I believe that I was destined to spend my university days in the University of Santo Tomas (UST). I know our lives are always a matter of choice but then, I knew there was a powerful Hand above there which was pushing me to be a Thomasian (a student of UST). It was an unseen Force but I could feel It. Sounds creepy? Yeah I know right but it’s true.
When I was in high school, all I wanted was to save my mother’s ass from all the hard work she was doing for my education. So I wanted to get myself in a quality state university. Unfortunately, there were a number of reasons why I wasn’t admitted to these schools. From not meeting the deadlines, incomplete entrance exam requirements to failing the interview because I was in favor of student activists, I was left with no choice but to try my luck with a private university. But I only took the admissions test in UST because I find the other top private schools in the Philippines too expensive. UST was actually affordable enough compared to them so I took the entrance exams and luckily, I passed.
There was a mixture of happy and anxious feelings when I found out that I made it to UST. Happy because finally, I already had a sure shot in college. Second, I won’t be just spending my college days in a mere university but I was actually going to be a student in one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines. Anxious because I was worried about my mother who would work herself much harder this time because of the sky rocketing fees in school. Also, since UST is a private school, I was worried that the students might be snobbish and unfriendly to impoverished students like me.
But when I started going to UST, all of my worries just flew with the wind. I felt like I found a home inside its campus. It seemed like I had always been there all my life. It was amazing. The people, the campus, the facilities, the events, everything! Though there were also things that I found intolerable about UST, the great lessons and memories that I have with UST would always drown all those pet peeves I have about the school.
I love the University of Santo Tomas because…
1. It’s a school of great heritage. For 400 years (yup! Even older than Harvard, peeps), the school has produced alumni who made a difference in the society they lived in, people who are remarkable in their own fields of endeavor, from medicine, the arts, literature, law, politics and among others. Former Philippine presidents and national artists have walked through its halls and people of honor and dignity had graced the walls of the university. As it celebrates its quadricentennial year, it continues to mold people who are compassionate, committed and competent.
2. It’s not too small. It’s not too big. Located in a 21.5 hectares of land in the middle of the city of Manila, the size of the university is just right for the students to enjoy a space where they can study in solitude.
3. It’s a mixture of the old and new world with the beauty of nature. A person can have a feel of a time warp just visiting the UST campus because it’s a mixture of traditional and modern architecture and facilities. Everyone can have a piece of history with the Main building, Arch of the Centuries, UST Archives and the UST Museum and enjoy the vibe of the present day with buildings like the Beato Angelico Building, UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center and the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC). Moreover, anyone can experience the peaceful green areas of UST in the Botanical Garden and the popular Lover’s Lane
4. For me, Thomasians are really down-to-earth people. They have this unique value of humility in them and they always stick their feet on the ground. Maybe because Thomasians is a mixture of people from different walks of life. From the penurious, the bourgeoisie up to the elites, the contrast among the students expose them to different lifestyles, making them open-minded and very respectful to each individual.
5. Thomasians are definitely smart, creative and world-class. The world-renowned UST Singers, the Philippines famous university based dance group UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, our top notchers in all licensure exams and of course, (sorry but this is my blog and I can be bias) my beloved Teatro Tomasino, the university wide theater guild of the UST. Do I need to say more?
My days in UST can never ever be replaced for they are the best days of my life. I learned a lot during my stay in the four walls of the university and I cherish all those lessons up to this day. No one can ever erase the memory of my Thomasian experience for they left a big mark in my heart and in my life. The University played a big role in molding me to the person that I am now.
In UST, I learned a lot of things.
1. I am only one person but I am powerful. I can do all the things I like and all the things that can make me happy provided that I should be responsible to all my actions.
2. In UST, I learned that teaching is my vocation. My student teacher experience in the university’s laboratory high school made realize the joy of teaching and the fulfillment it can give.
3. I learned how to be committed in whatever I do, competent enough with all of my God-given skills and compassionate to the needy.
4. I learned that the life waiting for us outside the walls of our schools is a harsh one. That’s why they give us education to serve as our weapons once we step on that battlefield awaiting for us.
5. I learned that a friendship, when tested on fire, becomes stronger and finer.
6. And the cheesiest of all, I learned to love and fail. When that happens, it’s ok to breakdown and cry but one day, you must get up and pick up the pieces of yourself and start rebuilding them together.
7. I learned that you’ll know when you deserve something you have when you know for yourself that you’ve worked hard for it and didn’t step on anybody just to have it.
8. I learned that there is a consequence in everything we do. Thus, we should think twice with our decisions especially if would affect a certain responsibility lying in our hands.
There are a lot more things that I learned from UST that I can share. But if I do, it would probably take us forever for I have a long list with me. I didn’t only learn the theories of education, language acquisition and teaching strategies when I became a Thomasian. I learned how to live life with much more meaning and purpose.
And I wanna thank all the people who made my UST days the most remarkable in my student life.
My BSE major in English batch 2007 for all the memories we shared inside and outside our classrooms. The fun times and the hard times are irreplaceable. I am glad that I found forever friendships in you.
My beloved professors in the UST College of Education who didn’t only taught me the things I have to learn as a teacher but also believing in the skills and talents that I have.
My UST Education High School students, the only Filipino students I experienced in my whole teaching career and yet, my most favorite students of all. I love you from the day we met until today.
And last but definitely not the least, to my Teatro Tomasino family! You are the biggest contributor to what I am right now. The lessons I’ve learned from my student theater family wouldn’t be erased in my mind and in my heart. You brought out the best in me and believed that I could do so much more. Thank you for giving me the greatest friendships I have in life.
Maybe I wasn’t able to save my mother from all the expenses for my college education but at least, I was able to enjoy my university life in UST. I was able to learn things that I shall forever keep with me. I was able to meet people from all walks of life and making meaningful relationships with them which I will treasure for the rest of my days. I became a part of an institution that holds 400 years of rich tradition and academic excellence. It may not be my dream school but I can assure one thing- that UST will always have my heart.
Happy 400th year, my beloved University of Santo Tomas! I hope that you will continue equipping young minds to become more independent and much stronger individuals who can face the harshness of this life. May you produce more people who can face the challenges of the years to come. Continue the legacy of training future citizens of the world who will make it a better place to live.
Viva Santo Tomas!!!