I REMEMBER wearing a black shirt—a sign that I was mourning for being kept in the dark.

A year ago, while I was waiting for my name and position to be called out, I kept thinking how unfair it was that everybody around me already knew what their position was going to be, while I was the only one trembling, both with fear and excitement, anticipating my fate in my second and last year at the Varsitarian.

As it turned out, it was because I was the “twist” everybody was talking about and they all silently agreed to keep me guessing—that way, no one takes the blame for whatever my reaction would be. So, while all my friends were being elevated to higher positions, I was in limbo—not exactly the place where I wanted to be.

Contrary to popular belief, however, I did not cry, throw a tantrum, or walked out—one of which I might have actually done had I been in my right mind that night. Truth be told, I was just too relieved to be put out of my misery and to know that although I was not the news editor, the higher ups trusted me enough to promote me—albeit of a lesser status than most.

In the beginning, being the assistant news editor was something I wasn’t proud of because while it’s true that I am a step above the writers, I’m also a notch lower than full editors. Still, I get to do what all the other editors do, and I get the same benefits so I wasn’t about to complain.

The thing is, I later realized that the news section did need someone like me since this year was, perhaps, the busiest one yet (for all of us who were left in the publication).

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Kick the habit

Being called the Quadricentennial staff is, as the cliché goes, both a gift and a curse.

While it is true that it is an honor to document an occasion as big as the 400th year of UST, the additional work from all the other extra-editorial activities we organize each year—plus a ‘Q’ edition of Valik Varsi, the Varsitarian alumni homecoming—not to mention the fact that several of the staff are at odds, made this year nearly unbearable and outright draining.

Aside from dealing with the usual uncooperative—and sometimes— rude sources, scant information, multiple deadlines, academic responsibilities, and mountains of requirements for graduating students, the rift between the once solid staff was taking its toll and was making it harder to get the work done.

For a while, it felt like we were filming a spin-off of the reality show, “Survivor”, with the rules and strategies slightly changed. We agree to disagree on how to get things done, and then get on each other’s nerve, team up with whoever shares the same opinion and see who gives up first—of course, there’s the occasional spy, eavesdropper, and turncoat.

Looking at it now, it feels like a miracle that most of us stayed, making us all survivors of a turbulent year.

It is even more surprising how much we all have missed the “family” that we used to be, and how we’re trying to fill that void with the time we have left—making saying goodbye a little more heartbreaking than I originally anticipated.

Still, I am both proud and relieved that we got through the year just fine and are leaving a peaceful workplace and home, one that I never thought I’d experience again.

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Tomasino, bagong hepe ng Tesda

And now that the new set of staff has been determined, it is time for the rest of us to step down.

Before I let go, however, I would like to sincerely congratulate the Quadricentennial Varsitarian batch for a fruitful year and a job well done.

Amid all the adversities, the shouting, and the occasional tear-inducing, stress-filled, feels-like-a-test-of-friendship extra-editorials, we made it out unscathed!

For a year full of both bliss and misery, I thank you, my Varsitarian family.

To the advisers, despite this year’s countless tribulations, thank you for keeping us grounded and for helping us get through.

Dana, Frau, Jenn O., Paeng, Melai, Rose, and Robin, I am grateful for the friendship you guys offered when I was at my lowest. Know that I will be here for all of you just as you were there for me.

To my News family, we made it out alive! Thank you for the teamwork.

To the new boss, Ailex, you deserve to be on top and no matter where we may be, know that we got your back. Same goes for Ernest and Rommel.

To the outgoing editorial board, Cliff and AJ, thank you for inspiring us to do our best. We look up to the two of you. Best of luck to us all.

Che, Kaki, Cy, Suzanne, Ivo—my friends outside ‘V’: I don’t know how I could have dealt with what happened if not for you guys. I will forever be indebted to all of you.

Mom, Dad, Kuya, Jkar, what more can I say? You are the best family a girl like me could ever ask for. I hope I have made you proud. I love all of you.

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Bagong taon, bagong pera

To the next batch of ‘V’ staff, take care of the Varsitarian. Give it your best, because it deserves nothing less.

And whenever any one of you feels like trapped in certain circumstances you’ll soon be facing, know that at one point, most, if not all, of us had thought of leaving but instead, chose to stay and redeem ourselves and eventually overcome adversity—kishi kaisei.

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