“EACH one writes history according to his convenience,” said Jose Rizal.

Six months ago, I had the idea of taking up graduate studies while I was putting the finishing touches on my thesis for the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD).

But one may wonder, why would an advertising arts graduate go through stress of taking post-graduate degree in cultural heritage studies instead of looking for a job like the others?

In my first days in the Graduate School, I have noticed the significant differences between undergraduate and graduate work, especially in class hours. Gone are the days when I could witness a number of sunrises and sunsets in UST; now, I spend my time in three-hour night classes thrice a week.

Lucky are some of my fellow fresh graduates who have secured a job this early. Most of them might have to wake up early and survive the stressful conditions of the morning commute. In contrast, oddly enough, I remain tucked in my bed snoring just like the buzzing sound of public utility vehicles.

Although I have been blessed to have the privilege of studying in the UST Graduate School, adjusting to the rigorous scholastic environment in graduate studies has given me attacks of inferiority complex. It has so far been a struggle. It was hard to catch up at first, considering that I graduated from a college that emphasizes creativity, in contrast to masters classes where one is required to read and do papers—a lot of readings and papers, literally.

While some of my fellow Neo-centennial batch mates are now pursuing higher studies either in medicine or law for the reason that their bachelor’s degree has given them sufficient trainings and enough knowledge for it, I was trained in CFAD to do plates rather than papers. I remember one of my former professors advising me against going to graduate school: “Mag-explore ka muna sa labas bago ka mag-aral ulit.”

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But I have used my shortcomings as a challenge to improve my study habits. There are instances of lax moments because of the amount of free time I have. But I have used the free time to hone my study skills and other aspects of life.

I believe that my decision to pursue a master’s degree was not because I was afraid to face “the real world.” It is but another attempt to prepare myself to achieve my goals of becoming a better professional.

From the short period of time that I’ve been a graduate student, I have learned that the best lessons don’t always come from professors, but from my colleagues and from my own mistakes.

Coming from Advertising Arts, I view the Cultural Heritage program of the Graduate School as a different animal. But I am willing to subject myself to the training of “masters” and experts to prove my worth.

Walking along the corridors of the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, where the UST Graduate School is housed, is not the same as gallivanting around the Beato Angelico Building, UST’s “house of art.”

Back then I thought I was just a simple college student. Now I look at myself as the master of my domain. At least I know I would like to “master” in a specific field of study related to what I had taken up as an undergraduate. Somehow, I will prove in the Graduate School the idea of Rizal that each one of us writes our own history based on our own convenience.

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