LORD, it has been five years since I walked the hallowed grounds of your dear Catholic institution called UST. I was hesitant about entering the gold-and-white walls back then. Everything was bleak for me since I had never really wanted to be here. UST was my last choice.

I felt pathetic then, since I lost the golden chance to become a “man for others” and spend the most important days of my youth in the “hills between the earth and sky…the land where Loyola’s colors fly.”

But then, I had no idea that I would keep your Pontifical University so dearly in my heart that I no longer wanted to leave. More than the Dominican tradition I value so much now, my travails as a wandering Marikeño traveling four hours on the road everyday amid traffic and pollution just to reach the serene and tranquil beauty of this pristine campus made me appreciate all the more the value of being a Thomasian. I believe Mr. Crescendo has spoken so much of that pride since the time you gave him that gift to share his insights through this paper. I just hope it does not end where he puts his last period. I dream that one day, that pride will shake and explode to infect others with their joy and pride.

Anyway, forgive me, my Lord, if I kept disappointing the people who expected much from me. I refer to my professors at the College of Science and the Faculty of Engineering. To them I express my heartfelt apologies for having most of the time put aside my academic responsibilities to favor the glitz and the glamour of the Thomasian subculture. I am indebted to them.

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Indeed, you gave me the most wonderful days of my life in this venerable institution, allowing me to get involved with a lot of people who inspired this humble servant of yours to be the man you wanted him to be.

I have etched in my heart my one true love, which is singing to an astounding crescendo for your greater glory. Thank you for allowing me to meet wonderful angels in the persons of Shieryl Anne, Princess Pauline, Michelle, Isami, and Jonas Edward during my stint in the College of Science Glee Club.

Of course, when I tried to spread my wings to soar to greater heights, you took me to the Marian Evangelization Community. You gave me more siblings than I could ever imagine. Truly, my ates and kuyas in that virtuous organization has taught me invaluable lessons in life that I can always refer to whenever I am lost. Ate Cha, Ate Dianne, Kuya Vince, Kuya Marlo, Rochelle, Bernard and Rosmon, I hope we can still get together one day to celebrate life!

Above all, I am most beholden and grateful that you gave me three fruitful years to be read in the revered pages of this student paper. I can still remember the first time I got a copy of this tabloid. I was then a frustrated writer; I couldn’t help but be filled with admiration and respect for the paper. I always looked up to its status, its reputation, and of course its staffers. Becoming a part of it was a tough ordeal, but it allowed me to share in its limelight.

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But passing that rigorous qualifying exams to become a full-fledged staffer was only the tip of the iceberg. I never realized being part of the Varsitarian would open more doors for me.

It was in this group of young achievers that I encountered the best and well, the worst of personalities. It was a real test of survival for me. But as the cliché these days goes, I dreamed, believed and survived only to realize that I didn’t have much staying power. I am most thankful that I met three wonderful characters who defied the norms for me: Lucci, TL and Rachel. Lord, allow us to maintain our friendship even to our last breath. I know I am bound to meet millions of people in this world, but I hope I can still encounter genuine characters as these three in my lifetime.

As editor on my second year and still believing that I was where I really wanted to be, I met Brix and Joan. Thank you, Lord, for making them instruments of joy during my troubled days.

Finally, I survived my last year in the paper. We all survived amid the constraints. Thank you, Lord, since we had the most patient adviser on earth. If not for our publications adviser, Sir Lito, I might have given up.

Lord, you know my thank you’s would mean nothing if they would not be given to the most special person I admire – the only woman in my life – my mother. Thank you for making me see the goodness of life through her sacrifices.

I will always look back and grin at the thought of those memories that made me a true survivor, knowing that in the path I will have to cross in the future, I can walk with never a pause because my life has become the shore of remembrance of a true survivor.

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