Saturday, March 27, 2010

On Crossing the Dividing Lines: Students | Officials

As the large bulk of student population of UP rush to finish all the requirements for the subjects of the semester, the system officials are also in the attack positions for the next academic year, preparing the activities and other university-related policies. This last part has unfortunately brought the officials and students again, yet again, for the nth time, into friction.

I am for the upholding of the student rights and privileges (although this phrase has certainly been mutilated, abused, raped, etc. over the years); I have even joined in some of those activities (and once even attempted to place myself in an organization that, in part, has its aims aligned with that task). There is that inner glow, of courage perhaps, to know that what you are fighting for, that what you are chanting and yelling for is for the benefit of the future students in the university.

But what the students have shown in their rally this week, in the move to paralyze the BOR Meeting to purportedly hinder them from agreeing to some policies not favorable to UP students, and the way they have treated our school official, a chancellor, cannot, and will never be able to speak for the rights of the UP students. Plainly said, no amount of paint can solve and move any official for hearing or taking the sentiments of those who put themselves on the side of the students. Not even the smartest defender of them can rationalize what they have shown to our school official. It was all a show of disrespect of a group, not in a state of desperation, but in a state of losing the sense of direction of what they are really defending and fighting for. For that, we should be given a solid thumbs-down.

This also goes for the incoherent fight they were suppose to be sustaining against the suppression for certain school activities that the student leaders have indeed fail, again and again, to maintain in its intended order and proper conduct. Activism should, I believe, still walk within the lines that do not trample on the existing rules and orders. We are not bandits or guerrillas that have to take things ‘beyond the line’.

The recent events must facilitate the realignment of the aims and goals of those student leaders and activists, and as for the lay student, balance – with all the reason you could muster – on which position you shall rest your confidence. We should never be allowed to be blinded by culture, if even it is one of the highlight cultures in the university, if it all goes beyond the proper forums. Times and situations are changing and so must our perspectives.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Descent To Hell: on the so-called hell week

In these tight times when I am squeezed on one side by the demanding personal and domestic responsibilities and deadline-characterized manuscripts and writing contests on the other, I naturally find writing things such as this one, a comforting haven.

And March will always pass by as swiftly as it came. For here lies a multitude of experiences one get to have perhaps at least once a year – exams scheduled side by side, 300+ pages of school paper works; or at a lighter side – quiet but happy anticipations for the graduating ones. I belong to this group.

But I understand those who I hear (and read) to speak less enthusiastically of March in UPLB, or maybe in UP in general. For the so-called Hell Week is in town, ready to torment the brains of the students, snatch those sleep hours away, and make them realize that 24 hours are not enough for a day.

I do remember those tight periods, when I had to arrange for a close friend to accompany me (through the telephone) in the night as I review my mathematical physics books and notes. I also remember having to suffer a screwed-up exam day as I had to take a classical mechanics exam and an electromagnetic theory exam (side-by-side!) while drunk. And how can I forget when a classmate approached me as I walked casually in the university, “Kuya, exam natin ngayon, saan ka punta?” Spicy memories indeed that, to a certain extent, I cherish anyway.

Perhaps an experience of those mountain of exams ands other school works as the end of the school year nears makes us more of a student. It’s in the way we look at things that we get to have different perspectives. One may curse the onset of the hell week, or one can brave it all and breathe a sigh of relief in the end. Whatever you choose, it’s up to you.