“The greatest illusion in this world is separation.” – Guru Pathik from Avatar the Last Airbender

THE FEATURES section of the Varsitarian has often been accused of being irrelevant and obsolete.

At the start of this academic year, Levine, our managing editor, pointed out that the articles or topics that cannot be defined often ended up being placed in the Features section because “the section does not have a specialty.”

Add to that the fact that the other sections of the paper were into features as well, inadvertently questioning the relevance of the Features section in the publication. In fact, the section was almost considered for scrapping before the school year started because of its apparent lack of a niche which other sections seemed to have.

The Literary section specializes on feature stories about books and writers, the Circle section has its art reviews, the Filipino section caters to enthusiasts of the native language, and the Witness section covers the events that transpire in the Catholic church. Even the hard sections have their own respective fortes. The Sports section, for example, definitely catches the attention of athletes and sports fanatics in the University.

What the adversaries of the Features section fail to realize are the effects and pull of these so called “specialties” on the school publication’s readers.

How many people can relate with writers who discuss the different literary forms in the country? Are we all inclined toward the arts? Is everyone a sports fanatic? Do we all keep in touch with our scientific side? And are we so sure that everyone actually wants to read about the goings-on in politics, both in the University and in the church?

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Diversions

Most of the time, the answer to those questions is one big “no.”

Although these specialties serve the purpose of comprehensively discussing the different dimensions of the Thomasian community, these sections inadvertently separate its readers in a way. This is because they highlight our differences.

Granted that it is impossible for people to become totally alike with regard to interests and craft but limiting a newspaper’s scope to just these topics, regardless of their thoroughness, make it appear that the community is interested in these things only.

Moreover, these sections mainly highlight what people do, rather than the actual persons themselves. That is where the Features section comes in and fills the gap.

Before people become artists, athletes, writers, scientists, or priests, we are aware that they are, first and foremost, persons. They are individuals who once dreamed and still keep actively aiming to achieve success.

That is something everyone can surely relate with: that fire to strive toward ambitions; that drive to become more than you are.

“Viewpoint,” the recent addition of a regular column to the Features section, is testament to this commonality. By immersing themselves in the interviewees’ lives, our writers are able to find out that even the most common of people share this enthusiasm for life.

In our June 2008 issue, we have Teodora Agcang choosing to become a pedicab driver despite her old age and rheumatism so that she could help in her family’s expenses. She emphasized that she felt stronger when she pedalled than when she stayed idly in her house.

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Lilia Pedrialva, on the other hand, graced our July 2008 issue as she continues to sit sturdily at her corner by the Dapitan gate as UST’s own candy lady for three decades and counting.

And our August issue presented Fidel Perez, a graduate of medical technology who chose to sell ice cream at the Quadricentennial Park over a life in the hospital. He had a passion for making and selling the frozen treats.

Here, we have people who transcend rigid definitions of motivation and success—persons who decided to just follow what they want and have also achieved a significant level of happiness.

They may not necessarily be artists, authors, or priests, but they became specialists in their own lives through the choices they have made and the challenges they have hurdled to realize their aspirations. That is what we highlight in the Features section. That is what unifies everyone who knows how it is like to dream.

As the Features Editor of the Varsitarian for this academic year, I am proud to say that the Features section is here to stay—and that people and their dreams are our specialty!

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