THIS is not going to be an easy semester.

This reality crashed down on me when I went to our scheduled enrolment just a few days ago.

I decided to come late since I only had a few subjects to enroll so as to avoid getting in line for the pre-enrollment sheets. However, when I arrived at the Faculty, I saw my batch mates scattered around as if waiting for something. I suddenly suspected an irregularity. Being the curious cat that I am, I asked around to know the cause of their agitation.

Unfortunately, nobody was able to give me a convincing answer. I decided to squeeze my way into our then crowded dean’s office (which, by the way, was like the inside of an MRT carriage during rush-hour traffic) to get some answers personally.

It turned out that some of our professors had yet to turn in the grades of some of their classes last semester. Some of these subjects were prerequisites. In effect, enlistment in some second-semester subjects was put on hold.

In short, our enrollment started late despite people coming on time and even earlier that day.

It is no secret that most of our professors in our college have lucrative practices, which demands a lot of their time. Thus, it may be understandable that some of the time, they may have to forego the processing of their students’ grades.

At the same time, our faculty administration has instituted reformatory policies to improve performance of the students, not only in the course, but in the Bar examinations as well. Indeed, the administration has only noble intentions.

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However, when people mix busy schedules with a transition period, what results is total disarray.

Had the students been informed about these delays, a lot of people might not have been compelled to spend an entire day or even a couple more, just waiting for their registration forms. Admittedly, the law course is hard and tedious as it is, the students merely ask for a little break during enrollment. Hopefully, some consideration may be given next semester.

* * *

By the way, thanks to Jon Fernando and the rest of the student council officers who volunteered in facilitating our enrollment.

* * *

I have always been a commuter of the MRT. Last week, when I had a meeting to catch in Greenhills, I took the easiest ride along EDSA. It was 9 a.m. and I was expecting a deserted station since it was sometime past the morning rush-hour. Much to my surprise, there were still throngs of people lining up for a ride.

When the train came, the carriages were packed to the wall with human beings trying to make it to work on time. Puzzled and in a hurry, I wedged my way into the mass of humanity and went my way.

On the way back, I took a bus, expecting it to be somehow filled with passengers. Much to my disappointment, only a handful of commuters were in it.

I cannot help but connect the late-morning MRT crowd with the empty Edsa bus seats to the paranoia created by the recent bombing of an Edsa bus around the Balintawak area.

If the perpetuators of that treacherous deed did intend to spread fear among the people, then my recent experience could be considered as an indication that they had succeeded.

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Then it dawned upon me that terrorists may not be beaten by armed actions alone. It will require a fearless citizenry as well.

* * *

It’s beginning to look a less like Christmas!

With barely a few weeks before the entire nation go into their Yuletide mode, the prospects of Juan Dela Cruz having a decent Christmas celebration continues to worsen.

I recently had one of those light father-and-son talks with my Dad when we strayed into a favorite topic—the Philippine social situation.

He predicted that the country is in for a lean Christmas this year. With the constant peso depreciation, the lack of confidence by investors and the public in the current administration, the merciless series of price increase of petroleum products and the overall gloomy perception of the rest of the world in the country, there may not be enough reason to celebrate about. I am, of course, speaking from the material viewpoint.

In times like these, it is wise to remember why we celebrate Christmas—the birth of Christ, those hearty family gatherings, the lightness of people’s spirits and even the mere chill in the evening air.

Is it not time the we allow our hearts and our souls to celebrate Christmas this time? Peace.

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