Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. – Closing Time, Semisonic

ANIMALS parading before my eyes have been a staple moving image ever since I was young. National Geographic and Discovery were my alternative channels aside from cartoons. Maybe, that could be the reason why nature appreciation had been inculcated in me at a young age.

So much of these natural wonders led me to tell my mother: “Gusto ko maging ganyan,” referring to the trekkers who mindlessly plunged themselves into moss green rivers or trudge the immaculate whiteness of some snow-covered mountain slope. To her modesty, my mother just replied: “Basta mag-aral kang mabuti.”

Now that my entire educational journey has ended, I guess I have accomplished just that. But I felt I studied the wrong field. I understood that for me to be a wide-eyed trekker, I could have taken environmental science or geography. If there’s one flaw with what my mother had said, it’s that she didn’t exactly tell where I should excel at to be the trekker I had dreamt of. I just left everything as they were.

In high school, I developed the love for words despite studying in a technical school. While most of my classmates mastered Kirchoff’s law and designed their printed circuit boards, I kept scribbling, doodling, and writing lines at the back of my notebook. Our journal sessions during English class were the only times I found my pen so alive. With the uplifting words of our English teacher, Miss Carmie, about my skill as my encouragement, I took up journalism.

But my parents found it hard to accept my decision as I was one of those children encouraged to join the nursing bandwagon. Nonetheless, they trusted me.

How I got into UST was, I always believed, God’s plan. On the day of enrollment confirmation, I was to first accompany my friend at Beato Angelico building before he’d go with me to St. Raymund’s Building. At Beato, however, the guard blocked me and said that I couldn’t enter. Only those with business inside could. To save time, I decided to confirm my enrollment in Arts and Letters.

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Before entering Room 101 of St. Raymund’s, applicants must first sign a list outside the room. And to my surprise, I was the twenty-third hopeful to affix my name out of the twenty-five available slots for the journalism program. Since I was only on the waiting list, that was one perfect timing. That day on, I associated the number with luck, apart from being born on that day of July, too.

So I studied journalism and for years had my grammar and subject-verb agreements desperately honed. I met and interviewed many people along the way, grew up with individuals with whom I shared the same room and penchant for writing, read the scariest and most devastating marginalia from my professors, slept late at night waiting for my writing muse to descend, and joined the Varsitarian and was surrounded by brilliant would-be journalists.

This writing career made me realize that my childhood dream was forever gone. They all vanished into thin air only to be replaced by the reportorial routine of a journalist.

But a sharp curve popped up before my path. In third year, at professor Nestor Cuartero’s feature writing class, we were given the chance to do a magazine that changed my life. I asked my closest friends to give environment a try. They agreed. We wrote more than a dozen “green” stories and busied ourselves with nature articles. That’s when I felt my old self was revived. My love for nature rose like the phoenix reborn from its ashes.

Now that I have exited the portals of UST, a journey has ended but a new one has just begun. While my blockmates hunt for jobs here and there, I’ve decided to extend my student life in a university far away from my family, friends, and this pollution-drenched city to formally study environmental journalism, a field which weds my childhood dream and my lifelong passion.

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Just when I thought that my steno notebook, one filled with smudged scribbles and incomprehensible strokes, would be closed after college, it now seems to have opened wider to fulfill both passion and commitment. And here is where I start a new path after completing another.

It is true: every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

***

To 4JRN2, continue weaving words and nurturing your art. I will never have peers who can surprise and fascinate me with their world views and writing styles more than all of you. Thank you for the unparalleled unity that you’ve showed since our 1JRN2 days.

To the incumbent Varsitarian staffers, learn from our past mistakes. Never let immaturity divide you nor jealousy betray you. You are a burgeoning batch of reporters and writers. Never lose hope. You are all promising. Good luck for the next publication year!

To the incoming staffers, you’ll have a time of your life. Cherish this rare opportunity. You have nowhere to go but to learning in the Varsitarian. Forge friendship. This is more than a university paper.

To Sir Ipe, my deepest gratitude for not only purging the verbal deadwoods in our works but also for particularly pushing me to try harder every time. Your fatherly aura is of no match.

To Sir Lito, thank you for the much needed guidance for the paper. Without you, “Varsi” couldn’t stand on its own. Thank you for the wisdom. You should know that I am proud to be one of your students and staffers. Slapping our class square on the face about our dropping IQs was actually challenging. And yes, your altruism makes you lovable, Sir.

To my news ladies, thank you for always reminding me where I’m at. You’ve got ways to tell me to do my job well for the section. We know each others’ trials and victories more than anyone else. We may not be the best but you know that we’re more than the “label.”

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To my fellow outgoing staff, we did it. There were times when quitting was next in mind to instantly end this chaos, but we pulled through. I won’t forget the chitchats, hang-outs, thesis rants, and juicy rumors we shared, now all wrapped up into one memorable past and eternal friendship. Kudos to all of you.

To my college clique, thanks for being the shock absorber. Thank you for lending your ears when I was weak in spirit, for the added laughter during my petty triumphs, and for the spice during this four-year roller-coaster ride. Never cease to awe me with “the stars.”

And to my thirteen gems, we’ve reached a decade of friendship, and counting. You’re all ineffable.

Most of all, to my family, thanks for always believing and trusting me despite my erratic decisions and bouts of mood swings. Forgive me for the crankiness that’s always streaming through my system. I have all the love and support for you.

Lastly, to you who’s reading this, keep on being informed. We run after our sources, transcribe our interviews, and go through piles of documents for you to know what’s going on. If you can refrain, please don’t sit on our paper or turn it into a temporary cover of your artwork. Continue to inspire us.

I chose to make an earlier than the usual exit column because I might not completely finish my stint. My time is up but the steno pad will never be closed. It will continue its work and fortunately, have a niche in giving voice to the environment, which has none. This way, I can reconcile my faded dream and my love for letters.

Let God be always glorified.

Itals babies, always happy!

Once a ‘V’ staffer, always a ‘V’ staffer!

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