more to my Atenean pride than just winning the basketball championship. First, I love where my school is located. Katipunan is not just a place I go to to study; it's a place I come home to each day. Second, Ateneo has pushed the boundaries of my mind and spirit by offering me eight helpings of Philosophy and Theology. That's a lot of non-core, yes, but those two subjects are a mighty chunk of what being an Atenean is all about.

Here are two more reasons.

THREE | Awesome Professors. A good teacher makes his or her students appreciate the course within the semester he or she teaches it; allows the students to learn on their own without sacrificing proper guidance; and most important, objectively looks at the students' merits before handing out a rightful grade. A great teacher does all that and-- beyond the confines of the classroom-- imprints a special mark in the lives of the people they teach. Ateneo has become a veritable breeding ground for excellent professors, and for that, I am proud. More so for these people:

Mrs. Rowie Azada-Palacios, Philosophy | I believed in myself and in my capacity as a thinker more because of the way she handled our class. Philosophy would not have been the same had she not been at the helm of that difficult course. Luijpen, Marcel, Arendt-- whoever the philosopher was, she managed to dissect his or her philosophy in chunks that were easy to digest. I remember the first time I read a philosophical discourse (Luijpen's Phenomenology of Truth) and I was devastated. I felt stupid. But when the class discussions moved forward, I realized how ingenious the entire dissertation was. Until now, applying Luijpen's thoughts remains as one of my favorite classroom-to-real life crossovers of all time.

Mr. Gad Lim, English | Sir Gad never gave me an A in any of my papers. Not in any of my short story readings, not in any of my opinion columns, not in any of my essays. The highest grade I got from him was a B+/A-, and that was for a piece that mentioned Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Thank goodness I got good grades even for that one.

It's a testament to the brilliance of a teacher when a grade-conscious student like me did not for one second resent the grades that I got. I deserved all those marks. In fact, I should-- and was--- and still am-- grateful for all those comments in red that he gave me, the ones he wrote so neatly in the margins of my papers. The good techniques in writing that you perceive? I owe it all to him. The bad things? It's all my fault. I should have listened more.

Mrs. Marian Reyes, Statistics | My math grades weren't what they used to be back in high school. In fact, if Ateneo's system was more major-centric than it was-- that is, if almost all my subjects were math-related and had fewer core subjects-- I would never have graduated with honors. There were only a few math subjects that I truly excelled in, and one of them-- Statistics-- I really, really learned to love. My fascination for the subject cemented my desire to pursue the actuarial track, and the teacher who taught it-- the equally fascinating Marian Reyes-- helped me erase any doubts I had with myself back when the subject was the only bright spot in a particularly depressing semester.

FOUR | Cura Personalis. The nail that finally drove the coffin home. Or a saying that's similarly phrased. The one characteristic that separated Ateneo from my other options, the main selling point that pushed me to choose the Jesuit institution over the other, bigger campus in Quezon City. Personal Care.

I'm a high maintenance kind of guy. I don't appreciate being left all alone to fend for myself. While I understand the need to become independent, I need to have some sense of being watched over, of being able to say to myself that it's going to be okay to move this way, to commit some errors, because someone has my back. Ateneo provided me with the tools to grow into a unique individual, but at the same time established some ground rules to ensure that my growth is defined within safe boundaries. I appreciated the sense of purpose. I appreciated the concern for my welfare. I appreciated the holistic approach to addressing my entirety as a person.

In other words, I appreciated how Ateneo nurtured me.

With all these reasons, it's not hard to understand why I love my university so goddam much. Thank you, Ateneo, for everything. I will always be proud of being a blue-blooded Atenean through and through.

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