A Feeling Of Freedom
Yesterday, as an incoming freshman of the Ateneo de Manila University, I had my OrSem (Orientation Seminar) where the new students are educated on most every aspect of the school such as schedules, grades, departments, organizations and many others. Of course, as a new college student, I’d expect that life for me would change drastically since I’m no longer in the same familiar system of education that the Ateneo Grade School and the Ateneo High School gave me. Even though it’s the same school, many things still will change, and the change that I recently experienced (and quite frankly embrace) is the whole system of blocks.
See, way back then in Grade School, every year had me with different classmates. Starting High School I only had a change of classmates once, since after the 1st Year I was with an entirely new set of people who were with me until 4th Year, and eventually, graduation. They’re now permanently part of my life, as the class of D of 2011.
Let me clarify something though. I’m quite an introverted person (See: About Me), and although I mention the whole D being part of my life, I wasn’t very active in my own section and I’m the type to have few but very close friends. And as it is high school, the friends you make there will be the friends you have for life. Bringing my being introverted into the equation, it’s been that way for many years now, during the most crucial parts of my life where I began to learn and understand many things at drastic rates. Not that it’s a bad thing to be with the same people for an extended period of time, because you generally get to know them way more personally than anyone else.
But I think a large majority of people will agree that everyone needs something entirely new and fresh from time to time. I recently realized that even more so today. It came to me in the form of a group of people…called Block Z.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s been years since I last felt this way about a group of people. Or maybe it’s something that I’ve only learned to realize recently. Block Z, the section of students taking my same course (Computer Engineering) gives me a feeling that I’ve long forgotten.
I felt free.
Free from stereotypes. Free from prejudice and preconceived notions. Free in the way that no one knows who you are, and it’s up to you to show the world just that at present, and not up to your past.
A clean slate, a fresh start and…perhaps a new life.
Unlike in Grade School and High School, I really don’t know why exactly but I felt like I really just could be myself the way I’ve always been without any form of apprehension or hostility. My past roles have always been the quiet and shy classmate who can be as non-existent as required if people deemed it so. But to the majority I’m probably just the classmate with certain but close connections to others, and generally holds no hatred towards anyone. For the few, I may be something completely different, as “Dave”, as part of a core of close friends in 1st Year High School or as part of a group of cosplayers mostly because there was a band aspect to it! 😀
I must admit. When I first made contact with my block I was already tagging people with stereotypical images the way I always have in the past to know if I should even attempt knowing them. Might sound cruel and too judgmental to some, but I openly admit to doing. But thanks to the OrSem program and their “group dynamics” activities…see, I realize that these are the kinds of things people normally wouldn’t rave about, but the mere fact that I’m specifically mentioning the OrSem program means I think it’s highly legitimate and it absolutely works.
So fine, some of what I thought people to be were spot on (I’ve been doing this for some time XD), but even then those things are shattered more and more as barricades to being able to becoming good friends with them. People I thought I’d never be able to talk to within the 5 years of my college life spoke to me on day 1. People I thought would never be able to get along with me because of our differences in culture, found common yet unique aspects of our lives which are the same. People who spoke Filipino with my primary language being English…well…they haven’t heard me screw up the language so badly, pero kahit na halatang may slang yung pagsasalita ko ng Filipino, nagagamit ko naman yung wika at naiintindihan nila (but even though I speak Filipino with an English accent, I get to use it anyhow and they understand me).
What’s not to like? I meet people with personalities I’ve never experienced before, with knowledge that has never been shared to me before, with dreams I’ve never imagined possible.
Not as me under a mask with secrets hidden within. Not as a stripped version of me hiding things from the world fearing that it may affect how people see me.
But as myself.
A shout-out to fellow blockmates who read this post when I inevitably brainwash you to listen to my music. I absolutely look forward to knowing all of you better, and working with you to reach those dreams. 😀