The Tamaraw Story Before Graduation

FEU Advocate
July 26, 2023 05:35

By Jemina Eunice De Leon

For years, these Tamaraws have had the time of their lives fighting dragons, and now their time has come. This chapter of their lives ends as they exit thy happy halls and walk toward the stage of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Studying at Far Eastern University (FEU) comes with exhilarating moments, learning curves, and ups and downs of self-discoveries. Giving their blood, sweat, and tears for this moment, it is surviving college that truly becomes a Tamaraw’s biggest achievement.

Now that they are embarking on a road filled with uncertainties, Tamaraws take a moment to reminisce about the early years of their university life, from moments of growing up and breaking down to the resiliency they have embodied and their well-deserved triumphs.

Keeping the Tamaraw spirit

The first time students step into the green-and-gold campus, they are welcomed by the comfortable environment that gives us the warmth of student life. The longer you stay, the institution bears a familiar aura of home on campus–from the communal areas to the student environment enriched with consolation and productivity.

Isabelle Cebu, a graduating International Studies student majoring in International Relations and Diplomacy, shared that her scholarship motivated her to study at the University. It is not only the environment that gives the Tamaraws the reason to stay but the endless opportunities the University provides for students from different backgrounds. 

“It was the scholarship that anchored my commitment and even inspired me to be outstanding, dedicated, and grateful,” she reasoned. 

College is the part where we discover ourselves. At their own pace and timeline, these Tamaraws made sure that the path they took in college was the perfect one. This is what Noelle Miranda, a graduating Nursing student, experienced in her journey. 

The fourth-year Nursing student pointed out that FEU was not her first choice as she had been transferring from one school to another. She described the feeling of choosing FEU as if the stars had aligned for her.

Marinella Nono, a graduating BS Architecture student under the Building Construction Track, revealed how Architecture at FEU helped her find her true potential. Nono is not only active in her academics, but she played the role of a student leader in catering to concerns within the Institute. 

It is for reasons like these that Tamaraws have the drive to commit to their studies at the green-and-gold campus. Leadership, challenges, relationships, and experiences are what molded them to be the people that they are today. Campus life transformed these students with the potential and intellect to surpass these trials toward scholastic excellence.

Making the friendship bracelets

The University has created an environment for the students to even come to school not only because they have to, but because they chose to. There is a sense of willingness to come to school for the comfort of friends and the familiar atmosphere of student ventures. 

Doing her plates inside the organization room with friends, seniors, and consultations with her thesis advisers are Nono’s favorite moments on campus that she described as “heartwarming.” Getting through such difficulties together makes the work less burdening. 

“Spending time with friends just talking about random things under the sun is a plus in my campus life,” the graduating Architecture student explained. 

If we ask a Tamaraw what their favorite moments are on campus, it would be hanging out in the school’s communal areas such as the Freedom Park, Pavilion, canteens, and the library. 

Unwinding after a nerve-wracking week of midterms and finals is a celebratory moment for Miranda. The Nursing student would always go out on lunch dates and karaoke sessions with her friends as a way to treat themselves after a series of long and gruesome exams.

“I will always remember when we are cramming for our exams, the ‘rosary-like memorization’ during retdems,” she narrated.

While these moments are the best things students could ask for, they have all reached their rock bottoms at some point in our college years. A familiar feat they struggled with is almost two years of online classes. It was a time when we tried to push for “normalcy” while working and studying in front of our laptops. 

“I felt a deep sense of loss and uncertainty. The pandemic disrupted my academic and personal life,” Cebu described. 

Miranda also struggled with the forces of the pandemic as her parents tried to stay afloat financially right after transferring. She had also grappled with the death of her friend while trying to pursue her studies, but she turned these travails into motivation.

During her earlier years, Nono felt dispirited when she received low grades. The type of culture shocked her for a student who used to receive high remarks during her secondary education. 

“I would ponder the questions, ‘Is this [Architecture] for me?’, ‘Is being drained in every assessment meant I’m losing my real passion - the real me?’,” the Architecture student conveyed. 

Every moment is a bead in creating the friendship bracelet that is college. Each bead can either be shiny or dull, signifying each moment that has transpired in our life at FEU. The cool thing about friendship bracelets is they can have their name on them, for this is theirs to keep.

You’re on your own, now

The idea of being on their own once they receive their diploma is mortifying; it is realizing that you will start with nothing. But the cool news is, you are on your own now. It is the feeling of independence and sprouting from nothing that matters the most. 

The International Studies student realized that she is about to enter a whole new chapter at the beginning of her last semester. Cebu was on the brink of feeling different emotions at once, but she was filled with eagerness at what is to come for her the moment she receives her diploma nevertheless.

“At that moment, I stood on the edge of a big change, saying goodbye to the familiar comforts of the University,” Cebu sentimentally expressed. 

Nostalgia hits hard as Miranda knows by July she and her friends will go in their separate ways. The Nursing student feels disheartened by the fact that she will never get to experience their student routines such as review sessions and getting to enroll in courses with her friends. 

She described FEU as a place like home; so, in the remaining days as a Tamaraw, she will take every moment to heart until the day they march out of the campus and into a new life. 

A look at the future feels scary for these Tamaraws, but it gets more exciting for this next part is a test of their limits, patience, and passion. Cebu has an underlying pressure of “I need to prove myself” because of striving for excellence in school. 

From her active participation in the Student Congress to maintaining high recognition for her academic performance, the International Studies student later realized this is a time to “reconcile her internal doubts and pressures.” However gratifying the future is, it is nothing that Cebu cannot handle. 

Miranda felt emotional as she described her current feelings about her graduation. 

“The words I am to say are not enough to encapsulate the hardships, memories, failures, re-directions, rejections, heartbreaks, self-doubt, breakdowns, and indecisions just to get to where I am,” she expressed. 

Nono expressed how much she has changed from when she took up Architecture five years ago. She had her fair share of wins and disappointments, but the Fifth-Year student was sure her passion for the course grew over time. Her circle of friends became smaller but she felt content with her support system.

“Five years in architecture (two years spent online due to the pandemic) took a toll on me, but I believe that the pain I went through and the toxic traits I have can be changed to something that opens up potential,” Nono emotionally shared.

Closing the chapter on graduation entails the act of independence that they relished. However, it is difficult to wrap their head around how they are on their own now. But we will always learn from each step, each mistake, each rock bottom moment, and each small win. As Swift would say, “We will grow more resilient from it.”

The hardest part of graduation is parting ways with the student life you have found comfort in, but our lives do not end after college. These Tamaraws will hold on to these memories as they will hold on to them. There will always be moments when we will end up making the same mistakes or reality checks that hit harder, and we end up losing a lot of things in life. But losing does not just mean losing. One thing we learn as Tamaraws during these bedrock moments is we get to dust ourselves off and keep trying.