To All The Profs I’ve Loved Before

A little more than ten years ago, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I cheerfully say “I want to be a teacher”. It was in the late years of elementary I decided not to be one because realized I will never ever possess the required patience of the job.

I remember not having a favorite person from the faculty in grade school and high school. Though I must thank my Language and Phoenix, and Reading Comprehension teachers in grade school. They made a mean grammarnazi out of me. They pre-arranged my love for books and the creepy silence of the library. They made reading and writing a leisure – from which I decided to quit Language and Literature in college, fearing I won’t be reading and writing the same way again.

I owe “Thank you” to my Values teacher in high school who required the entire class to read Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince and made me read aloud my analysis of each chapter. Those were the earliest Barthes exercises, I guess. And to my fourth year English teacher who made me speak of 19th century literature. I felt amazing presenting in class that George Elliot was actually Mary Ann Evans and so other literary trivia. It felt like disclosing Illuminati secrets in national TV. I was an awesome geek. And I owe another word of gratitude to my fourth year adviser who gave our class daily dosage of the chill pill. She taught us to let loose and be fun midst the stress and pressure of finding a good college.

Then came college, which was a lot different. Spending it in UP made it complicated. I had to juggle academics and extra curricular activities. Not to mention, UP is a microcosm of society. There are different communities and you get to interact and deal with them one way or another. My professors made the whole journey more than bearable. The varied approaches of learning made learning itself interesting. Along the way, what I initially found complicated, I eventually deemed enthralling. UP paved the way for the real world. My professors did.

Yes, UP profs, They laid out facts, opened possibilities. They taught me that matters should be viewed like a a kaleidoscope. It should be seen in different perspectives to get a better understanding. And you take everything and every angle with it – the bad and the good, the beautiful and the ugly. They taught me that it’s the same thing with life. You can look at it whichever way you desire, but you have to accept it with all its positive and negative aspects. Use whatever is too much to make up for the less. Balance what makes you feel bad with what makes you feel better. Seek knowledge for that you lack understanding of. Take challenges as lessons.

With this, I certainly owe them more than thank you’s.

*This post makes me want to go back to school. Seriously.

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Dear 12-Year Old Ted,

Some ten years (and so-so months) ago, I used to be a bratty yet boyish, sheltered and secretive girl. It’s a pretty weird thing how I came up to be this big me. And since I am this big girl writing, maybe I could give the young pre-teen me a mean set of pointers.

  • Do not be pressured of getting into a Science high school or an Art school. Enrolling will neither make you an astronaut nor a National Artist. You’ll learn the basics of Science in a normal high school anyway, and art? You’d better go for that in college.
  • Do not let go of writing. Your grade school folio is only an annual publication. Do not rest your pen after the deadlines. Write at the margins of your notebook and at the clean sheet of Math scratch paper. Ask your aunties for journals as presents.
  • Appreciate your baon. Your mother will rarely do that for you in college and you’ll surely miss that.
  • Remember boys from the Honor Section. Two from which will sweep you off your feet. Thus, start drafting their records.
  • Hoard more books from the library. Read more classics so that they won’t have to interfere with your studies in the future. Don’t mind the extra charge of a new Borrower’s card, it’s just worth two days’ snack.
  • Do not be afraid of dogs. They’re one of the cutest and most adorable creatures on earth.
  • Do not fear your teachers, even the “terror” ones. They’re supposed to teach, not to traumatize. You can always tell your father about them, and he’ll show them who’s more of an RSA.
  • Take real good care of your hair. It will be the hardest to maintain when you get older.
  • Cherish every moment you spend with your father. One day, his presence will be rare. Or maybe, his voice will be just as good as his presence.
  • Earn patience now. You’ll have to use tons of it later in life.

I Have Loved Books Long Before I Loved You

The grade school library was once my refuge. I did not have a favorite desk or chair. I usually sat on the floor carefully tracing the edges of the pages while other books were piled to my side. I spent long hours there. I even took the last trip of the school service a lot of times only to devour newly cataloged classics.

I wonder if the library was your childhood’s refuge too. We had the same favorite books though – the enormous Atlas that was way larger than our 10-year old frames, the Peanuts Encyclopedia with tattered pages and the Classics in pink, red, orange and green spines.

I believe we have already met in the library, in books. We have already held hands while turning the pages. We have already shared the same emotions between the lines. And maybe, we have even read our own story then, reason why we felt we knew each other too well.

I do not know you then. You were only an anonymous character.

Who would ever thought you would be a heroic protagonist I would love so well ten years later.