YOU DO not mess with Thomasians.

The UST community has proven that no one, not even the highest political authority, could intimidate it.

Just last July 27, President Aquino III delivered his last State of the Nation Address which was dubbed by his critics as unsubstantial and a mere collection of rants.

In his address, Aquino blamed the “big university” that had allegedly rejected the plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways to convert its Open Field, a major venue of key historical and cultural events of the nation, and was declared by government itself as a National Cultural Treasure, into a flood catch basin.

Thomasians quickly hit back at Aquino and Lacierda for devaluing the significance of the open field. The Varsitarian’s editorial on July 30 that called the Sona “unpresidential, philistine, bitter” and “vindictive” went viral while UST students, faculty, and alumni, voiced their agreement with the editorial, and posted several tweets and blogs supporting the University.

UST has given us more than enough reasons to love and protect her.

As Thomasians, we have all the right to say that UST makes us strong. After four years as a Journalism student, this writer is thankful for the education and the Thomasian formation.

Now that I am leaving my second home, I would love to recall the highlights of my four-year stay.

During my freshmen days, I thought that the Main Building was a church and that the open space before it was indeed a lovers’ lane, as it is popularly called under the noses of the friars.

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Of course, I leave the portals of UST with such notions corrected.

I was overwhelmed with the many traditions and rituals, such as the Freshmen Walk which marked the beginning of my Thomasian journey.

From a “promdi” who did not know where to eat besides the usual fast food chains, I became an expert dorm tenant, Ate Jillene, Ate Niko, Ate Nica, Anielle and Leissa helped me in that transition.

When I was a sophomore, I started knowing my block mates better and I got more confident living in the city. I entered the Varsitarian during the summer of my first year not realizing at first that it would be a life-changing experience. The ‘V’ helped me mature.

The ‘V’ was and will always be my comfort zone. It did not make my college life easier, instead, it actually made my life tougher. But it was all worth it. I covered events, met sources and acquired knowledge and skills I that would not have been possible had I remained an ordrinary Journalism student.

It was where I found a place to rest when I could not stand the pressure of academic demands during my junior year.

To all the staffers whom I shared my life with from 2012 to 2015, thank you very much. Thank you to all my kuyas and ates who guided me when I was just a neophyte in ‘V.’

To Mami Zsa, Glenn, James, Leigh, Rhowee, Paui and Gab who were not my ‘V’ mates but witnessed every hardship I had, thank you for putting up with me.

To Bien, thank you for everything. We have been through a lot in our life at the ‘V.’ We have seen each other grow. And I am proud of what you have become now.

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To my parents, thank you for the understanding when I could not go home to Bulacan for a whole month because of the hectic schedule during exams and Sunday meetings in the publication. You are my inspiration in all my aspirations.

Thomasians have all sorts of stories to tell when asked, “What makes your Thomasian journey a worthy ride?” But one thing is for sure, UST gave us more than a hundred and one reasons to stay firm even when we have to wade through the floods of difficulties.

The UST experience is more than just studying and achieving a bachelor’s or a master’s or a doctorate degree, it is staying at the university that gives you a well-founded love to inculcate its values, traditions and culture.

That is why, Mr. President, the Thomasian community has stood united against your petty, bitter rant. Rest assured we will always rise to the defense of our cherished University against your unpresidential remarks, your mean and vindictive streak.

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