It was such an enjoyable (and a very tiring one) journey to be the Managing Editor of our school newspaper, CASCADE, in my senior year. Aside from layouting, I was also assigned together with the EIC to write for the column proper for three issues. My column’s title proper was “Self Captivated” – which means being a captive of yourself, being imprisoned, confined, or enslaved.I feel so grateful and blessed for having this “job” (should I call it job haha) because I get to share my own heartbreaks and hardships in life and even become an inspiration to all. Choz feeling beauty queen!!
In the first issue, I talked about the major thing/sickness I faced in highschool -Tardiness, which was entitled “Beating 7:30” while in the second issue, I wrote something about one of my most heartbreaking experiences in my life and that was my own Ateneo heartbreak experience
Since CASCADE second issue’s already published and distributed, I wanted to share you what I wrote there.
It was around 6:30 am when my dad carried me out of my bed. He did because I begged him to let me stay and not go with them to check the ACET results. But he told me to gather up my senses, wake myself up, and have the whole courage to come and see the results together with the other seniors around the Philippines, who also aspired and prayed hard to get in to this prestigious school, the Ateneo de Manila University.
This elite school had been my dream since I entered high-school. I have always felt like I was meant to be there. I have already heard bunch of great news of the school’s reputation even before I told myself that it would be the university that I will dream and eye for. One is that Ateneo’s good in everything; they never failed to produce the best kinds of people. Also, the school is composed of high-class students. If you have the ‘beauty’ and the ‘brains’ then that would mean you are already qualified. I now admit that I was really blinded with all the news I heard. I constantly tell to myself “Ano bang kina-iba ng Ateneo sa ibang universities? There’s something special talaga. I deserve to be there.”
To be accepted in Ateneo is everyone’s dream. In the summer of 2012, I grabbed the opportunity and enrolled myself in a review center. I believed that it would be an enough preparation for the upcoming assessment. On September 15, 2012, I gave Ateneo a shot. I took the ACET. I answered and shaded every question with all bravery. I confess to you now that I wasn’t really pretty sure with all my answers, and I swear that the Numerical Ability part sucked big time. Gladly, I still conquered it.
Four months of uncertainty of passing or not equaled to the times of sleepless nights to highlight especially the last few days before the verdict. I was bugged each and every moment of the thought of my name written or not and how hurt I’d be if not. I felt a total kind of uneasiness before the day of results. I even had nightmares before it. I don’t know why, but I already got depressed in advance.
On January 12, 2013, perhaps one of the most emotional days I ever had, is the day of the ACET results. It was a dramatic scene in our car with my sister who stayed beside me while my parents went out to check if my name was written on the board because I didn’t have the nerves to go check it by myself. It was a total of 30 minutes of waiting. I was already breathing hard and tried not to be emotional as I can.
From my view inside the car, I saw a small crowd at the gym, where the boards are meant to be posted. I was sure that my parents were already there and that in a few minutes, they are going back and I would already know the news I patiently waited for months. A second after a second, the crowd would get bigger and bigger and would still give me the same goosebumps I felt the moment we arrived at the site.
Until, I saw a mini-truck that carries something. Those stuff seemed to be covered with manila papers. “Manila Papers. Omg. Is this it?” I told myself when I saw those and everything was like in a slow-mo. Even before all these ACET stuff, I’ve already searched YouTube vids about how they were shown to at least be aware of the feeling of the momentum of anticipation of seeing your name written. I watched it and saw 4-5 boards covered with Manila Papers and simultaneously, they were uncovered, and all the people mostly made up of parents started shouting and screaming and jumping. I even saw a dad hugging his daughter tight although, it wasn’t clear if it was a victory or a failure, but all I am sure of is that they were both crying.
On that day, Jan 12, everything felt surreal. It was like I was in that actual video. When I heard the crowd’s grasps that slowly turned into screams, the buzzer from the gym, combo-ed with my over-reacting heartbeats, I started to break-down. My tears edged my eyelids and eventually, they went down. I started crying out everything –my nervousness, the frustrations of might-not-passing, and all. From the car, I sensed that the boards that carry the names of the passers were finally put into where they should be. Just like what I’ve seen from the YouTube video, they were slowly uncovered. When that happened, I heard a moment of silence, but surprised voices, victory screams, and all kinds of tones seemed to immediately fill the air. In that moment of time, I wished to hear my dad scream because that would mean I passed. But there was none.
There weren’t only screams. From my view and my sister’s, there were also jumping students and parents out of joy. There were also more who slowly walked their way back to their cars. It was obvious that they got a bad news because you would see a frown on their disappointed faces, and they wouldn’t talk until they get into their cars. But what highlighted it is how my parents went back from the site where the boards are. From afar, I knew right there and then what news they carry, so they came in the car and my dad initially told me “Nak, walang nakapasa sa inyo?” In my mind I was like “Cmon dad. How about my name?” And he finally told me, “Anak, di ka pumasa.”
Damn. I felt numb for a moment. I had no initial reaction. For a minute, it felt so empty.
We had no reason to stay for long in Ateneo, so we already went our way out, and I avow it’s the most dramatic moment of that lonely morning of Saturday. Just like in the movies, I was near the window where the raindrops are slowly falling on the glass, I was looking at the Ateneo building and the feeling of hurt and rejection filled my heart. In my head, it was like, “Damn. ‘Di ako makakapag-aral dito. Dahil ba hindi ako magaling? Dahil ba rich kids lang ang pwede dito, at ibig sabihin ako hindi?” I started to cry, cry, and cry. My dream school did not accept me. I did not pass. All these went inside and broke down my heart into pieces. Was I reacting too much? Yes. I swear I felt so low. In that moment, I considered myself as a combo of Bobo and Tanga. I wasn’t able to utter a single word to my parents. Even an “I’m okay” statement did not work because of course I was not okay with what I heard. I texted my friends that I did not make it to at least release my feelings. Thankfully, I stopped crying for a while then later on, I got a call from my best friend. I picked the phone up, and only voiced out words that are less than five, and between them are long gaps. Eventually, I shed my tears all over AGAIN. I am grateful to my best friend for just listening even if it took minutes of crying. I told him to call again because I already started feeling awkward.
Failing the ACET gave me a fear. I worried about what-if-I-don’t-pass-the-other-schools-I-will-apply-to? What if not passing the ACET really means I am that stupid and will not pass to any exam that I would take in my life ever. I was that nega. Mega nega, actually.
At first, I did not want to accept the fact of failure, but after hearing my dad’s narration of the different reactions he saw during the revelation of the names, I felt lighter. I realized I was not alone in this loneliness. However, that does not mean I want others to feel the same way I was feeling because I swear it sucks. Imagine a girlfriend or a boyfriend dumping you. That is exactly how it felt. I felt dumped, rejected, and low.
According to the news, this is the least set of passers Ateneo ever had. Only 20% of the ACET takers made it in. The university in no doubt really did well in screening their upcoming students. That only means the passers deserve to be Atenistas, but I attest to you that I am not bitter over that. That does not mean I do not deserve Ateneo. Anyone is worthy to be in a school where there is an assured good education. It’s just it isn’t really for me.
It took me a day to get over with my upsetting result. I was surprised that it was just how fast it is. Days before the results, I have already anticipated the feeling of great disappointment. I even told my classmates that I would miss a day in school if I fail the ACET. I thought that it would be a longer process of healing, but then I realized that it is all about your open-mindedness on things, and your faith in God to get over with failures and hurts.
I paid attention to my feelings, and contemplated that why would I even dwell on the sad side of the story? Why would I soak myself into so much frustration? It’s just a college. There are countless schools in the Philippines, and maybe one of those schools is where I am really supposed to be; where I am fit, and where God wants me to be.
God’s will is greater than our dreams.
Many times in our lives, we go through great disappointments and these send us to the worst times, and we feel like dying, crashing, and all, but always remember, God will not put us into something we cannot handle. Nevertheless, let yourself be human. When in disappointment or rejection, release it all out for a moment; lock in your room, eat ice cream, throw a stone, break a glass, cry out loud, scream, jump, or whatever it is that will release your feelings for a moment. JUST FOR A MOMENT. Take it from my experience; I cried for hours and drama-d so hard, but here I am still -putting up that big smile on my face. Do not ever dwell on the sadness and the rage of the feelings of failure and being a failure. I know it is hard to recover from such things, but do not over emphasize it. What God wants us to do is make a swift recovery and stand up. Come on, rejection does not mean you are the worst person on Earth and that you cannot make up for things. You can be good wherever you are. Dwelling on the failure will not bring you any good. It will just hold you, and hold you back from catching the success in your life. Always look at the brighter side.
If you ever read my column from the last issue, good news, I was suspended for a day. God taught me a lesson. If you are hard-headed, He will really teach you everything that you need to know in the hard way. But I know my suspension has a purpose just like how I failed the ACET. Everything has its purpose.
To end this column, I would like to thank my dad and my mom for all their efforts since forever – laughing with me, crying with me through the thick and thin and all, and for never giving up on inspiring and encouraging me. I love you always! I would also like to let my friends know that I am infinitely thankful to them, for they never failed to cheer me up. To my teachers, thank you for the support, the prayers, and all the inspiring words. Lastly, to God, who endlessly loved me, and picked me up and will always pick me up from all the hurts that I have gone through and possibly still go through in the future.
This ACET experience taught me that experiencing a major downfall is fun. Literally, it is not of course, but the fun part is the post-downfall when you just review everything you went through and realize that ‘Wow, I just got over it!”
Einstein was not a super-genius when he was born. Someone told Oprah that she was unfit for TV. The girl or the boy who dumped you is not the only person in the world. Yale did not accept Blair Waldorf. Ateneo is not the only school in the Philippines. Stand up, chin up, and be better than ever whenever and wherever.