Eight years of blogging

October 20, 2008. I almost always forget October 20. Eight years ago today I published my first blog entry. From that day on, I’ve been blogging and recording my thoughts and my life in general. Most of my entries back then are, obviously, not up right now. They’re tucked somewhere in the internet, and I’d rather not re-read through them because they’re utterly embarrassing.

One day–actually, yesterday–I randomly clicked one entry for 2001 and to my surprise I was talking about my conservative Catholic ideals and my dislike for the what I called the hedonistic lifestyle of my high school classmates. Ha ha ha ha! It’s disgusting. I even mentioned names.

Blogging started off a lot of significant things for me. It would take me some time to make an exhaustive list, which I unfortunately don’t have much of at the moment. Needless to say, it was through my blog that I got to know a lot of people, moreso the other way around. Blogging definitely played a big part in my life. It played not just a passive role on being a medium where my I recorded my transformation from a being conservative and naive high school freshman in Ateneo to the opinionated law student that I am now in UP, and all else in between, but an active role in getting me into where I am right now. Here’s to more years of blogging for me! In four years I would have been blogging for half of my life, would you imagine.

I still want it

October 16, 2008. As a freshman, your first final examinations in law school can really make you think about your commitment to studying the law. I’ve never experienced an end-of-semester final exam season this exhausting and stressful. Long hours of reading, series of sleepless nights, prolonged isolation from your non-law school friends and other activities really makes you ask yourself if it’s all worth it.

One night, I wanted to read all about the global economic crises and other related local issues but alas I had to read about how estranged spouses should settle the dissolution of their conjugal properties. The other day I wanted to go with my colleagues in the student council to this dialogue with the university president but I had to read about how adopted children can rescind their adoption.

Even if I already think I’m doing so much, it still feels barely enough. The other day, a few hours before taking my final exam in Persons & Family Relations, I was trembling in fear. I felt so inadequate and scared of failing. Another day of studying could’ve made a big difference, I kept thinking. If I fail my Persons & Family Relations class, I’m automatically on probation. Being on probation wouldn’t normally bother me. But it’s the expectations that I’m seeking to fulfill that really keep the pressure. One red mark and I’m disqualified. One more week and three more examinations to go for me. And who says I’m on sembreak after that? I’m immediately off to Davao for a student council congress, then to Zambales for a student council planning. Then before I know it, it’s already the beginning of another semester. That is if I don’t fail my subjects.

Perennially distracted

October 9, 2008. I can’t seem to fulfill my plan to isolate myself and become a law school monk. Every once in a while I can’t help but turn the TV on and watch some entertainment or some shows off CNN. I would sigh at how pathetic some news commentators, short of sounding like capitalist paid hacks, spin the news of the global capitalist crisis into something barely positive. Every morsel of positive detail is being used to salvage the perception of capitalism’s inevitable collapse. It’s like everyone’s in denial. This was bound to happen because of this system’s inherent characteristic. France, Iceland, Singapore, Japan, even the USA is on recession. Those who speak of free market policies have suddenly now shut up and allowed state intervention to bail out greedy private financial institutions. What happened? Okay. So even if I turn the TV off and go back to studying, I still end up losing my focus. Every half an hour or so I would get up from my study table and walk around the house trying to do something else. More often that not, I’d end up just playing with Tisay and watching cartoons with her.

A few days ago, in one of my frequent breaks from studying, I randomly picked an unread book from my book shelf and ended up reading the entire thing for the rest of the day. I wasn’t able to get back to my study schedule. The book was a biography of Edgar Jopson, one of the more prominent activist student leaders during the Marcos years who was assassinated a few months before Ninoy Aquino. Little did I know that this Atenean who became President of the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) also went through the UP College of Law–but only for two years. A paragraph in the book read:

Edjop [Edgar Jopson] tried law school at the University of the Philippines, but he eventually grew disillusioned. One afternoon, he came form from the Diliman campus fuming. Heading straight for his sister Marie’s room, he slammed the door shut and angrily hurled his thick law books at the bed. “The Laws that we work so hard to study and understand are laws for the rich, not for ordinary people. Mga batas lang ng mayayaman!” he said. Edjop quit law school after two years.

What a motivation, eh. Indeed a few weeks ago I was trying to start memorizing some provisions of the 1987 Constitution, a task we were told to do for our oral exams in Constitutional Law 1. And I was having a hard time concentrating because the thought that our politicians will try to change the goddamn charter by hook or by crook always made me ask myself what’s the use of studying all this? By the time I’d be taking the Bar, I doubt that this would still be the constitution.

When studying becomes a fault

September 26, 2008. It pains me when friends and colleagues take it against me when I am unable to spend time with them or do some tasks because I need to spend time to study. Perhaps only fellow law students really understand.

Nagsasawa na akong magpaliwanag. I’m just starting to sound like I’m making excuses all the time. All of you want me to become a lawyer but you make me feel bad for trying to get it done. I don’t think many of you understand how terribly demanding law school is. I’m tempted to take a picture of my piles of readings, worth thousands of pages, all of which I had to read and will have to re-read through for the final examinations, just to show you how seriously I mean it when I say I need all the time I can to study. I wouldn’t wish such an ordeal on any of you. I’m trying my best to juggle and handle everything. ‘Pag kaya ko naman ginagawa ko, ‘pag may oras ako nagpapakita naman ako. But this I’ll admit, I’m really just so compelled to give much more time to studying. If I don’t spend as much time or more, I’m really, really going to fail some of my subjects. And if I fail I will never become the lawyer you want me to be, something I really want for myself, too.

Nightmares and child-acting

September 14, 2008. A few days ago, some of my orgmates in UP Cinema Arts Society asked me if Tisay could act for one of our orgmate’s thesis short film production. I was hesitant at first, since Tisay was just two years old, and I was doubting if she could deliver lines or any acting of that sort. Plus, she could be a brat. And I sort of have an idea how coaching a child to act can be a headache. Despite that, I said yes, and for that they even gave me the role of his father, too. Anyhow, it was a largely cameo role.

True enough, however, Tisay was such a brat during the shoot. She was okay at first, but since shoots are always vulnerable to delays, and delayed the shoot was, Tisay got pretty bored and tired before we got to shoot the sequence she was in. By the time it was our turn, she was on tantrums. Indeed, directing or coaching a child to act can prove to be one of the most difficult aspects of directing. She couldn’t quite grasp what acting was and how pretending is different from what is real and apparent. She got pretty confused when I kept telling her that for a while I would pretend to be Papa. Kunwari ako si papa, ganyan. She couldn’t get it. Ha ha. Oh well, dinaan na lang sa impromptu script-revisions to allow her tantrums and crying to be part of the sequence.

Anyhow, I’ve been having bad dreams every night the past week. Apocalypse, death of loved ones, and even myself, tragedies, etcetera. It has become regular, it’s scary. It has come to a point that I don’t want to sleep anymore. Gabi-gabi bangungot na lang palagi. Well, it’s not as if I can avoid sleep altogether. I think I should re-learn to pray before sleeping at night. So there goes some random blurbs.

Would you allow me to be selfish now?

August 18, 2008. “Natutulog ka pa ba?” I forget who asked me the question. I got asked the same thing around three times last week. “Yun nga ‘yung problema eh, natutulog ako,” I say. It’s so sad that I’m blaming sleep for the lack of time I need to do everything I’ve committed myself to do. There just isn’t enough waking hours to do them. I’ve never felt so depressed over grades. I was never that much of a grade-conscious person. As long as I pass and I know for myself that I’ve learned well, I’m satisfied. Last week I found out what my mid-semester average was. In spite of all the sleepless nights and the effort, it wasn’t enough. I failed big time. The fact that I was second lowest in my block made me feel so much worse. That day I went straight home from class and sulked. The week left me so tired and I am met with a failure. Inggit na inggit ako sa mga blockmates ko when they study in the library in the afternoons, or when they come to class ready and discuss among each other issues and cases one after another in attempt to review what they’ve read. I wish I had all the time to commit myself to the great demands of law school. When I see my blockmates talk about the lesson, I want to walk out because I barely know anything anymore.

But alas, I have extra-curricular commitments left and right. And even an extra undergraduate subject to worry about. I know I can do away with a lot of them. And believe me, I try. I don’t solicit tasks when I’m not asked anymore. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, there persists to be times when it’s as if I’m the only one who can perform some duties. Need a video presentation? Bikoy can do it. Need to drive someone around? Bikoy can do it. Need a resource person for a TV interview? Bikoy can do it. Nobody else would do this or that? Bikoy can do it. It’s always been a weakness of mine to refuse friends, brods, orgs, acquaintances in need.

It’s probably how I’ve been indoctrinated in Ateneo, in my political organization and even in my fraternity. Others before myself. Perhaps this was an isolated incident. The past week had just been exceptionally stressful. Aside from the midterms examinations, I had to produce the student council’s newsletter, handle a project for the frat, attend meetings left and right, do all sorts of errands and favors for family and friends. Sana hindi na lang ako natulog so I had time to do all these.

It’s gotten this bad, I’m blaming sleep for taking away precious working and studying time. I do so many things for other people, I end up barely taking care of myself. Law studies is a demanding bitch. And I’ve realized that in order to survive my first year in law school, I’d have to be a little more selfish than I was before. That is if I can handle the guilt. Tantanan niyo muna ako.

Puro na lang sakit ng ulo

August 3, 2008. I’ve been having really bad and recurring headaches almost every day the past weeks. Wala nang bisa sa akin ang paracetamol. I don’t know what to take anymore. I tried paracetamol and ibuprofen already. Barely works to relieve the pain. Undoubtedly, it is caused by stress.

All these headaches gets me into thinking sometimes, what if I wasn’t in the student council? What if I didn’t join the fraternity? What if I didn’t get myself involved in so many affiliations and commitments? What if I didn’t go to law school? What if I just didn’t care about how the government is run? What if I just cared about myself? Life would be so much less stressful. I could surf the net all day, watch all the movies I want to see, go to all places I want to go, spend all the time I want with people I like. What if, what if. Not that I’m regretting anything at all. It’s just that it amuses me to think how much stress I would have spared myself had I not gone the path I have tread. But then I wouldn’t be me.

Anyway, on student council-related stress… wow, spare me from all these student council politicking! What a waste of time, indeed. I have my own constituents who expect me to respond to pressing issues. I’m disappointed some of my councilmates talk as if they’re the only ones whose constituents are aggrieved or will be aggrieved. We were popularly elected with the platform of expedient and responsible responses to issues of national concern. Failure to do such is a disservice in itself. I cannot allow the exaggerated ranting of some councilmates to stop us from exercising our mandate. It’s not as if they weren’t heard out or their points considered. It’s so sad that some of us have assumed bad faith against each other. Imagine being called evil and fascist. Hay, try staring at the fascism of Arroyo’s police force in the face! We substantially followed our collectively prescribed procedure. As public information officer, or the “final arbiter” in statements, palagi na lang akong dehado sa gitna ng party friction ‘pag may statement, kahit sinupaman ang proponent niyan, red, blue, yellow, white, whatever. Whether I release the statement or not, one party would be staring negatively at me. Ang sakit sa ulo.

In the meantime, I would like to prepare for my first midterms in UP Law. On an irrelevant note, I got new lens for my DSLR! I’ll try to start taking photographs again.

Gusto ko na matapos

March 12, 2008. The last pile of academic work has come upon me. I’m back to drinking energy drinks and 24-hour fastfood delivery to keep me up all night. I’m this close to graduating! To be honest about it, I’m not very interested in my present subjects anymore. Even my thesis! I just want to get things over with. It also feels quite weird that I don’t have to enlist in any subjects anymore. I’ll miss being an undergraduate. I’m just trying to kill time right now by blogging while waiting for a sequence I’m trying to weave and edit to render in Final Cut. In other news, we enrolled Tisay in a neighborhood day care center a few days ago. It was quite a joy bringing her to the center morning, all eager and ready with her tiny lunch box. Ok, back to work. [Photo above taken this morning with Photo Booth while waiting for a professor to arrive].

Fourteen hours of sleep

December 22, 2007. The fourteen hours of sleep I just had is an indicator of how many sleepless nights I’ve had the past weeks. I can finally say, nakabawi rin ako sa tulog.

Thank God it’s almost over. I barely realized, pasko na pala. This is the first time I felt that being invited to too many Christmas gatherings can be a little stressful. It feels quite sinful, how I’ve been overeating and drinking night after night after night, knowing well how millions of other people in this country have barely anything to eat. If Christmas is a time for joy and merry-making, it is indeed and ironically also a time that awfully reminds us of how tragically disproportionate the concentration of wealth and opportunities are in our society.