Regretful but never a waste of time
Ever heard of the term “black sheep?” Well, you can probably call me that but honestly, I don’t know what I am. Have you ever started something that you knew, deep down, you would finish but never really did? You wanted to do it, you wanted to finish it but somehow, someway, you ended up either quitting or doing something else. Well that’s me. I started a lot of things and ended up, well, let’s just say I started a lot of things.
I was 17 when I passed my PUPCET. PUPCET is an entrance exam for one of the most astounding state universities in the Philippines, PUP. I was so anxious to study in PUP as both my parents were from there and well, I wanted to make them proud. I was on my second week of the term when I realized that I was in the wrong place, that I didn’t belong. So after two weeks, I took my last steps around PUP and waved goodbye. A year after leaving PUP, I took ECE at TIP. TIP is one of those institutions who is trying to be on top. They managed to produce quality engineers and their curriculum is pretty decent as well. Again, I was so excited! I grew up loving Math but just when school started Math slapped me across the face making me fathom how much it hated me. People told me I was great in Math, they’ve never been so wrong. I knew I was going to fail so I dropped out. It took me two years before I went back to NU and became an English Major. I finished high school in NU and those years were the best. People thought I wasn’t going to graduate. I mean, come on! Three strikes and I’m out, right? Well, finally I did with help from my mentor, Sir H and other professors, whom I will not mention just to be fair. I don’t want to hurt their feelings by missing a name or two. I marched up the stage and shook my dean’s hand and looked at my dad’s teary eyes. I did it. I finally got my diploma after three tries and it was stupendous!
I heard so many things during those years I was in college. Everything you need to hear to feel discouraged, I heard it. Some said I wasn’t good enough, some people also said that I’m just a waste of space and that I have never completed anything in my life, they even said that I will never change. I somehow managed to prove them wrong but I knew that having a 4-year course wasn’t enough for them. So I took my MA and heard the same negative feedback. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, they were right. I went to school for more than a year and I decided to rest. I rested too long that I didn’t want to come back. I didn’t come back because I wanted something else. I told myself, I’m going to be a lawyer. I went to law school, had to quit two weeks away from our finals due to medical reasons and when asked why I didn’t return, I tell them “it’s too long.” I know what you’re thinking, I’m making excuses, and you’re probably right.
Sorry if I had to tell my story first before I get to my point. Truth is, the only consistent feedback I received was SAYANG (total waste of time), that everything I did was just a waste of time and most of all, a waste of money. But was it really sayang? I don’t think so. You see, my problem is not I that wasted time and money, my problem is I don’t know what I want or probably, I change my mind too many times. Did I really waste anything? Did I not learn anything? I think not. Whoever and whatever I am today is the product of all those sayangs. When I quit PUP, I learned that I don’t need to stand behind my parents’ shadows, that I can be someone else, be my own person. When I gave up TIP I learned that I cannot be defined by what people think of me, that what matters is that I did not do something out of decisions and predictions foretold by whoever. And when I didn’t enroll to continue and finish my MA I learned that having a title doesn’t earn you respect. People will not look up to you because you have some prefix at th beginning of your name. People will embrace you because you took the long journey and experienced the bumps without a doubt in your heart. When I decided not to return to law school I learned the true meaning of “there are two sides in every story.” I learned that your truth may not be my truth. With everything that happened to me, can you honestly say that I am sayang?
The thing is, I still have a life ahead of me. I have a lifetime to try new things, learn new things and make something of myself. I did finish this piece, right? Well, you’re almost done reading. Don’t judge. Anyway, whenever people tell you that your life is sayang, let them know exactly how your experience taught you how to be a fighter and how to be strong. You, we, no one is a failure. No one is sayang. Our life may be nakakapanghinayang but never sayang. (Regretful but never a waste of time.)