HOW DO you love a loved one?

People often say that if you really love somebody, you must let them learn from their mistakes. You must let them realize that something is wrong, and let them correct that in their own ways with little or no help from anyone.

Our perception of love may be subjective, but experiencing it never fails to elicit learning and growing at the end. And not even Asia’s oldest university is spared from this.

The 400-year-old institution never lived through four centuries without receiving as much as a scar. It withstood two world wars, economic meltdowns, and a long list of tragedies that would be too laborious to enumerate.

But in those rough roads, UST learned how to be a formidable university by adapting to the situation without sacrificing its ideals. Now, the University boasts of having four centuries of experience under its belt. But is this synonymous with omnipotence? I don’t think so.

In fact, the “being the oldest” mindset may be blamed for the intellectual entanglement among some University administrators and officials who refuse to acknowledge what’s wrong, allegedly for the sake of “preserving” the University’s glory.

The countdown to the quadricentennial celebration last December 18 placed UST under the nation’s microscope. All of a sudden, it seems like everyone is watching our every move, and taking notice of everything that we do right – or wrong.

Maybe it is for this reason that some administrators have reservations in being interviewed by the Varsitarian, if the topic is somewhat negative, something that they believe would bring more shame than fame to the University. Ironically, the exact people that taught us that it’s normal and human to commit mistakes are also the ones hiding them in the veil of indifference.

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Of course, any Thomasian would want good news for the University. But in analogy, this would be like a hungry mother skipping meals just to provide for her children, until one day, she finds herself sick, leaving the kids suffering because their sole provider is incapable of earning a living. The situation may have been avoided if only the mother took a rest, and acknowledged her weakening body.

The same may be applied in dealing with bad news about the University. Bad news never intends to tarnish the University’s name, it points out mistakes or areas of improvement, so that the institution could grow where it needs to. More than viewing bad news as something meant to put down the University, it should be seen as one that magnifies mistakes and errors, so that something can be done about it before it is too late. Definitely, nobody is perfect, and there is no one better to learn that than the “oldest.”

Bad news might even be considered as something that calls for perfection, even though such a thing is impossible. Take for example the error-filled UST website. When the Varsitarian published a story about it, the goal was never to shame the whole University. The purpose was to bring the matter to the attention of those maintaining the website and to avoid future mistakes, especially since the website is UST’s greatest PR tool, seen by millions of internet users. At some point, administrators should be thankful that the one pointing this kind of mistake is well within UST’s borders.

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What I am simply saying is that despite all the good vibes the Quadricentennial has been bringing to us, we should not be blinded so as not to see mistakes. Let us put aside this belief that “love is blind,” because it should never be. It should learn to see the bitter reality, and find ways to make it sweet.

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Just a clarification on the article titled “HS grade ‘not fair basis’ for accepting freshmen” published on January 27, an Ustet passer will still have to submit his or her Form 138 or fourth-year high school report card as part of the requirements for admission.

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