I never waste opportunities. If they come, they are not going, because I am grabbing them. I always believe that opportunity comes but once, that’s why in every endeavor, I make sure that these three things be accomplished: service, fulfillment, and happiness.
This exactly was what I accomplished some three years ago when I was admitted in the university that every Filipino aspire, the University of the Philippines Diliman. I can still remember how I cried for joy, how eager I was to actually start my college education. I also could not forget how my family was so proud of me. Such a wonderful feeling, indeed! But attached with this excitement was my greatest fear of rejection. I was intimidated that the new society that I will soon partake would not accept me as the person that I really am, a member of a minority group, a Bisaya.
I thought I cannot make it: coping up with a different culture from where and how I was raised. I thought, mine was so backward, very baryotic, very conservative; and the new environment will just eat me up that I’ll mislead my own identity, my being me, my being a Bisaya.
But this fear turned out to be a myth. When I entered the university, I realized that the kind of culture adopted by the people is very diverse. I was convinced that I should not feel pity for myself. I realized that I have one big, rich culture that I should be proud of. I am a Bisaya.
This realization didn’t just hit me alone. Because the university has students all over the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, the reservation that I felt was not mine alone to keep. I found out that it was in fact all of us who felt the same, whether you come from the provinces, or from small islands, or even from the metropolis.
My experience of staying in dormitories in the university really helped me know my identity more, that more than being a Bisaya, I am a Filipino – very rich with culture and traditions. It is always good and fulfilling to know that our very difference in culture and belief made us one, as a Filipino. However, what made it even more rewarding is the fact that all of us were actually open to and with our identities. We experience from culture to culture, and by mere interaction meant a learning process. Gaps were bridged. Cultures refined.
It even helped me more when I took up Intercultural Communication. In this class, I was able to understand not only the Filipino Culture but with all other cultures around the globe. I got to meet people with different colors, races, beliefs. I got to interact with them and appreciate them. From this class, I also learned theories and concepts that are even helpful to fully understand the dynamics of intercultural communication.
More to it, however, is my sorority. Because we are a sorority based in the Philippines, we get to meet different people. We have projects not only for the members but to the Filipino people as a whole. It is always an achievement when you know that you’ve helped a lot with the gain of actually understanding different kinds of people, with different culture and beliefs.
Now, I am on my final year, actually, on my final semester, taking up Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. I want to try something more. And because opportunities are much more open this time, I would not dare miss it, or else I’ll miss half of my life. I know that by trying out opportunities around, I can learn so many things not just learned in school. I know that by actively joining events and occasions necessary for building a better me is an accomplishment that I will treasure forever.
I don’t know what’s in store for me months from now. But no worries much. The future will take care of itself, for me. Because I take much care for my present.