A few days ago, my landlady, as I sneaked in quite late, asked me what I’m majoring in. I told her that I’m a Journalism student. Her initial response killed me: “Ay, bakit ‘yun? ‘Di ba mahirap naman hanapan ng trabaho ‘yung mga ganyan? Bakit hindi ka na lang nag-nurse?”

I was like, on-no-not-again. In front of me was one of those people who look down on artists and the like because, evidently, they take much longer and more effort to score a buck. I went all polite on her and just said I’ve been wanting to be a journalist since I was a kid, and since my folks had no objections, I plunged right ahead into it. “Marami siguro kayong pera,” she beamed.

I beamed back and went ahead, but minus all degrees of reason, I’d have squared it with her. But since she provides me shelter, I just let it go.

It saddens me that most people fail to get the passion running through stuff like journalism, literature, and the arts. Quick bucks don’t always land on the top of priority lists. Sometimes, people just want to do what they please, even within the premise of not being Donald Trump or Bill Gates.

Journalism is important. Though I read somewhere quite recently that Journalism is the right arm of anarchy, think also of what Journalism does to put societies in order. In all its idiosyncratic permutations, Journalism still remains the formidable Fourth Estate. Or so I fancy.

I’m more than proud that in a year or so, hopefully, I’ll walk out the University a journalist. And maybe then I can make them all see—landlady and cohorts—that it pays to be one, and it pays good.

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***

For most of my stay in UST, it has always been a breeze getting myself enrolled. The College Assurance Plan (CAP), for whom my parents have intelligently (or so I thought) entrusted my education, has cut my enrolment hell short, snipping off half the tiresome and frustrating queues.

Last semester, though, CAP showed some signs of wavering, when it failed to renew its contract with UST, leaving the scholars to process their own enrollment funds. This semester, when I hoped that the people from CAP would sort themselves out, as well as our scholarships, it all fell flat in our faces again. This time queues were longer, and not just confined to the UST Central Seminary Gym, but all the way to the CAP Headquarters in Makati. Also, the news of CAP’s alleged bankruptcy raised the alarm of CAP scholars and their families. My parents are now paranoid, and they feel as if they have been cheated of the thousands of pesos they shelled out when I was but a baby in order to insure me collegiate education.

Well, who wouldn’t be paranoid, really? Our parents have labored so that we could get by college with the littlest trouble, and now the very column they leaned on seems to be crumbling.

I really hope CAP gets its act together. If not, enrollment queues would surely shrink. And so would enrollment rates.

***

Deepest condolences to the bereaved and friends of Prana Escalante, the Nursing senior who died in Mindoro.

“Prana,” coincidentally, means “life force.” I gather that although cut short, her life was well-lived. She reached heights most people can only trek in dreams, and at times, not even. It also hit me that her final view must have been incredible, with all the solemnity Mt. Halcon offered. Let that be our consolation: maybe she died calm in the lap of nature.

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