It had to happen to me.

I was enrolling for the semester when I was informed by our Faculty clerk that I had an incomplete grade for a subject I took two semesters ago. Like any other student who is responsible enough to complete any and every requirement professors impose, I was aghast, and took the matter immediately to the dean, who, incidentally, was also my professor in that particular subject.

The problem, he said, was that I failed to submit a research paper, which would have been equivalent to our final examination on the subject. After telling him I did submit, he promised to check.

About a week later, my professor told me that he didn’t have my paper, and that I should resubmit it or give a new one so he could scratch a number on my class card.

I couldn’t resubmit. I have this habit of reformatting my computer’s hard drive every now and then, and my file had gone to data heaven without my noticing it. I have yet to learn how to partition so that my operating system is on a different drive, while my files are safe in another. As of now, I have no choice but to get back to the books.

At the end of that semester, since my professor was out, I distinctly remember giving my folder to the Faculty clerk on duty and asking him to submit it to my professor whose table is about six feet away from his.

True, professors cannot just give grades by way of hocus-pocus. But the thing is, professors or people in the middle should also take care not to lose student papers, which are products of long restless nights of reading voluminous texts and putting the results of stressful, critical thought into writing.

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Perhaps there are also lessons for me to learn from this. First, to know how to partition, and second to really make sure I have back-ups of everything. I keep forgetting that. I must have been senile at 12.

***

Our Faculty is probably the smallest among all the colleges in the University. Enrolment is not that tiring, as there is only a short line of students every time. At most, you would get done in under two hours, unless for some unusual reasons.

But going to the Varsitarian office in the Main Building, I pity the students standing in kilometric lines that go the entire length of the corridors.

Aside from the digital identification system, the administration should come up with a way to spare all students from the rigorous process we have at present. The digital ID, touted to facilitate identification and transactions, is just one of the University’s few steps so far out of the dark age. The University has yet to exploit the capabilities of the World Wide Web in revolutionizing the enrolment process, like other schools have.

While administrators talk of a new IT building, which will be put up at the Engineering Complex, a building that will be the center of technology in the University, UST still has to perfect what it has.

Before venturing into other projects, the administration has to focus, because in attempting to cover many things in one stride, it may end up accomplishing nothing at all. It only appears that we are jumping into the technology bandwagon before we even completely understand and accomplish the prerequisites.

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And more importantly, UST has yet to find more sources of funding other than the students’ pockets to achieve these tasks.

***

The Varsitarian is going into its 75th year this school term. Having written for the paper for about two years, I can say that coming out with regular issues of substantial value is not exactly a piece of cake. But we go on, with the welfare of the Thomasian community in mind, continuing to dish out the best a school paper can give.

Pick up the paper. Read. That way, you celebrate with us.

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