HENRY David Thoreau, a world-renowned naturalist, once said, “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

Just arriving in Manila days ago from a three-day backpacking trip in the Cordilleras with close friends, I realized something that I was yearning for over a year now.

I needed a breather.

That’s right, I was looking for an escape from a daily routine of academic work, the looming problem of unemployment, and the Varsitarian.

The trip left me with so many ideas for projects that I could not do due to my responsibilities inside the publication. Not that it’s a bad thing; I just felt that I needed to end my stay in the ‘V’ with something worthwhile.

Similar to the grueling one-hour trek to reach the Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue, my stay in the Varsitarian was fraught with hardships that I thought I could not endure.

In terms of endurance, my best experiences were inside the walls of the Varsitarian, pain and hardship aside. The word “best” would be an understatement.

Here, I learned what it really meant to be a journalist. The yearlong publication cycle taught me so many things I hoped to learn inside a classroom. The grueling legwork for a story idea, the painstaking editing process, and delivering the newspaper to every building on campus defined my monthly routine of activities.

Aside from the ethical practice of journalism that the Varsitarian has imparted to everyone who has walked its hallowed halls, I cannot deny the lessons in life it has left in me.

First of all, it taught me lessons in experiences that no ordinary university student could hope to have. It taught me to cherish the people around me. It taught me to savor the experience while it’s there. And most of all, it taught me the meaning of the word respect.

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Pagsalubong sa ikalimang siglo ng Unibersidad

Going back to my trek, it took me another hour and a half to reach the Tappia Waterfalls in Batad. Heavy rainfall, muddy hiking paths, and a misstep accompanied me on the way; one wrong decision could deliver me right into the arms of Death. Although at the end of the trek, the falls was a sight to behold. The virgin forest and untouched rock formations that surrounded the body of water left me breathless for a few seconds. The hiking path to go back to the inn was equally difficult but the view of the Batad Rice Terraces while walking beside it was fulfilling.

To end this column, which I intended to be short, I am somewhat relieved to be starting a new life after college, excited for the new challenges that I have yet to experience.

I think that I have learned enough in my stay in the Varsitarian, it’s now time to pass the torch to the young ones and let them discover for themselves what they can do for the publication. After all, being a part of the Varsitarian does not mean you’re the best writer, photographer, or artist, it just simply means that they saw your potential and hoped that it would contribute greatly for the publication’s growth.

The Varsitarian is a wonderful experience! Once a ‘V’, always a ‘V’!

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