I saw the BU torch flaming while wearing my college uniform at 18. And it was two years after when I had the chance to see it again. Everything has changed, and nothing to me at the same time.
I always dreamed of parties after exams. Fancy study sesh at coffee tables. Meet-cutes in the university library. Running with someone in the BU oval. Falling in love. Crying together with my college friends because we can't handle life anymore. Breaking down. Getting drunk. Rinse. Repeat.
Then, voila! The pandemic stole it.
College was spent in homes. No romance. No parties. No friends to get through it together. Due to an inefficient government that failed to handle the situation, everything fell out of hand. The ideal college life was gone.
Two years after spending our time as learning robots in front of screens, we're back in Beyubs.
The reflection of the droplets of rain in the torch of wisdom, the smell of the freshly-cut grasses in the BU grounds where we used to lay down and chase each other as CAL freshmen remained the same. Let's include the grumpy guards, moody personnel, and terror professors that are all but the same persons we once knew.
But a lot is also gone - the food stalls under the grandstand, freeze n' hot pancit canton and newly fried turon in CAL canteen, the active student life on the BU grounds, and the printing shop near BU chapel. I missed them.
A lot has changed. But I was still the same. I still feel like I was a freshman after spending two years with screens. It was like falling asleep as a freshman, then suddenly waking up as a college senior with two semesters away from the finish line - the conclusion of a life we never fully experienced.
It felt unfair because months from now, the harsh realities of life will challenge our learnings in college which was half-baked. More than the academics, I need the joy, the hurt, sadness, enthusiasm, and all of those college experiences that could've trained me to be the best version of myself.
One semester. Five months. The time is not enough to catch up with what has been lost. Late for college romance. Late to form new friendships. Late to seize the college moments. Late in class still, yes.
Although the pandemic has taught us to be resilient and reflective of our life, nothing is comparable to what could've been. I could've joined more orgs, traveled to a lot of places for field studies, explored Albay, met new people, represented BU, and endless what if's.
I know. It's fair because all of us have been affected by the pandemic. But Filipino students have to suffer the most for two years in distance learning compared to their peers in neighboring countries simply because our government has failed us. They are thieves of our experiences.
It's difficult to say goodbye months from now, but we have to, my fellow seniors. College life has been limited for us. I touched the BU torch wearing my college uniform at 18, and just now again when I'm 21 but with wisdom. Hopefully, it's time to take pictures soon with my BU Alampay.
Fighting, Beyubs seniors.
From your fellow ID 2019.