Author’s Note: Woops. It’s I again, feeding off a meme, yet again.
I’m writing this as some sort of my take on the rather lengthy discussions posted on sexy mom‘s blog on the merits of going Blue and White or Maroon.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m not a true-(insert color here) type of student. I was red and blue (with Claret School of QC), blue and white (with Ateneo High School), and maroon (with the College of Arts and Letters). I swear to no fanatical stand to any of my alma maters (and I’d rather forget about my Claret years for some reason).
Anyway, Ateneo and UP. I could go on and on about those two schools. But I’d rather tackle it in the perspective of one who benefited from those two institutions rather than using “or” as if I’m comparing the two.
To give you a bit of background how I wound up in several places in my tenure as a student, here’s a short autobiography.
For some reason I hated Claret. I hated it so much I wanted out ever since I was in Grade 6 (CSQC had Grade 7) I tried applying for Philippine Science and a lateral entry to UPIS. Unfortunately for me, I had an accident (broke my arm) which had me answering exams with my writing hand in a cast. Needless to say, I performed badly. So I had to chew out my last year of grade school with Claret. Good news that year, I passed the Ateneo exams and decided to transfer the next year.
Boy, not being from the grade school was tough. There was this Ateneo vibe which I just seemed not to have caught. Good thing I was in a class of really fine people so I did feel at home someway somehow. I was some sort of a bully back in grade school but I became sort of a brainy dork in high school. Also, being lower-middle-class was really tough given that Ateneo’s a school for rich bastards. Our mom and dad juggled finances just to send me to Ateneo.
Now our dad had this weird philosophy that Ateneo would make me rub elbows with rich people to better opportunities when the time comes. Stupid idea as I never touched base with the guys with that in mind. I’m no moocher in that sense. And I was there to learn, anyway. Tsk. God bless my dad’s soul.
Yes, there came a time when I was really thinking of where to go to college. My sister’s a die-hard UP student (from kinder to undergrad but with a bit of Chuo University – Japan). And being our dad’s un-favorite, I tired to keep it at that – always different from my sis.
I was really looking forward to studying in Ateneo for college, to take up ME or MIS. Me and my high school barkada really fantasized about forming our own firm after college. We were really good in computer (my partner and I aced our Computer subject :D) and I really looked forward to take up just that in college. Ateneo was my dream school. Financially, it was supposed to be tough but I aimed to cash in on a Bangko Sentral (our dad worked there) scholarship to pull it through.
Unfortunately for me, our dad died the summer before my senior year in high school. Call it corny but that’s when I decided to aim to cross Katipunan and don maroon. First of all, with a dead breadwinner, it’d be quadruply tough to study in a private institution. UP’s tuition would be more manageable. Second, I wanted to humor our dad and pursue law. His family’s a bunch of frustrated lawyers.
I just took two entrance exams then – UPCAT and ACET. Yes, I was so confident I’d pass UP. Good thing I did. My choices, BAA and English Studies. Lo and behold I chose English Studies (on the merits of that the program produces top qualifiers in the LAE) to the shock of everyone. Almost everyone in our class was heading for the Loyola Schools. I wasn’t. I was determined to be in UP, shitty classrooms and all.
Now here’s where it got interesting. I was prepared to stomach all sorts of things as I was new to the whole UP thing. I always considered my sister weird. So I had the impression all UP students were like my sister – brainy, weird, and very masa. I had the impression that most UP students are activists too.
But was I in for the shock of my life. My first day in UP. I had the rather pleasant opportunity of belonging to a block – very much like a class a la high school but with girls (which is now gladly done away with the RGEP). I thought I’d just fade away into obscurity and try to keep a low profile. I was wearing a shirt, shorts and sandals to mix in the UP masa appeal. But guess what? Everyone else in my block turned up looking like they’ll be hanging out in Starbucks, coÃ±o attires and all. So much for the culture shock.
A little introduction here and there and lo and behold, we’ve got a good chunk of blockmates who came from private schools too. Now most of our block were female so on my first day I was hanging out with an Assumptionista and a Paulinian thinking, “Hey, is this a soiree?” Yeah, I did feel underdressed that time.
But if there’s one thing I learned from Ateneo, it’s what we call confidence. In other words – “yabang.” Let’s face it. Ateneans are bred to think that they’re the best. All that magis, and passion to be, and competence really sinks into you, leading you to think “I am a well-oiled killing machine and no one can take me down. I’m Atenean and I’m the best.”
With best efforts, toning the attitude down (just a bit) to plain confidence helped me in my college career. It was sort of pretentious but my bit of friendliness made me block president. Which feels nice being a liked guy for once. That confidence really helped me in many ways. With the skills in speech (also developed in Ateneo, let’s face it – the accent, the fear of being called barok…), I even ran and won in our local college student council (not to mention acing the speech course, Comm 3).
Oh yeah, and I was an activist back in college too. Unfortunately, I think I was too burgis for them and was never really considered a die-hard. So I’d say I’m a selective activist. Hehehe. Ateneo made me think and act middle-class. And I don’t regret that, at least I’m in tune with that reality. I’m burgis and I’m not pretentious about it. I digress, but some of these “activists” are quite hypocrital themselves. Talk about the uring manggagawa and sport the latest cellphone models. Bah!
Anyway, as far as academics went, I really have to thank Ateneo for getting me a good solid foundation in general education which helped me practically breeze through all my GE courses. Combined that with positive attitude (magis and the libog to be). Got great grades, graduated with high honors. And it’s mostly because Ateneo developed my higher order thinking skills. And I think it’s not a generalization based on myself, a fellow batchmate from Ateneo (A boy) graduated summa cum laude in 2005.
Now what I learned in UP and what happened after UP, are for a different story. You can just read this post on the greatest things I learned from UP aside from being too political, my degree, and the desire to learn – diskarte and a bunch of really practical hardcore life skills.
UP helped me to a bit more socially responsible too. All that Atenean “bumaba ka sa bundok” mentality just intensifies the point that Ateneo’s “up there.” UP shows you life where the rubber meets the road.
Well, here I am going personal again with this post. Bottom line, as my take on the brouhaha of what school is the better school – Ateneo made me learn from books, UP concretized my learning. Got the best deal out of it, I guess. There’s still much to learn but at least I got a chock-full of experiences from them. And I’m just a bit more confident about taking on more challenging things now. I dropped my aspirations of being a lawyer (got jaded with the justice system here) when I was a college junior so here I am poised to take on the academe.
Simply put, no matter what school you come from, it’s how you use the learning that counts (corny!). My Ateneo and UP degrees count for nothing if I don’t use them.
A long post. Yeah, and too much Atenean-bred self-glorification in the process for this one. Harhar.
TRIVIA: J. Angelo was my “kuya” sponsor (both of us being B boys – sort of Math geeks :p) in our batch’s Freshman Welcoming Rites in Ateneo.
I got thrown off with the “A boy” line – I guess you meant that the Atenean was the “A” section right? Not unless you feel like emphasizing that the person who made it was indeed “a boy” — no wait… haha
I went to a UP-run high school (UPLB’s UP Rural High School) so just like AHS kids, I was in a system that used a sledgehammer to instill upon us that we were the best by a mile. I was set to go to UP – just like the rest of my batchmates.
One of my biggest frustrations is to have never studied in Diliman. I made it to my first choice course in Diliman but I chose to take UPCM’s offer – and I’m paying for it dearly. UPM’s environment is very different from UPD’s. For one, we don’t have a real campus. All we have is a bunch of buildings scattered liberally along Faura and Pedro Gil. I was duped into joining a rally during my freshman year. ugh. haha
oh, Alex, that was quite a discourse, and it sure comes timely, with a number of fine young men and women now in a crossroad, whether to go blue and white or maroon. this could be an eye opener, not to influence them in making decisions–as you know, each person is unique, and each person has his/her own concerns.
interesting that you and son J Angelo have taken the same path, i see a pattern of fine young men going through the challenges in this society.
son Vince now has a suggestion–why don’t we open up a discussion on whether to go blue and white OR green. for me, it would be a disaster, as there has never been an occasion when any of us in the large family has ever been faced with a similar situation.
wow, a fellow Bboy! this is weird, but i was most struck by the part wherein you said that you aced the computer tests? whoa! computer is so hard now that when you say you’re acing it, you’d be called a dork. well, maybe it’s also because of our teacher whom may i say is a computer freak himself. i enjoyed reading this post and i don’t really understand if it’s your claretian, atenean or iskolar ng bayan side writing.
Wow, and I’m still cleaning up typos in this one. Thanks for the comments!
@benj Yes, A as in section A. Funny how ADMUHS has letter sections. Good thing the last section’s a semi-honors class too lest you decided that it’s a prejudiced school against no-brainers.
@sexy mom What future collegians should also tackle would be the merits of other schools too. I believe that it’s the strength of the program that should be the deciding factor there. As far as multimedia arts is concerned I think APC and Benilde would kick the crap out of UP! So young people should be looking at that angle too.
@vince Yes, I was a B boy. Humirap na ba ang computer class? Last time I heard you were still doing BASIC. Jeepers. I remember telling Fr. Perez months ago that everything I’m using now (a bit of OOP, multimedia, design…), I learned all by myself and the reason why we got high grades in computer was because we practically knew the subject matter being PC geeks and all. I know they’re reconsidering the program. And, it’s a mix. It’s the Alex that’s talking. Pretty much heterogeneous at that. :p
I know you’d “kill” me if you see me reply to this post (or the fact that I read “The Construct” :P).
To tell you the truth, I actually envy you for being able to go to three different schools with totally different academic and social environments.
Like you said, I was (and still am)a UP-die hard, having gone to THE State U since kinder (gads, hindi na ba ako nagsasawa?), but looking back, it would have actually benefited me to have diverted my path at some point. Perhaps I would have had the chance to be exposed to other ideals, cultures, principles, behavior, morals (and lack there-of), attitudes, personalities, etc. other than Maroon-laden ones. Perhaps, I wouldn’t have felt too “boxed” as a student.Weird no? Since UP is known to be the free-est academic institution around. Imagine, you get branded by this certain “image” that you’d have to uphold all the time. Even in college some of my high school teachers would tend to ask my college professors about how I was doing. I envy you for knowing how it felt like to be a brain, a bully, the one being bullied, an underdog, a crush-ng-bayan, (ooh I hear some gagging noises out there), an outcast, the popular kid, a follower, a leader.
That’s why I savored my one-year exchange-student stint in Japan. I was able to diversify (though I must admit that my UP education that teaches one to be an independent, well-rounded, maka-Pinoy individual helped in my survival). I was able to found out who I really was without the expectations.
Oh don’t get me wrong. I love UP and will always love UP. Without it, I wouldn’t be the “brainy, weird, and certainly maka-masa” sister that you have.
But you know what? Sometimes I would find myself wondering about how things would have been like if I had instead heeded Papa’s wish for me to enroll in Ateneo for college. Weird no?
Oh and yes, I’ll get my own journal space so I wouldn’t hog yours. But what does an older sibling got to do, eh?
Sisters have cooties!
I envy you for knowing how it felt like to be a brain, a bully, the one being bullied, an underdog, a crush-ng-bayan, (ooh I hear some gagging noises out there), an outcast, the popular kid, a follower, a leader.
— *gag* 😛
Yup, some crush-ng-bayan you turned out to be. Just as you would say, you’ll always be the guy who made a girl cry in public.
I was wearing a shirt, shorts and sandals to mix in the UP masa appeal.
Mind you, this kind of “fashion” was prevalent during our time in college. Boys coming from Cervini would wear their “pambahay” attire and nobody complains. 🙂
hey alex, how sweet it was for flori to give her share on this discourse. pls say hello to her 🙂
@Yoru Yes, I think Ateneans are more laid back in terms of attire. But you’ve got to see UP now. I hardly see people in tsinelas, shorts, and shirt na may butas to class anymore (unless you’re a dormer who woke up late for class). UP kids have become more fashionista in a sense. 😀
Teka, di mga coÃ±o kasama ko. Am I weird? Or dahil iba lang napadparan ko? Hahaha.
I always see some of the Blue and White “traitors” in the AS steps, with their Povedan and Assumptionista and Paulinian friends, most of them smoking their lungs out.
I have nothing against them, really. I just hang out with a different crowd now. Maybe it’s because most of my blockmates were from the province. So I tried hanging out with different people whom I met in previous GEs. And some old (and new!) friends from the Ateneo.
I still get the ooooh-Atenista-ka-so-mayaman-ka-siguro reaction when people learn of my previous alma mater. Wala lang. Nakakasawa minsan. And, I also realized why they called Ateneans “mayayabang.” Hahaha.
Anyways, WOW. Kilala mo si Father Perez??? Parang lahat yata tayo dumaan sa kanya. Ang tanda na talaga nun.
Sa FA, halong konyo at masa XD Artists kasi palibhasa. LOL.
Anyway, I came from a simple “private” parochial school and came to UP with culture shock as well. And with the transition, I was one step closer to getting out of the box. ^^
And I don’t regret learning the real deal at all.
I never dug the idea of having honors sections. We were randomly put into sections back in high school – unless you would consider an advanced english class as a sign of segregation.
Man, I’m really curious about how it wouldve been like to study at Diliman.
@ba, naku nagkataon lang siguro kasi English Studies ako and noon mix pa ang Language at Creative Writing. A lot of my friends who came from the private schools were under the CW program.
Anyway, still, the majority of the block came from the provinces but that didn’t stop them from adapting the ManileÃ±o culture right away. Mind you they’re more prone to have booze outs than saintly *gag* little Catholic schoolboys and schoolgirls like us. Save perhaps for my friend na Kostkan na nam-BI dun sa kanila. Haha.
Yes, the AS Steps is the coÃ±o hangout. I think mostly those are the psych kids or CSSP kids. Pero madami din rich kidz sa BA, Econ at Stat. Actually kahit saan eh. Sa EEE nga ang daming de-kotse, bitbit ang mga high-end laptops eh.
Yes, I know Fr. Perez. He’s old and he still insists on BASIC while the rest of the younger pack want to teach OOP. Hehe.
Yes, even I (poor little me who was doing odd jobs by the time I was a junior to make tuition) got remarks like “mayaman-mayabang-na-Atenista”. Even up to now, when people get to know I came from the Ateneo sa high school. Ewan ko ba. Baduy ko na nga manamit eh.
@benj Ewan ko kung pointless yung honors course kasi most of them from section A Honors class are quite okay guys themselves are not of the pencil-neck geek types. Yes we even had (Ateneo still has) semi-honors class for Math (section B) and English (section O in my time) even a pull-out section for English with kids from A, B, and O.
Diliman’s like a world on its own dahil sa laki ng campus (now I wonder what it’s like sa LB, with the mountains and grass/weed? :p).
Sa EEE nga ang daming de-kotse, bitbit ang mga high-end laptops eh.
true. pero pag tiningnan mo na ang get-up, halos magmumukha pa kaming pulubi compared to the konyo people in BA, Econ, Stat, maybe even CSSP and CAL.
ang delineation naman sa Eng’g and CS, science high schools. shempre since freshman year pa lang, nagkukumpulan na ang mga taga pisay, q-sci, masci at kung anu ano pang sci sci. most of them even have their own scholarships or tuition cuts (DOST scholarships primarily, most have their tuition cut by Php 4500 at least). subsidized na nung highschool, subsidized pa sa college. talagang maglilitawan ang mga laptops (for school daw… pero ginagawang pan Dota). culture nila ang mas dominant compared to the private school geeks (like me) and those coming from the provinces. mas nakaka-OP pa kung tutuusin.
BTW, don’t get fooled by the “from the province” stuff. Some of these kids come from the super rich landlord class (I personally know of one kaso nasa Ateneo Law na siya ngayon). Some of these kids can actually buy UP ata sa yaman. And they call that equal opportunity. Hehehe. :p
Conyo ba ang taga-Stat? Hindi ah! Ako lang ang pinaka-conyo dun!!! JOKE.
LB is definitely a world on its own. It’s even called College, Laguna. lol. There’s plenty of things to do – a hike up Mount Makiling is a day trip and natural mud springs/falls are just a few minutes. I also think that frat violence is more rampant. I heard that my batchmates were already filing LOAs to prevent themselves from being clobbered.
I think LB is a lot more laid back. UP Manila on the other hand is really cosmopolitan. A lot of students (at least those who dont have to wear uniforms 🙁 ) dress up as if they’re going to some night out. There used to be a Seattle’s Best in our canteen. hahaha.
Seattle’s Best. At least wala pa sa Diliman nun! Kung hindi, may magra-rally. “Starbucks, imperyalista!”
Ha! All of that would change! My sister told me that the Econ profs are planning to put up Starbucks in their newly renovated cafeteria. It may not push through, being just a plan but could you imagine the consequences of this? UP students will be fueled by coffee!
Wala, dadami lang ang mga coÃ±o sa Econ. Hehehe.