- October 14, 2021 10:52
by Annah Mae S. Collados and Arianne Jeannel F. Calumbiran
Different things could pop in the heads of different people right off the bat when they hear the word “Independence”. For some Filipinos, it is the sovereignty of the nation – the prize from successfully defeating the invaders. While for others, it is the mere liberty they obtain as they grow up.
As for students from the Oasis of the University Belt, the art of independence is something they have to internalize every day as they cross through the rickety bridge connecting childhood paradise to the noisy city of adulthood.
1. They develop their own study habits.
A lot of freshmen have grown up with parents who feed them with sermons for breakfast, and a bunch of reminders for dinner. Some probably even had schedules pinned on the refrigerator door; constantly reminding them when it is study time. In college, however, the sound of the arriving school bus will no longer be heard, and the packed lunch in one’s bag will no longer appear.
These freshies need to keep track of their own grades because there is no parent-teacher’s meeting where the professor gets down to brass tacks with their parents. This is why Ronalie Fernandez, a fourth-year Medical Technology student, started developing her own habits while studying to keep herself productive.
“I just highlight the books and read them. Highlighting takes some time so I highlight ahead of time. I also use different colors, and I always make sure that I have three to five hours sleep,” Fernandez shared, also adding that studying gives her the comfort that she needs.
Whether one turns books into colorful masterpieces of scribbles and highlighters or loops in the podcast reviewers made, the upgrade of initiating a study habit is proof of stretching out freedom in the midst of building one’s character.
2. They know how to spend their vacant time by themselves.
Entering the Tamaraw lair for the first time could give a freshman the feeling of being a rose in a field of tulips, or being castaway to an island with no one to talk to. It is the feeling of glancing at faces that you have never encountered before, and not knowing where to belong.
Long vacant hours and long exam preparations are some of the struggles that some students are dealing with. Nicole Danielle Gamana, 19 year-old Business Management student shares her experience in spending her vacant hours in solitude to study.
“Pinakamahabang break time ko is six hours, ‘pag walang class ‘yung friends ko, I go with them pero most of the time meron silang class so naiiwan akong mag-isa, (My longest break time is six-hours long, I go with my friends when they’re free but most of the time, they are in class that’s why I am left alone),” Gamana stated. In order to kill time, she shared that she mostly spends her break time in the pavilion while browsing through her phone or studies for quizzes.
Maximizing their liberty in solitude is a sign that productivity lies behind the person’s self-motivation. This, indeed, is one’s #VacantGoals.
3. When going out for academic obligations, they manage to get around safe and sound.
“9pm dapat nasa bahay ka na,” (You should be home at 9pm). “Bawal magpagabi,” (You can’t go home late). These are the common lines of parents that most students encounter, but college has the power to turn these lines down.
College consumes a lot of time because of the non-stop school action that transforms the students from early birds into night owls. It makes a student feel like a grown-up who can beat Cinderella’s curfews, without having the fear of being scolded.
Joseph Locquiao, a second-year Communication student, shares how his parents embraced his busy schedule.
“At first they don’t want to believe me that I am doing my project. They have to call my classmates first to confirm, but later on they realized that I’m in college now, and everything is different from high school, but still, they give their full support and guidance in everything that I do,” Locquiao expressed.
Late rides towards home don’t always mean Y.O.L.O.-ing at parties, chilling out, or going on out-of-town escapades to break free from the gates of school stress. Student errands represent the paper-filled semesters and co-curricular activities that make them say, “acads before lakads”.
4. They mingle with different kinds of people, and they come as their own wingmen.
The widening of a college student's circles does not end inside the campus. Finding a friend in college is like Batman finding his Robin, and Captain America finding his Falcon.
It may not be convenient to find companions in a world of strangers, but college makes way for students to learn the fitting routes of finding friends to keep themselves company. This is how Gabriel Gapay, a third-year Fine Arts student, described his experience in making his personal interests a bridge to meet new people.
“Music, movies, artworks, artists, since related naman ‘yung mga bagay na ‘yun sa course na advertising, doon kami nagkakasundo, (Music, movies, artworks, artists, we all have the same interests with these since it is related to our course, advertising),” Gapay shared, also stating that his academic field and new college friends influenced him to become more open to attending advertising and art exhibits.
Finding your clique may be a speed bump, but the green-and-gold battleground allows one to choose their own comrades to fight college battles with.
5. They share chores with roomies in a dormitory room, but know when it is time to act on their own.
If the college-dorm life is to be compared closely to a popular sitcom, then that sitcom would be F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Like the characters in the show, college students who live in dormitories may not have their families waiting for them at home. Instead, in their parents’ place, is a group of sundry people with diverse upbringing who share the same abode as them. But no matter how big the differences, living under the same roof brings non-blood relatives closer to the point that they treat each other like family.
However, unlike the usual family setting where a helper or a parent can take on a task anytime, one cannot just expect their roommates to do the housework for them. Deploying to work along with roommates means to balance the weight of tasks alone. According to Precious Caponan, an incoming third-year Psychology student, living in a dorm with roommates still requires you to act independently.
“...you’ll learn how to manage your own time, make your own food and do your own laundry; basically, you’ll do things for yourself that your mother usually does for you,” she shared.
Dorm mates could keep one company from stress, or even rescue one from the rush of heavy school loads. But at the end of the day, the value of upskilling to bear academics and self-care is one survival ability that can be equipped to a person forever.
6. They make their own choices on how to loosen up, but also know their limitations.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” goes the saying. So in the battle against dullness and academic stress, some college students from the green-and-gold lair choose to spend some of their free time in merriment with their friends. Frolics also complete one’s college experience; given the fact that it is more freeing during this time, for curfews are less strictly implemented and some are even allowed to make their own choices or take full control of their time.
However, as freeing as this privilege could be, a responsible and independent colegiala or colegiolo must keep their limitations in check. For Josh Murphy Cu, an incoming second-year BS Hotel and Restaurant Management student, they should always be mindful of their academic responsibilities even when they go out.
“I always keep in mind the time when I’m needed at class. Which is why when I frolic, or go to parties, I always go home earlier than my friends,” Cu shared.
As long as a student knows his or her priorities, freedom is safe in its guards. It is healthy to practice the perk of independence while balancing academics and unwinding once in awhile.
7. They know how to budget their own allowance.
One thing that Sam Smith and college students don’t have in common is the fact that college students do “have money on their minds”. College is the time when one has to say goodbye to packed lunch or daily baon and hello to monthly allowances that they have to wisely budget for all their needs. If you have been in college for a while, you know that every centavo counts.
For Cheliza Sajorda, an incoming 2nd year BSBA major in Business Management student, being trigger happy with her wallet is indeed a difficulty when it comes to managing her allowance.
”It's difficult for impulsive buyers to handle their own cash. We have to be disciplined,” she expressed.
Learning to discipline oneself is a good start in handling a well-budgeted college allowance on one’s purse while strutting the way to independence. Being in college is not the liberty to spend big time but the choice to value the blood and sweat that parents have sacrificed order for their kids to earn a good life.
8. They start inching their way up the #Adulting ladder.
Some may say that these are the “signs of aging”, but for college students, these are merely their first steps to “adulting”.
Aside from getting themselves to school on their own, they also learn to get out of their comfort zones and start commuting to farther places. Their wallets are also starting to be filled with Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and government Identification Cards (ID’s). They start learning to work and submit document requirements to offices or barangays on their own.
According to Inah Gumangan, an incoming fourth-year BS Medical Technology student, no one is ever too young to own up to their personal and social responsibilities. “It is important to start young kasi (because) you'll never know when you'll need to live on your own. ‘Di natin masasabi ang takbo ng mundo (We cannot tell how the world turns),” she said, also adding that millennials must start proving that they are far from the prejudgments that they are a reliant and dependent group.
“‘Di na kasi tayo mga bata, (We are no longer kids,) so dapat lang [we must act and think like an adult so others will take us seriously],” she pointed out.
Climbing up the ladders signals the time when the college phase in a Tamaraw’s life kick starts. Adulthood is not something that pops up immediately after a day, rather, it is a continuous journey and a choice that every Tamaraw is braving through every single day.
9. They learned to manage the college emotional stress on their own.
There comes a time when some, if not all, soldiers get weary of the fight. Some Tamaraws may have their brave faces on during the day, but sometimes, when it is 3AM and there’s no one else awake but themselves with their emotional problems taking its toll on them, they not help but break down.
That is, according to Faith Manuel, an incoming 4th year BA Communication student’s experience. “I usually lock myself sa (in the) room and I do my quiet time where I just pray to God... mostly nilalabas ko lahat ng problems ko sa Kanya (I share all my problems with Him), and I surrender everything to Him knowing that He'll find a way to make things better, ” she shared.
She also revealed that even if she had to face her troubles alone and even without her parents standing beside her, she knew she had herself strong faith to keep her going.
At the end of the day, whether it be internal conflicts of the mind, or emotional breakdown, one who develops the ability to stand alone carries the ability to conquer it. This for sure, can lead every Tamaraw towards the flags of being independent in mind, heart, speech and action.
Some battles are truly meant to be faced alone. And in this lone victory, nothing compares to the glory of reaching one’s goals knowing that their own passion to get through the fight is enough. The nation may commemorate the country’s independence annually, but nothing beats the independence that college students celebrate every day, with the shouts of “I’ve made it!” inside their hearts.