DEATH would always be associated with a person’s expiry date—an end to a person’s human sufferings. But I relate it to a fresh start.

Two years ago, my plan of applying for the Varsitarian was too unnerving that I hid it from my grandfather. I never shared to him my plans because I didn’twant him to be expecting too much from me since Senator Kit Tatad, a former ‘V’ editor, is his cousin. Each ‘V’ exam that I passed remained a secret because I wanted everything to be a surprise. Weeks before my panel interview, my grandfather succumbed to stroke.

Last January, after my three-day stay at the ‘V’ office for our monthly presswork, I was informed that my Mamu (grandmother) had only three to six months to live. She died March 29—a day before my graduation.

It could be said death rained on my parade. But then, I realized how death signaled the turning points in my life.

My lolo’s death might have hindered me from surprising me but it opened a new door in my life—the Varsitarian.

I may still be mourning from my Mamu’s death because like me, she was also a Journalism graduate of the University, a former professor of the Faculty of Arts and Letters back in the ‘80s and my personal mentor, but her death gives me hopes that even after my life in college and my life as a ‘V’ staffer, I know I still have a future waiting to be unwrapped.

***

I could summarize my stay in the Varsitarian with the three stages of life—childhood, teenage life, and adulthood—as I compare it to the three phases in the ‘V’—incoming, incumbent, and outgoing.

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In my first few months as a toddler in the ‘V’, the office, which has become my personal playground, challenges started to pour in. I often stumbled but there were always people who guided me.

Not too long, I had to let go of childhood and advance to being a teenager, and face tougher landscapes. Then on were the months of triumphs but of failures and heartbreaks, as well. Despite the woes, maturity taught me not to quit.

In my last few months in the ‘V,’ I was forced to grow up beyond my age and mature to help run the publication. And now, that my days in the ‘V’ are numbered I must say that I lived it well. I went through all the phases and learned things that I could use in real life.

I may seem to have lived a double life but I have no regrets. I often compare the “V” to a basketball game’s crucial turning point that completely alters the course of things—it’s my life’s game changer.

***

The road may have been very rocky but I thank the people who helped me through.

To the University, thank you for cradling me in your motherly arms. The challenges that I have faced for the past four years made me a better person.

To the Varsitarian advisers and consultants, thank you for your fatherly guidance despite my shortcomings as an editor.

To Mommy and Dad thank you for being my “support system,” your boundless understanding helped me hold on to this publication. I’m sorry for the times I have to choose ‘V’ over our family. One day I would try to repay all of your kindness.

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To Nanay and Dinoy, thank you for being my constant companions at home. Your presence helped me overcome all the challenges I took on.

To Tenshi and Barbie, I’m thankful that from high school we all chose to study in UST because you reminded me of my comfort zone—it’s always like a breath of fresh air when I’m with you guys. Whenever you would “steal” me from the office, I am reminded to have time for myself, despite all the tasks that I need to finish.

To Paeng, Ivy, AJ and Berna, thank you for helping me surpass my awkward stage in college. Paeng and Ivy, our team work paid off, hooray for our uno!

To JRN4, congratulations! Like I always said, I would never wish for another batch of talented individuals to be my college friends. To Seff, Axel, Kuya Jan, Rich and Ryan, thank you for being my “kuyas”. Good luck to all of us!

To the Quadri ‘V’ staffers, especially to my predecessor Ate Jem, thank you for teaching us to enjoy work.

To Alex, Bong, Chenny, and Janbee, thank you for sticking with me through my journey as an editor. We endured a roller coaster year, and I really hope you all enjoyed it. To the next Sports editor, please take good care of my love. Treat him well. And to quote writer, Og Mandino, “Do all things with love.”

To my new Sports babies Patty and JT, welcome to the ‘V’! I hope your stay would be as fruitful as mine.

To Josa and Anime, people like you in the ‘V’ made me understand to give time for everything. I would never forget all the times we’ve spent.

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To the Neo-centennial ‘V’ editors, we made it! Our teamwork has surpassed all of the challenges the 401st anniversary of UST entailed. Thank you for being my brothers and sisters in the ‘V.’

To Gabby, Red, Doms, Hirro, Arra, James, Gervie, Rafael, Lui, Enzo and Sherwin, you’re next! I hope that despite our endless nagging and sermons you realized that we only wanted the best for ‘V.’ Thank you!

To all the athletes, coaches, and the officials of the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, thank you for your cooperation. There might be times that we had strained relations and for which I apologize.

To all who have read this side of the paper, thank you!

And to the Almighty God, I will never have achieved this personal conquest if not because of your unending grace. Thank you, Lord!

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