LIFE is a constant racetrack, either we keep our pace and rush towards the finish line or we let others’ tail lights blind us off the road.

Being the eldest among three children, my parents encouraged me to take the driver’s seat and lead my life to the route I want to take. So I took the challenge, grabbed the wheel, and raced towards the finish line of my childhood dream, one step at a time.

Since I was a little kid, all I ever wanted is to become a successful physician one day. So I took up Pharmacy as my pre-medical course here in the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, my dream school.

My first year in the University was the most difficult. After leaving the comfort of the usual surroundings back home in the province, I found myself lost and confused in the new environment.

From the increased academic workload, being away from family, having only a few people I could interact with, and the frequent “ocean park” scenario in the area, I was in a complete state of genesis where everything was new and confusing to me.

But in every hardship, God will always find a way to spark that hero in you. There will always be a turning point when good things start to happen—and it was having the Varsitarian as my family in UST.

From that day on, I knew that God was guiding me for something greater.

The ‘V’ as we call it, lifted me up from being a baffled college freshman to someone who could contribute to the University. I finally found my purpose—that is, aside from focusing all my energy in reading books and preparing for the never-ending practical exams—after all, UST trains us to become flexible and well-rounded individuals in order for us to evolve and be efficient professionals.

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Being a Sports writer for two years and becoming the Science and Technology editor gave me responsibilities which I fulfilled wholeheartedly and eventually helped me to become better. I learned so much in a span of three years thanks to the Amihan (Varsitarian alumni), our advisers, and resource speakers.

From being a “kuya” to my siblings, I became a kuya to my beloved co-staffers and writers which I will never get tired of. After all, family is forever.

Although being part of an organization (which I consider as one of the busiest in the University) demands a great chunk of one’s time, I have never regretted that I chose ‘V’ as my home away from home.

But as they always say, “All good things must come to an end.”

It is now time to pass on the helm to the younger ones for them to experience the joy and bliss of being able to serve UST and be lifted up and cared by a family like the ‘V’ whenever they feel that they are lost in a new chapter of their lives.

When my classes start on August 10 for my first semester in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, the feeling of being lost and afraid once again will sink in. The idea of passing by the Tan Yan Kee building everyday will always give me that urge to come back to the ‘V’ office, but the “north wind” will whisper to me that it is time to sprint through a new lap in my life’s race, a step closer to my ultimate dream of becoming a doctor.

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I thank God for giving me this wonderful journey, for giving me amazing people and for the unforgettable memories that I will always cherish.

To my family whom I owe everything, thank you very much. I love you Daddy Hermie, Mommy Dolly, Dane, and Hanna. I promise that I will do my best to get that MD. I hope I am making you proud.

Sir Lito, Sir Ian, Sir Ipe, Sir Eldric, and Sir Carlomar, thank you for the opportunity you have given me to be part of the Varsitarian and be able to serve my fellow Thomasians. Thank you for the guidance and pieces of advice you have given us to become better individuals and prepare us for the life we will soon face.

Kuya Alex, Ate Patty, Kuya Jan B, Kuya JT, Kuya Enzo, Kuya Jaime, Kuya Renz, Kuya Hirro, Ate Jenz, Ate Mina, Ate Karel, Kuya Pip, and Kuya Jonx, I thank you all for being my big bros and sis in ‘V.’ I can now hoist my sails up and let the winds take me to my next journey. I am one of you now my dear Amihan.

Poy, Andre, Gelyn, Ate Mara, Kristelle, and JC, we finally made it! I am very proud of how we evolved through the years, where we are now and what we will become next.

Ralph, Paul, Julius, MC, Keno, JD, Josef, Bien, and Eli, thank you for the brotherhood. You definitely made my stay in ‘V’ worthwhile.

To Rhenn and Maritz, thank you for being the most brilliant writers I could ever have. Thank you for the cooperation and your willingness to learn. You definitely helped in relieving pressure from me when academics and extra-curricular jobs collide. Don’t stop aiming to become better; there will always be room for improvement.

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Mia and Paolo, I know you are great writers. I am glad that you made it and I hope you never get tired of serving the Thomasian community. Cherish it while it lasts and keep on pushing your limits to the test.

To everyone who we will be leaving behind, we know that ‘V’ will be in good hands and will continue to be one of the country’s best student publications.

To Czarina, the girl who kept up with me through my ups and downs in this rollercoaster ride also known as college, thank you. I love you very much. I will always hold dear the unparalleled care and support you have been giving me. We will reach our dreams together.

Kuya Ric, Ate Tess, Louie, Edwin, Carlos, Paulo, Jett, Miguel, Ancell, Richard, Neil, Cedric, Bea, Colleen, Rizza, Angelica, Arianne, Felice, Lora, Jean, Ana, Nicole, Lesli, and Camille, thank you all for being my safe haven. You all made a huge impact in my Thomasian life.

To the Faculty of Pharmacy and the whole Thomasian Batch 2015, wherever God wants us to be, we should always be thankful to Him and to everyone who made our success possible. Let us not forget how UST all changed our lives and always remember to cheer “Go USTe!”

Everybody has a race of their own to finish, and mine does not end here yet. I will just be visiting the pit stop to prepare for another ride and continue to speed towards my dreams.

Minsang ‘V,’ mananatiling ‘V!’

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