I was a naive young girl when I entered my freshman year in college. I guess most of us were. But my specific naïveté during my first few months in the University of the Philippines was that I didn’t know that it was a big deal for some people to get accepted in this school. I was the first in my family to go to UP so I had no basis on what the experience would be like. There also wasn’t a lot of pressure to pass the exam. During the Freshmen Assembly when I learned that out of the 60,000 students who took the admissions test, only around 10,000 got accepted, and only a percentage of that 10,000 can get into Diliman, that’s the only time I realized that maybe I should just be proud of myself a little bit for being one of the few who made the cut.
Despite this pride, I never really got the point of judging people based on what school they went to. What irked me most was when we were in our first year, some of my friends already thought they were all that. Guys, just because you went to the same school as another famously intelligent person, doesn’t mean you’re as smart. And if someone did not go to the same school as you did, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smarter than them. Cool it down, people. If your proudest moment in life is getting accepted to UP, then maybe you should re-evaluate yourself. Or maybe this taking pride in someone else’s achievements is a Filipino thing. Aren’t we proud of any famous person who has a tinge of Filipino blood in them? Whatever it is, it should stop. It’s okay to admire someone for their talent or intelligence, but attributing those skills as your own just because of some tenuous connection as going to the same school is laughable.
It might sound that I’m ungrateful for graduating from this university but I’m not. I’m glad I got accepted. It was an amazing environment for an impressionable young woman like myself. What I loved about UP is that people are generally cool however you roll. If you’re gay or want to uphold LGBT rights, then great. Join the UP Babaylan. You don’t believe in god? There’s a UP Atheist Circle near the College of Arts and Letters. You believe in god? Oh, there’s tons waiting to recruit you. Just hang out anywhere with your friends and they will come. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you can dress however you want, speak your mind and let your freak flag fly.