Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Remembering UPCAT and UPLB

For several days now, the details of the recently released U.P. College Admission Test or UPCAT has been the talk online. Greetings abound. And regrets and optimistic messages intertwine over newsfeeds and comments. That made me recall my own my experiences.

Of course I remember well that moment, in a computer shop just a few blocks from our school, when I clicked on the surnames under E and found my name as one of those who qualified to enroll in UP, specifically in U.P. Los Baños. It was one of the highest highs I had at that time.  But owing to some strained family relations at that time, I never openly announced that fact at home. That came in the form of verbal news from one of our neighbors who took the trouble to tell / ask it to my mother since she saw my name on the banner just outside school. (Thus the restored relations.) It was all bliss until graduation with an academic honor award in tow.

The rest, as has always been the case, was history. Spent several (yes, several) years in campus and graduated with a considerable amount of self-esteem on doing research. That I think was a nice compensation for not getting any honor during college.

On many occasions, I openly expressed my longing for this university to my intimates. They would respond “Miss mo na nga ang UP, eh ang UP, miss ka kaya?”  as a way of countering of my thoughts. Beyond the freedom and liberality for which it became infamous, what I miss the most in UP is the constant – and that would mean every day – academic challenge that pervades the whole campus. It did not suffocate me, this atmosphere; but in many ways it enabled me to improve myself in all aspects. I am still in that improvement phase, honing the skills in those short years, and I intend to keep it that way.

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